I had the incredible honor of arranging two pieces for the world-renowned choral ensemble Chanticleer, a group that's inspired me since I was a teenager. This was for their recent album release Someone New.

I shared arranging duties with some fabulously talented individuals, among them Mason Bates ('Washing of the Water'), Michael McGlynn ('Ring of Fire') and Vince Peterson ('Somebody to Love'/'Temtation'). There are some stunning selections and awesome performances on this album, and I was so glad to be a part of it.

Here's the info on my pieces:

1) 'Wait Fantasy': This arrangement of the M83 song (from the seminal album Hurry Up, We're Dreaming) ended up being of epic proportion; though I had no idea how powerful it would be in the hands of an ensemble this virtuosic. In seeking a companion to the M83, which is very succinct of form and material, I came across the Emily Dickinson poem 'Waiting'. The first line of the poem is 'I sing to use the waiting'; I'd found some fortune indeed. Combining the two resulted in a long-form structure that was fit to accommodate the fantasy-like musical sketches I'd been making.

Hearing the ensemble sing this piece live in Brooklyn recently was among the most exhilarating musical experiences of my life. My heart has not beat that hard and fast in quite a while. Chanticleer has attacked this rather challenging piece with ferocity and unwavering artistic integrity; that they now include it in their touring program (alongside Samuel Barber , no less) is a humbling honor I truly had never even dreamed of.

 

2) 'The Hamburg Song': For some added flavor I snuck Hamburg Hymne , the city's traditional anthem, into this Keane song. The Hymne opens and closes the arrangement as well as provides thematic material for the development section. The biggest treat is that my great friend and former Other Guys colleague Ben Jones sings the solo- quite wonderfully.

Former OG's in the house, please stand up: James Earl Jones II (in NYC rehearsing for the 'Porgy and Bess' national tour), Chris Lacour, Ben Jones, me

Former OG's in the house, please stand up: James Earl Jones II (in NYC rehearsing for the 'Porgy and Bess' national tour), Chris Lacour, Ben Jones, me

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