A Summer Psalm – The Winning Piece

Many thanks to the musicians who took the time to write, score and submit entries for A Summer Psalm.

There were some wonderful pieces, but in the end only one winner – Turning by Deanna Witkowski. You can hear the piece for four parts with piano accompaniment on Soundcloud here, or view the score which is for sale on her website here.

Deanna is a professional freelance musician, with extensive church liturgy experience. Although successful in competitions in the USA, this is her first win outside her home country.

Needless to say I now have to turn the small prize monies into actual US Dollars, and ship them to New York.

A couple of other entries deserve particular thanks and mention – Tony Orbell’s Hear My Cry, a setting of Psalm 142 and Darryll Prew’s Psalm 51 were both excellent and shortlisted for final consideration. Well done chaps, and best of luck in future competitions.

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Ascension Day Choir

This year my church was hoping to join others in our deanery for the annual Ascension Day service, but that clearly isn’t going to happen.

Screenshot of Garageband with multiple tracks.

I’ve been recording and publishing a couple of hymns every week with St James’ Church, and done a few projects with my “home” parish of Aldridge; and I’m hoping we can assemble a nice big virtual choir for a specific hymn.

We’re recording Crown Him with Many Crowns.

Everybody is invited and welcome. I’ve laid out some general directions below and you can sing your part in to join with us. It will be published here on Ascension Day and also form part of the Ascension Day celebration from St James which will appear on their Facebook page the same day.

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Virtual Community Choir

In lockdown, as we are, what else was I going to do with my free time but throw myself into a community music project? Feast your ears on this fine effort: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdYFyrSgFtA

This is my first attempt at pulling together an open choir of people from across a community and I’ve learned a few key lessons doing it. Here, then, are my top five tips for virtual community choirs:

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Short & Brutal

Today I have decided to tidy up a few odds and ends with regard to projects I’ve had on the boil or at least simmering away for the last couple of years. So, first out of the gate is Short and Brutal, a three player player game where the first to occupy and hold the centre ground wins.

I like the game idea because I always feel two against one (a la Blockbuster) is difficult to balance but painful experience as the eldest of three sons teaches me that in a world of constantly shifting allegiances it’s often easier to set one of your opponents against the other and sit back with the popcorn.

The official Short & Brutal logo, which simply features the words "Short & Brutal" in a block font.

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vox ignis

Over the years I’ve written a number of songs and pieces of music for church use or with an overtly Christian theme.

Rather than bunch them all with the rest of my work, I’m pulling them together into this one place.

vox ignis is a couple of Latin words, for “voice” and “fire” (as in a beacon, a light on a hill) and I hope that imagery will be persistent. There’s a whole load of Biblical connotations to both words, but I’m not going to explore that here. Please feel free to browse through what I already have, and don’t hesitate to ask if you have an idea you’d commission me to write.

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