Friday, May 12, 2006
There are thousands upon thousands of church and community choir, orchestra, and ensemble opportunties for composers. And in the last couple decades or so, many art music composers have actually reengaged writing for the voice.
Of course we want the best performances (and performers) for our music, but some of the amateur groups around do amazing work. The Bloomington Chamber Singers, an amateur community chorus in Bloomington, Indiana (NOT associated with the music school, not directly anyway) commissioned, premiered, and recorded my oratorio for soprano, chorus, and orchestra in 2003. It was a remarkable achievement usually reserved for large market ensembles to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars and already known composers.
The community here really got behind the project, which then resulted in radio specials, interviews, national as well as local and state funding, business and individual donations and ultimately a packed house.
The local Unitarian Church has commissioned a number of pieces while I wait for my Pulitzer to come in. I love my professional ensemble -- but amateur ensembles make the world go around.
I believe a composer should be a voice for the community one lives in, and one of the best connections is through our local talent, some of which is world class even if the world doesn't know it. Is it an effort to go introduce yourself and your music? Sure. Does it pay well? Sometimes there are tens of dollars to be made. Is it worth the effort anyway? Oh yeah. Amateur ensembles of the world, I salute and thank you.