SSA and Piano
In the fall of 2001, I received an email from Darcy Hendriks, a 2000 Luther graduate and fellow Dorian Summer Music Camp counselor about a commission for her newly-formed women’s choir at Collins-Maxwell High School. However, there was a catch. The piece was to be premiered at their winter concert in December and, since it was now the middle of September, could I please have the piece finished before the end of the month! Holy cow, talk about working under pressure! But, of course, I accepted and immediately set out on a search for a text. After hunting for about a week, I found the appropriate poem in an old New Yorker book of poetry my grandmother had given to me over the summer (a big ‘thank you’ goes out to her for that one—thanks grandma!).
Now, it seems to me that, for children, there is no end to the amount of fun that is to be had on that day—that one day—after the first snowfall. This is the feeling I felt the poem expressed and therefore was what I worked to capture as I sat down to compose. I finished the piece in record time and whisked it off to Darcy and her girls. Around two weeks before the first performance, she emailed me and asked me if I would like to guest conduct the premiere. Of course I said ‘yes’ and the Collins-Maxwell High School Select Women’s Ensemble, Ms. Hendriks and I had a blast working together that afternoon and at the premiere later that night. My little brother Zach even drove up from Drake University in Des Moines to watch the show. The piece was well-received and later published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing. Snow by Morning was subsequently given a glorious performance in the CFL last April by Chris Moan, Scott Pauli, and the Luther College Cantorei—something which I will always be grateful for because Chris, a first-time conductor, took a big chance on a piece he had never heard before.
Snow by Morning received its premiere on December 11, 2001 and is dedicated in deepest friendship to the radiant Ms. Darcy Hendriks and the always mild-mannered Christopher Moan.