London College of Music

Recently, I was honoured to be an examiner for the London College of Music in India and Indonesia.  Centre representatives organized everything extremely well for me and candidates as well.  Everything went quite smoothly.  I heard over 450 candidates, from pre-preparatory students to ALCM performers.  Overall the standards were quite high, attesting to the quality of instruction for those candidates as well as their hard work and practice.

I was also able to give some workshops, two on vocal technique/physiology and one on how to practice.  All three seemed to be well received and I hope the information was helpful.

I am pleased to be part of the London College of Music Examinations and look forward to more opportunities.

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Singapore 2014

Singapore has become almost a second home now, after my sixth visit. This time, I was pleased administer music examinations for the London College of Music and heard over 450 musicians, from young pre-preparatory students to professional musicians.

I enjoy the public nature of Singapore: public art, public transit, public gardens, public parks, public walkways, public food courts… I actually appreciate the orderly and structured society, the commitment to quality and improvement, and the inclusiveness of the people.

I hope I can be here again sometime soon. I have made some good friends and would like to nurture those friendships.

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Agnus Dei for handbells

My Agnus Dei for handbells is now available at

You can see the score, listen to an excellent performance of it, and even buy it if you want to.

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World Premiere!

Last year, Robertson-Wesley United Church commissioned me to write a work for the 100th anniversary of their church building.  After attempting to use appropriate hymn tunes, I gave up and tried to write an original composition. Based on the new creed (1968) of the United Church of Canada, “We Are Not Alone” is a work for SATB choir, organ, handbells, flute and trumpet.  I was assisted greatly by Tammy-Jo Mortensen, music director at R-W and am thankful for her critical ear and eye.

“We Are Not Alone” will be premiered at 10:30 a.m. THIS SUNDAY, January 26, 2014 at Robertson-Wesley United Church (, 10209 – 123 Street, Edmonton. All are welcome.

(For more information about the work or future performances or commissions, please contact me.)

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Again this April, I’ve had the honour to adjudicate the Singapore Youth Festival, hearing handbell, harp and guitar ensembles. The standards of musical performance in Singapore are very high and the Youth Festival Arts Presentations showcase those talents. I very much enjoyed my colleagues on the adjudication panel, from Singapore, USA, Wales, and Australia. the sharing of ideas, perspectives and musical insights was a particular treat. The staff from the Ministry of Education, who sponsors the SYF, are always very respectful, helpful, and hospitable. I am honoured to have been asked here so many times.

Of course, I really enjoy the city of Singapore. The cultural mix is phenomenal and the resultant cuisine is delicious (and cheap!) It’s been nice to be able to walk around in the evenings and just absorb the buzz of the city, while foraging for food. If I could only get used to the temperature being 5C above comfortable, it’d be perfect! But, I shouldn’t complain; there’s no snow! Singapore has fabulous architecture, from the traditional shophouses to the skyscrapers. It is truly a world class city and I’m almost feeling quite comfortable “living” here.

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Sine Nomine CONCERT

The spring concert of Sine Nomine Chamber Choir will be on Sunday, 7 April 2013 at 2:30 p.m. at the Edmonton Moravian Church (9540 – 83 Ave).  “Easter Lessons and Carols” will feature significant works by Charles V. Stanford, J. S. Bach, and Ralph Manuel as well as several Easter anthems and hymns.   Tickets are available from choir members and at the door.  

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Edmonton Global Visions Film Festival

Last week, I watched seven films, documentaries. Call Me Kuchu, Status Quo?, Chasing Ice, Brother Number One, Carbon Capture, Division in Peace, and Wampler’s Ascent. Provocative documentaries, most taking a point of view. Call Me Kuchu revealed the ridiculous Anti-Homosexuality Law being proposed in Uganda. Imagine that people would have 24 hours to tell the government someone was gay if they found out! Status Quo brought up a number of women’s issues in Canada: violence against women and shelter for those who need it, abortion, and child care. All difficult issues in our society. Chasing Ice was an amazing photographic presentation of glaciers, time-lapse pictures of several receding glacier. Brother Number One outlined the victim’s testimony of a New Zealander whose brother was murdered by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in the 1970s. Carbon Capture presented several examples of how “carbon credits” earned from the developing world actually produce more carbon and harm indigenous peoples. Division in Peace told the story of farmers in the Peace Country of B.C. who are being harmed by the proliferation of natural gas wells in the area. Wampler’s Ascent was the story of Stephen Wampler, a man with several cerebral palsy who actually climbed El Capitan in Yosemite! He and his wife were there to answer questions afterwards.
The whole film festival opened my eyes to a lot of things, but basically human rights: of homosexual, female, disabled, indigenous and foreign peoples. It is truly amazing how those with power can abuse others. These films probably pushed me to the left of an already left-leaning political persuasion.
This was the 31st version of the festival and I had never heard of it before. But now that I have, I look forward to the next instalment in 2014.

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Ars Choralis finishes up

Ars Choralis finished up with a few rousing lectures, including mine on score study. OK, “rousing” is a bit strong for lectures on the 3rd afternoon of a 3-day conference. Honestly, I was pleased just to be able to do it, since I spent the nights combating a kidney stone – and went to hospital during the gala concert, I was in so much pain. Anyway, I was checked out by the doctor again on Sunday morning before I left town and everything is OK. I’m just bummed that I missed the concert!
Met some interesting people at the symposium and am grateful to Branko Stark, the president of the Croatia Choral Directors Association. During the conference I was give one of their awards – a pin I can wear proudly (although not on the airplane!)
Now I’m on my way to Hong Kong (through Munich).

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Zagreb, Croatia – ARS CHORALIS

One day (of three) finished of Ars Choralis 2012, the second international artistic and scientific symposium on choral art, singing and voice in Zagreb, Croatia. Sounds impressive, eh? Highlight was hearing vocal scientist Johan Sundberg speak and learning about ‘sound propagation’ from Harald Jers from Germany. There is lots of talking – some even in English – and not much singing. Tomorrow ends with a concert, so there will be music.
I am only one of two native English speakers and am embarrassed that I only know one language. So, at times its difficult to make conversation – and that’s hard enough for me in the English speaking world! Tomorrow there are some 12 lectures in English, but I don’t think I’ll make it to all of them. My presentation on score study is not until Saturday, so my nervousness just builds up over these days.

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Sine Nomine

Sine Nomine Chamber Choir presents its “Journey from Lent to Easter” concert on Saturday, 31 March at 7:30 at Braemar Baptist Church. Anthems, spirituals, and motets stand with a Cantata Chorus by Bach and a Sanctus setting by yours truly. The choir has been a tremendous musical ensemble this year, singing with confidence and poise. Join us if you can! Tickets are available at the door ($15/$12).

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