SATB 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.