Your children (are not your children)

TTBB and 4-Hands Piano

In the early stages of writing this piece I concluded that the simpler I kept the music, the closer it would be to the intention of Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran’s amazing text about the stewardship of raising a child. In the writing I attempted to represent this by taking a melodic idea and “growing” it one note at a time until it became the entire line of text; slow, repetitive development that eventually yields what is hopefully something beautiful. Not a bad metaphor for parenthood, I think.

Your children (are not your children) was co-commissioned by the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota and the Minnesota Music Educators Association for the 2010 Minnesota All-State Mixed Choir. It was originally scored for two four-hands pianos but I adapted it so the piece can be performed with only one piano. It is dedicated with love and gratitude to Dr. Angela Broeker.

Beth Beauchamp

Having worked as a professional musician, a music-educator, and the Executive Director of a number of non-profit arts organizations, Beth has over 10 years of experience in catering to the unique needs of artists. Beth believes that the talent, education, and skill-sets of her clients have inherent worth. As a passionate artist advocate, she aims to help her artists improve the quality of their own lives by encouraging them to honor the value of their own work, and by creating materials which allow them to champion their art with confidence. Equally interested in building community, Beth aims to create a roster of artists who are excited to support and collaborate together. 

Your children (are not your children)

SATB and 4-Hands Piano

In the early stages of writing this piece I concluded that the simpler I kept the music, the closer it would be to the intention of Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran’s amazing text about the stewardship of raising a child. In the writing I attempted to represent this by taking a melodic idea and “growing” it one note at a time until it became the entire line of text; slow, repetitive development that eventually yields what is hopefully something beautiful. Not a bad metaphor for parenthood, I think.

Your children (are not your children) was co-commissioned by the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota and the Minnesota Music Educators Association for the 2010 Minnesota All-State Mixed Choir. It was originally scored for two four-hands pianos but I adapted it so the piece can be performed with only one piano. It is dedicated with love and gratitude to Dr. Angela Broeker.

Beth Beauchamp

Having worked as a professional musician, a music-educator, and the Executive Director of a number of non-profit arts organizations, Beth has over 10 years of experience in catering to the unique needs of artists. Beth believes that the talent, education, and skill-sets of her clients have inherent worth. As a passionate artist advocate, she aims to help her artists improve the quality of their own lives by encouraging them to honor the value of their own work, and by creating materials which allow them to champion their art with confidence. Equally interested in building community, Beth aims to create a roster of artists who are excited to support and collaborate together. 

peace

In the summer of 2014, I received an email from the director of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus asking me if I would be interested in writing something for their upcoming tour of Israel and Turkey (the first gay chorus to do so!). Specifically, he was interested in a work about the concept of “peace.” This was a huge ask because that region of the world has been fraught with ethnic and religious conflict for centuries, and I thought it might be seen as rude to travel to these communities and ask why everyone couldn’t simply just get along. The concept I eventually landed on was that peace wasn’t just the absence of war but also the moments in our lives when we feel at peace. No matter where a given person is from or what ideology they espouse we could all relate to that.

The only problem was finding a text that was about something that specific. In order to solve this problem, I went to the chorus members themselves and had them anonymously complete the phrase “I was at peace when…” as many times as they wanted. They responded with an honesty that was at times brutal but gracious at the same time, and the work we took to the Middle East is made up entirely of their beautiful life stories.

peace was commissioned by the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus for their historic 2015 tour of Israel and Turkey. It is dedicated to their fearless conductor, Reuben M. Reynolds III, and the men of the chorus themselves with gratitude for the incredible work they do in their community and the broader world. It is the first movement in what eventually became a four-movement cycle about their experiences on the tour (which included the passage of nation-wide marriage equality while they were touring the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul), titled capable of anything.

Beth Beauchamp

Having worked as a professional musician, a music-educator, and the Executive Director of a number of non-profit arts organizations, Beth has over 10 years of experience in catering to the unique needs of artists. Beth believes that the talent, education, and skill-sets of her clients have inherent worth. As a passionate artist advocate, she aims to help her artists improve the quality of their own lives by encouraging them to honor the value of their own work, and by creating materials which allow them to champion their art with confidence. Equally interested in building community, Beth aims to create a roster of artists who are excited to support and collaborate together. 

Meditation (Whatever Happens)

SATB and Piano

One of the things I like most about a musical drone is that I always feel as if it invites me to really listen to the smaller pieces of architecture of a musical work; the microscopic details seem suddenly gargantuan in comparison to this one, constant thing that’s happening (in this case it’s the F-sharp pulsing in the piano) and we’re called on to contemplate these little things while we listen. This has always reminded me of some form of meditation, and when I combined some poems by Wendell Berry, that’s exactly what I was reminded of. I love the simple message in the poetry. It’s all love and beauty and gratitude; big things that might need to be somehow set in relief every now and then in order for us to figure out just exactly what they mean to each of us.


Beth Beauchamp

Having worked as a professional musician, a music-educator, and the Executive Director of a number of non-profit arts organizations, Beth has over 10 years of experience in catering to the unique needs of artists. Beth believes that the talent, education, and skill-sets of her clients have inherent worth. As a passionate artist advocate, she aims to help her artists improve the quality of their own lives by encouraging them to honor the value of their own work, and by creating materials which allow them to champion their art with confidence. Equally interested in building community, Beth aims to create a roster of artists who are excited to support and collaborate together. 

The Maker

SATB, Tenor Soloist, and Piano

An arrangement of Daniel Lanois's song, "The Maker," scored for tenor soloist, SATB choir, and piano. At approximately 4'55" long, the song is a beautiful testament to a person's desire for hope.

Beth Beauchamp

Having worked as a professional musician, a music-educator, and the Executive Director of a number of non-profit arts organizations, Beth has over 10 years of experience in catering to the unique needs of artists. Beth believes that the talent, education, and skill-sets of her clients have inherent worth. As a passionate artist advocate, she aims to help her artists improve the quality of their own lives by encouraging them to honor the value of their own work, and by creating materials which allow them to champion their art with confidence. Equally interested in building community, Beth aims to create a roster of artists who are excited to support and collaborate together. 

Sie nicht mehr gehen würde, sondern fliegen

SSA and Piano

As with any poem by Rilke, this one is a bit of a mystery. He describes observing a woman drinking tea with a group of (presumably) her friends and we are told very little about her. Rather than focus on what’s different about this woman (something which is only revealed to the reader via the title of the poem) I chose to center my attention on the beautiful sense of freedom in the final line of text.

"Sie nicht mehr gehen würde, sondern fliegen" was commissioned by the Association for Music in International Schools and received its premiere in Vienna in April of 2012

Beth Beauchamp

Having worked as a professional musician, a music-educator, and the Executive Director of a number of non-profit arts organizations, Beth has over 10 years of experience in catering to the unique needs of artists. Beth believes that the talent, education, and skill-sets of her clients have inherent worth. As a passionate artist advocate, she aims to help her artists improve the quality of their own lives by encouraging them to honor the value of their own work, and by creating materials which allow them to champion their art with confidence. Equally interested in building community, Beth aims to create a roster of artists who are excited to support and collaborate together. 

The Arrow & The Song

SSA and Piano

When I agreed to take on a commission for Waukee Middle School Sixth Grade Choir (Shelly Schaeufele, conductor), I was apprehensive at first. How could I adapt my own compositional voice to write something accessible enough for middle school students to sing? I thought about it for a long time and eventually decided that I would have to prove myself as a composer and call upon all my knowledge about writing “good” and “interesting” music in order to create something that I would be satisfied with. So, I found a big, flashy poem and decided to write something to match it. Unfortunately for me, a bad case of writer’s block set in and I was left stranded with an approaching deadline.

It was a few weeks later that I heard Longfellow’s The Arrow and The Song (in a choral rehearsal, oddly enough).  Right away, I was struck by one thing—its simplicity.  I immediately got my hands on a copy of the text and wrote the entire piece in three days.   Overall, the text portrays something about music and the strength of friendship—a simple, beautiful message for a simple song whose composer learned an important lesson about not thinking too hard, trusting yourself and just keeping it simple.

The Arrow and The Song received its premiere on November 18, 2002 and is dedicated with love and gratitude to Erik Hoefer.

Beth Beauchamp

Having worked as a professional musician, a music-educator, and the Executive Director of a number of non-profit arts organizations, Beth has over 10 years of experience in catering to the unique needs of artists. Beth believes that the talent, education, and skill-sets of her clients have inherent worth. As a passionate artist advocate, she aims to help her artists improve the quality of their own lives by encouraging them to honor the value of their own work, and by creating materials which allow them to champion their art with confidence. Equally interested in building community, Beth aims to create a roster of artists who are excited to support and collaborate together. 

The Two Sisters

The story of the two sisters described in this murder ballad is a strange one. There are many different versions in which they come from various places (Edinburgh, County Clare, or Kentucky, for instance) and meet a variety of people (a miller, a fisherman, etc.). However, there are a few details that are almost always the same.

It’s traditionally about a jealous sister murdering her sibling in order to gain the favor of a man.  The corpse is later fished out of the river by someone who then fashions a musical instrument of some sort out of her various body parts.  This instrument then goes on to torment the murderous sister in her guilt by only playing one tune (represented by the refrain over and over).

The nice thing about this peculiar story is that the tune is gorgeous and strangely peaceful.  I chose to use a lot of text-painting in the piano part to keep the various refrains from sounding too repetitive and, hopefully, there is plenty to listen for.

Beth Beauchamp

Having worked as a professional musician, a music-educator, and the Executive Director of a number of non-profit arts organizations, Beth has over 10 years of experience in catering to the unique needs of artists. Beth believes that the talent, education, and skill-sets of her clients have inherent worth. As a passionate artist advocate, she aims to help her artists improve the quality of their own lives by encouraging them to honor the value of their own work, and by creating materials which allow them to champion their art with confidence. Equally interested in building community, Beth aims to create a roster of artists who are excited to support and collaborate together. 

Two Boys Kissing

TTBB and Chamber ensemble

A 70-minute oratorio which adapts David Levithan’s award-winning novel, Two Boys Kissing. The story follows Harry and Craig as they try to break the world record for the longest kiss, Avery and Ryan as they fall in love, and Cooper as he is violently outed by his parents. All three stories are watched over by a Greek chorus made up of the spirits of gay men who died during the AIDS crisis.

Two Boys Kissing at iTunes

Two Boys Kissing at Spotify

Beth Beauchamp

Having worked as a professional musician, a music-educator, and the Executive Director of a number of non-profit arts organizations, Beth has over 10 years of experience in catering to the unique needs of artists. Beth believes that the talent, education, and skill-sets of her clients have inherent worth. As a passionate artist advocate, she aims to help her artists improve the quality of their own lives by encouraging them to honor the value of their own work, and by creating materials which allow them to champion their art with confidence. Equally interested in building community, Beth aims to create a roster of artists who are excited to support and collaborate together. 

The House of the Rising Sun

The first time I heard of a gay bar in New Orleans called the UpStairs Lounge was June 12, 2016, the day after a man committed a horrific mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida which killed 49 people and wounded 53 others. The macabre reason the UpStairs Lounge had been mentioned in the same article was that the fire there in 1973—an arson attack which killed 32 patrons—had been the largest mass murder of LGBTQs in the United States up until that point. In other words, the memory of the folks killed in 1973—largely forgotten outside of New Orleans—had been dredged up simply because more people had just been killed in a single event 43 years later almost to the day.

When I did some research into what had happened at the UpStairs Lounge I found a heartbreaking story, and June 24, 2018 will mark the 45th anniversary of this horrible tragedy. In wanting to write something to memorialize the victims, I decided to recast the folksong, “The House of the Rising Sun.” It seemed like the perfect fit; the modern incarnation of the song takes place explicitly in New Orleans, and the House itself has always been portrayed in the lyrics of the various versions as a place where people shunned by society for some reason or another gather to be together.

In my version, the House of the Rising Sun is a simulacrum for the UpStairs Lounge on the night of the arson attack, and the song features specific allusions to the events of that night as well as the fact that, near the corner of the building in the French Quarter where the tragedy occurred, there is a memorial plaque embedded in the sidewalk. Their memory lingers on...

Beth Beauchamp

Having worked as a professional musician, a music-educator, and the Executive Director of a number of non-profit arts organizations, Beth has over 10 years of experience in catering to the unique needs of artists. Beth believes that the talent, education, and skill-sets of her clients have inherent worth. As a passionate artist advocate, she aims to help her artists improve the quality of their own lives by encouraging them to honor the value of their own work, and by creating materials which allow them to champion their art with confidence. Equally interested in building community, Beth aims to create a roster of artists who are excited to support and collaborate together. 

O, Mister Moon

TB and Piano

Beth Beauchamp

Having worked as a professional musician, a music-educator, and the Executive Director of a number of non-profit arts organizations, Beth has over 10 years of experience in catering to the unique needs of artists. Beth believes that the talent, education, and skill-sets of her clients have inherent worth. As a passionate artist advocate, she aims to help her artists improve the quality of their own lives by encouraging them to honor the value of their own work, and by creating materials which allow them to champion their art with confidence. Equally interested in building community, Beth aims to create a roster of artists who are excited to support and collaborate together. 

The Boy Who Picked Up His Feet to Fly

TTBB and Piano

What child—or adult for that matter—has never dreamed of flying? When Ms. Kragness asked me to write a piece for her fantastic choir I could think of nothing else I wanted to write about. Although the poem is somewhat dark in nature (because of the “be careful what you wish for…” mood which concludes it), the performance should be approached with one idea in mind—fun!

The Boy Who Picked Up His Feet to Fly received its premiere on March 21, 2002 and is dedicated with love to my little brother Zach.

Beth Beauchamp

Having worked as a professional musician, a music-educator, and the Executive Director of a number of non-profit arts organizations, Beth has over 10 years of experience in catering to the unique needs of artists. Beth believes that the talent, education, and skill-sets of her clients have inherent worth. As a passionate artist advocate, she aims to help her artists improve the quality of their own lives by encouraging them to honor the value of their own work, and by creating materials which allow them to champion their art with confidence. Equally interested in building community, Beth aims to create a roster of artists who are excited to support and collaborate together. 

Bar’bry Allen

TB and Piano

The earliest known mention of this song is an Englishman Samuel Pepys’s 1666 diary. The origin of the folk song is questionable, some attributing it to England, others to Scotland or Ireland. It traveled the Atlantic Ocean and arrived in the Appalachian mountains of America where legendary folk singers added new versions to the ever-growing collection; in 1960 the number of known version was documented at over 100. At least a dozen contemporary singers have since recorded their own special take on this piece, with both text and melody often altered to suit the style of the singer.

The folk tale of Bar’bry Allen is always pretty much the same, although her name gets various spellings, and her lover receives varied names, the most common being Sweet William.  Along the way, the tune has been subject to much more variation than the story, suggesting it was easier to recall the story than the melody, or that folk singers simply liked to give the melody their own personal twist, or that the story got written down but not the tune. 

Beth Beauchamp

Having worked as a professional musician, a music-educator, and the Executive Director of a number of non-profit arts organizations, Beth has over 10 years of experience in catering to the unique needs of artists. Beth believes that the talent, education, and skill-sets of her clients have inherent worth. As a passionate artist advocate, she aims to help her artists improve the quality of their own lives by encouraging them to honor the value of their own work, and by creating materials which allow them to champion their art with confidence. Equally interested in building community, Beth aims to create a roster of artists who are excited to support and collaborate together. 

We are the Song

SATB and Piano

A lyrical piece about the connectivity between all things in nature and the strength to be brave in the face of adversity. “Though we may not have been called heroes, that does not mean we are not brave.”

Beth Beauchamp

Having worked as a professional musician, a music-educator, and the Executive Director of a number of non-profit arts organizations, Beth has over 10 years of experience in catering to the unique needs of artists. Beth believes that the talent, education, and skill-sets of her clients have inherent worth. As a passionate artist advocate, she aims to help her artists improve the quality of their own lives by encouraging them to honor the value of their own work, and by creating materials which allow them to champion their art with confidence. Equally interested in building community, Beth aims to create a roster of artists who are excited to support and collaborate together. 

The Footsteps of the Gardener

SAB and Piano

The first job I took after finishing my undergraduate degree in Vocal Music Education was as a high school choir teacher but, to date, the only grade I’ve never taught ranging from kindergarteners to graduate students is seventh (though I’ve conducted some very talented seventh graders in honor choirs over the years!). This is to say that, as a composer who is sometimes commissioned to write something that will be presented by an ensemble sponsored by an educational institution, I tend to fall back on how my music might be used to teach concepts both musical and non-musical.

“The Footsteps of the Gardener” was the first time I decided to actively knit this notion into the piece in an unsubtle way so, in a nod to educational concepts like the Theory of Multiple Intelligences or Neil Fleming’s work on learning styles as well as the music of American composer, Michael Torke, I decided to have the musical material “work out” the short Chinese proverb in a few different ways I found interesting and exciting to perform. I could list all the methods I used, but I think it might fit more with the spirit of the work’s composition to see if the singers can figure them out themselves


Beth Beauchamp

Having worked as a professional musician, a music-educator, and the Executive Director of a number of non-profit arts organizations, Beth has over 10 years of experience in catering to the unique needs of artists. Beth believes that the talent, education, and skill-sets of her clients have inherent worth. As a passionate artist advocate, she aims to help her artists improve the quality of their own lives by encouraging them to honor the value of their own work, and by creating materials which allow them to champion their art with confidence. Equally interested in building community, Beth aims to create a roster of artists who are excited to support and collaborate together. 

This is Why We Sing

In late 2014 I was commissioned to write something for the 20th anniversary of The Summer Singers, a fine choir in Minnesota made up of people who missed having an outlet for their talents during the choral “off season.” I was moved by their desire to always be singing and wondered if we might try to find a text that somehow spoke to that element of their history. I asked poet Robert Ressler to see if he could come up with an original text and, after a few months of talking about it, he sent the gorgeous poem he had come up with. It’s universal, humbling, grand, and intimate at the same time, and it was a joy to compose to.

The final “chord” is my tribute to The Summer Singers and their 20-year history. Even when the temperature in Minnesota rises and most choral ensembles take a break, there is still a group of friends and colleagues who—like any choir in the world—gather to make beautiful music together.

Beth Beauchamp

Having worked as a professional musician, a music-educator, and the Executive Director of a number of non-profit arts organizations, Beth has over 10 years of experience in catering to the unique needs of artists. Beth believes that the talent, education, and skill-sets of her clients have inherent worth. As a passionate artist advocate, she aims to help her artists improve the quality of their own lives by encouraging them to honor the value of their own work, and by creating materials which allow them to champion their art with confidence. Equally interested in building community, Beth aims to create a roster of artists who are excited to support and collaborate together. 

Rules to live by

A few years ago I heard a choral piece in which the composer worked with a librettist to “update” various passages from the Bible and one phrase really stuck out: “If someone hits you in the face, offer them the rest of your face.” This was obviously a reference to the concept of turning the other cheek—a phrase I've heard so many times that the concept it's trying to get across essentially just goes in one ear and out the other—but it was couched in a visceral new language. Ever since I first heard that piece I've wanted to try something like that on a grander scale, and a commission from The Choral Project turned out to be the right venue to explore that idea.

When conductor Daniel Hughes and I began to talk about what shape we'd like this collaboration to take we decided we wanted something as universal as possible.  I've always been fascinated by lists of rules that the various religions and governments of the world have in order for a functional society to form so I suggested we find as many of these lists as we could and then “translate” them into modern verbiage.  I gathered excerpts from, among other sources, The Bible, the principles of the Bahá'í faith, a declaration of socialist principles from a 1989 meeting in Stockholm, a mission statement from a non-profit organization, and even a pop song from the 90s.  These formed the basis for what would become the text for the new piece, but it was important to me that this work—commissioned for the 20th anniversary of the choir—incorporate the community of that ensemble as well.  To honor that history, I asked the members of the choir to finish the phrase “I believe...” as many times as they wanted.  Some of the responses I got were cheeky (“I believe there's no singing allowed in the bedroom”) and others were heartfelt (“I believe in my children”) but they all formed a beautiful picture of the musical community which has been hard at work for 20 years.

The final text is a credo of sorts; rules humanity attempted to follow more than a thousand years ago as well as things some singers from California remind themselves of in their daily lives in the year 2016.  It's my hope that this piece, rules to live by, will serve as a keepsake for the choir on their 20th anniversary as well as a gentle reminder for those of us in the audience about how we should be treating ourselves and others.

Beth Beauchamp

Having worked as a professional musician, a music-educator, and the Executive Director of a number of non-profit arts organizations, Beth has over 10 years of experience in catering to the unique needs of artists. Beth believes that the talent, education, and skill-sets of her clients have inherent worth. As a passionate artist advocate, she aims to help her artists improve the quality of their own lives by encouraging them to honor the value of their own work, and by creating materials which allow them to champion their art with confidence. Equally interested in building community, Beth aims to create a roster of artists who are excited to support and collaborate together. 

Chansons de la Vigne

Rimbaud’s desire to live the Bohemian life is portrayed in the first song as a joyous celebration of a soul discovering what it wants in life. I tried to keep the harmonic language light and the pacing quick in order to introduce the set as a whole. The music is garish and over-the-top as the poet (who wrote nearly all of his life’s work between the ages of 16 and 19) seems to disappear into the night with his newly discovered purpose. Baquet de vin is informed by the harmonic language of Francis Poulenc as the angular leaps and harmonic jolts represent the staggering, back-and-forth walk of a person who may have had a bit too much to drink. That being said, it’s a happy drunken state and the setting ends on a warm and positive sonority. Given the first line of poetry it seemed absurd to set the third poem without a soloist. Since self-pity is something that builds on and sustains itself to its own negative conclusions, I wrote a choral ostinato that turns over and over again while the soloist slowly sings the bulk of the text. In order to give the choir some variety, I decided to use a piano for the final two movements. The first two and a half pages of La table et les deux verres bridge the gap between the chord-oriented, a cappella writing from the previous movements and the melodically driven remainder of the set. The text itself speaks to the first meeting of two people who eventually become lifelong friends and the eventual marriage of one of them. For the second half of the poem I wanted to write a running piano part to represent the inevitability of someone marrying their true love.

Beth Beauchamp

Having worked as a professional musician, a music-educator, and the Executive Director of a number of non-profit arts organizations, Beth has over 10 years of experience in catering to the unique needs of artists. Beth believes that the talent, education, and skill-sets of her clients have inherent worth. As a passionate artist advocate, she aims to help her artists improve the quality of their own lives by encouraging them to honor the value of their own work, and by creating materials which allow them to champion their art with confidence. Equally interested in building community, Beth aims to create a roster of artists who are excited to support and collaborate together. 

Two Murder Ballads

Beth Beauchamp

Having worked as a professional musician, a music-educator, and the Executive Director of a number of non-profit arts organizations, Beth has over 10 years of experience in catering to the unique needs of artists. Beth believes that the talent, education, and skill-sets of her clients have inherent worth. As a passionate artist advocate, she aims to help her artists improve the quality of their own lives by encouraging them to honor the value of their own work, and by creating materials which allow them to champion their art with confidence. Equally interested in building community, Beth aims to create a roster of artists who are excited to support and collaborate together. 

To Sing You To Sleep

Beth Beauchamp

Having worked as a professional musician, a music-educator, and the Executive Director of a number of non-profit arts organizations, Beth has over 10 years of experience in catering to the unique needs of artists. Beth believes that the talent, education, and skill-sets of her clients have inherent worth. As a passionate artist advocate, she aims to help her artists improve the quality of their own lives by encouraging them to honor the value of their own work, and by creating materials which allow them to champion their art with confidence. Equally interested in building community, Beth aims to create a roster of artists who are excited to support and collaborate together.