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About the Music

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TAMANOWAS Tamanowas Rock is a Native American holy place near Anderson Lake in Chimacum, Washington.  Efforts by a group, All My Relations, and its leader, Raven, resulted in the site’s acquisition to keep it in its natural state for all future generations.  The text is a poem by the composer who has been touched by Native American spirituality.  Musical elements of a composition by Raven and Jan Richards, Tamanowas Rock, are included in this choral work commissioned by Raven.  The music seeks to portray Native American characteristics within the framework of formal western music, and is intended to be spiritual in nature.  The beginning and ending flute passages are played freely without strict rhythm on a wooden flute; the music is scored for transverse flute, soprano saxophone, French horn and chorus (SATB).  This work was premiered by the Peninsula Chamber Singers on March 27, 2004, conducted by Dewey Ehling, in Port Angeles, Washington.


AFTER THE HURRICANE was composed at the request of Nan Toby Tyrrell, a Port Townsend poet who had written A Song to the Winds, in response to the terrible devastation suffered by the people of New Orleans and the southeastern United States.  She had requested a melody to accompany her words; this choral piece is the result.  The work was premiered by the Peninsula Singers, Dewey Ehling conductor, on April 20, 2006 in Sequim, Washington, and was performed again three days later in Port Angeles.  The music represents both the plight of two children devastated by the hurricane, a plea for help and their prayer for survival after the storm.


AT THE WATER’S EDGE refers to Port Townsend Bay at the City Dock in Port Townsend, Washington, where Wendy Johanson and her husband Joel attended a Memorial Day wreath-laying ceremony by the American Legion Post and a concert by the Port Townsend Summer Band in 2005.  That day two eagles landed on some pilings near the dock during the ceremony.  Shortly thereafter Wendy wrote a ballad in memory of  her two grandfathers who died in battle.  Lt. Thomas Holdsworth, 27th Battalion, Manitoba Regiment, Canadian Infantry died in France on the Somme at Vimy Ridge September 15, 1916.  Cdr. George Rentz, Chaplain, U.S. Navy, died when he gave his life jacket to a young seaman when their ship, USS Houston, was sunk in the Java Strait, March 1, 1942.  The ballad recounts the love in their family and the deaths of both men in service to their country.  This song was sung by the church choir Memorial Day Sunday, 2006.


THE QUIMPER COVENANT is the covenant of the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Port Townsend, Washington, set to music as an anthem and as a hymn.  It was written for the church fellowship in 2004.


BLESSINGS EACH DAY is the name of a poem by a fellow church member, Val Hampson, whose poetry the composer heard at a poetry reading.  He was very much taken with her words, and put them to music.  This anthem was performed in a church service in 2004.  It is scored for choir SATB and piano.

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