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. 

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. 

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. 

me(n)

TTBB and Piano

The title for this piece is a reference to the fact that the text is the result of two aspects of its creation. First, it's about how young men navigate the various pressures society throws their way. These are things like interactions with their peers, siblings, parents, and teachers, but also things like society's notions of race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, etc. How did these young men overcome the bad stuff, maneuver through the tricky stuff, and incorporate the good stuff?

In order to find a text that would express such a specific idea I decided to go straight to the source: the high school students in the choir itself. So I had them respond to a prompt and finish the sentence “I know that I am greater than...” as many times as they wanted in order to find out, and they couldn't have done a more beautiful job. So the text is actually made up of edited versions of their words. This is the reason for the parenthetical in the title.

"me(n)" was commissioned by the Flower Mound High School Men's Chamber Choir (Dr. Mark Rohwer, conductor) and received its premiere on March 8, 2017 at the national convention of the American Choral Directors Association in Minneapolis. It is dedicated with gratitude to the men of the ensemble and their conductor.

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. 

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. 

Peace

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.