Upcoming Performance – 25 March 2012

Victoria’s choral group, Vox Humana (a truly exceptional group conducted by Brian Wismath) will be performing my Jesu Dulcis Memoria at their Sacred Sounds concert on the 25th of March 2012 at St. Paul’s Historic Naval and Garrison Church (1379 Esquimalt Rd, Esquimalt, BC).

Details about for concert can be found on Vox Humana’s website.

Upcoming performance – Ave Maria

I haven’t updated this page in ages, but since I have a few upcoming performances, I figure it’s worth updating! My three-part Ave Maria will be sung at the 10:00 Mass at Saint John the Evangelist Anglican Catholic Church on Sunday October 23rd. They are located at 990 Falmouth Road, Victoria, BC. It is my home church and a great group of people.

Unfortunately, I will not be there as I am in Seattle for the month. I have a new baby (my first!) and my husband is at sea, so baby Edmund, the dogs, and I are staying with my parents and visiting family and friends.

Sibelius 6

Great news! I got the latest version of Sibelius for Christmas. I haven’t had a lot of time to look at it because it’s complete chaos here with family visiting for the holidays and all, but so far it looks beautiful and it works much better than my old version two. On top of that, my husband bought me a grand upright piano for Christmas (hopefully the next door neighbours won’t mind as the piano is against the common wall). Now I think I can say I’m really ready for the new year.

New wind ensemble arrangement

Well I suppose I have kept my promise and not updated very much now, have I?

Lately I’ve been working on arranging one of my choral pieces for one of the wind ensembles I play in. It has been an interesting project — especially since after writing a percussion part, Sibelius decided to crash on me before I managed to save it. On the bright side of things, I think the re-written part was an improvement on the original version. All I really have remaining is to format it, create the parts, and format those so they look pretty. And of course print it all.

Unfortunately for me, printing is the hardest part. Normally that’s not difficult, but the last year or so, a bug has come up in Sibelius that doesn’t allow me to print music! It might have something to do with the fact that I’m still using version 2 (and they’re now up to version 6). I print the pages and they all come out blank! The same thing happens if I save it as a PDF — it saves as that many blank pages. Definitely an odd bug. I’m probably going to upgrade in the next month or two so that I don’t have to keep saving things as a Scorch webpage and THEN printing. I’m not too keen on doing that for every single individual instrument part!

So aside from the few technical issues, all is going well. I’m dedicating this piece to my grandfather who passed away in early September — right around the time that I decided to write it and did the bulk of my work on it. It’s just too bad he won’t be around to hear it.


I figured it might be fun to have a blog on my page just in case anybody is bored and cares. Or is bored and doesn’t care. Either way. I will probably update very infrequently when musically interesting things happen in my life (or when the dog does funny things). Thanks for stopping by!

Old Seattle PI press clipping

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

1 April 2000 “All Northwest”

Opus 7’s Northwest roots blossom into pure harmony

Imagine an entire choral concert of music written recently in the Northwest, with only a couple written before 1980. Then imagine a large, interested audience to hear it. Unusual, you’ll agree.

It says much for chamber choir Opus 7 that it could draw such an audience for its concert Saturday night at St. Mark’s Cathedral; and more for its director, Loren Pontén, that he could bring off in such style a performance with four premieres and 16 composers, 10 of whom were present.

Pontén’s discriminating choices underlined the high quality of choral composition going on here. Virtually all the works performed, many of them for use in church or synagogue, sustained the interest musically, illuminated the text and moved the heart.

Jeff Kunins’ effective “Shema Yisrael” (1999), a highlight of the concert, used a soprano solo in a clarion call to prayer, bracketing the spoken word over quiet chorus. Lisa Cardwell Pontén achieved the high solo confidently. It was simple to listen to, extremely difficult to sing. Her voice was rich, clear, pure and accurate.

Other standouts among this fine collection included Joan Szymko’s peaceful “Ubi caritas” (1996), with gorgeous harmonies, a piece that wouldn’t work without pure voices and accurate intonation, both of which Opus 7 provided; two of “Three Medieval Lyrics” (1993) by Karen Thomas, one charming and gentle, the other a sensuous color washing (though pitch was temporarily off here); Alan Hovhaness’ traditional “A Rose Tree Blossoms” (1971); Michael Young’s positive, joyful and well-shaped “Give Glory All Creation” (1991); and, not least, Bern Herbolsheimer’s ravishing “David Mourns for Absalom,” which, however, substituted a peaceful mode for the anguish in the words.

Opus 7 has instigated a Student Composer Choral Competition for Washington. Its first two winners’ works received their premiere performances, and both held their own in this excellent collection.

Deborah Kelley (a senior at Mount Rainier High School in Des Moines) created in her “Jesu Dulcis Memoria” a work that uses deceptively simple rhythms and open harmonies with sophisticated use of the voices. The music mirrored the text’s straightforward, pure prayer.

Kristin Gordon, a graduating senior at Gonzaga University, composed a well-structured, jubilant setting of “Regina Coeli.”

I haven’t space to mention individually each of the remaining works, deserving though they be, by composers Gerald Kechley; Peter Hallock; Diane Thome (whose work, chosen from a trilogy, seemed truncated); John Muehleisen, who wrote a fine tribute to the late Roy Cummings; David Asplin; Robert Scandrett; William Bergsma; and David Dahl, whose contribution was four short organ works, performed by himself.

Philippa Kiraly, Special to the P-I

April 3, 2000

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