The Crane Is My Neighbour

Unison Voices and Piano

Boosey and Hawkes 2019

Purchase/see score

The bird is a noble, he turns to the sky for a theme,
And the ripples are thoughts coming out to the edge of a dream.
How patient he is as he puts out his wings for the blue!
His eyes are as old as the twilight, and calm as the dew.
The bird is my neighbour, he leaves not a claim for a sigh,
He moves as the guest of the sunlight-he roams in the sky.
The bird is a noble, he turns to the sky for a theme,
And the ripples are thoughts coming out to the edge of a dream.
John Shaw Neilson (1872-1942)

Neilson’s poem speaks to something that is immortal, a companion to guide us through life. The unison voices are independent from the accompaniment and provide an important opportunity for your singers to develop strong musicianship.

Three Part Voices and Piano

Text by a member of the Atlantic Girls Choir, adapted by Matthew Emery

4 min duration

email me to purchase copies

Commissioned by the Atlantic Girls Choir 


Where is our strength when the worlds gone wrong
How do we know our future is bright
Standing together we grow strong
Drown ignorance out of its light
and make a future for everyone
stand with your sisters, mothers and friends
brothers we need your help with this fight
Standing together
Hands together were
We Celebrate each other,
And make our world strong

Stand together
Unite our voices
Fight this injustice
With strong rejoices
Love each other for who they are
Love each person no matter their scars
Strength, and resilience smiling through
You are valued and we love you

we grow strong sample


2222 4221 1 + Timp Strings (min: 87654)

Percussion: Bass Drum only

6 min duration

Plangere Editions 2019

Purchase conductors score orchestra version

please email me for rental score and parts

“Unanswered Letters” is a lyrical piece which unfolds using variations in colour and textures. The music is inspired by the ideas of the ordinary: dishes left undone, emails unanswered – mail that goes unopened. I am inspired by things that may be seen as unremarkable by others by searching out beauty in everyday life.

It is a work that is inspired by the lists we make: things to do, things we want to do, hope to do, should do, don’t do. The work is a piece which strips away the unnecessary and whats left is only what is needed.

Premiered by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra January 2020.

Read by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, upcoming performances by the Windsor Community Orchestra and Etobicoke Philharmonic

SATB and piano

4.5-5 min duration

email for score

Text by Toronto Poet Michael Bennett

Commissioned by Singing Out choir (Toronto).

Video of the Premiere: HERE

The River Sings My Song
Michael Bennett

The river tells my story.
The river sings my song.
It sings of where I’m going.
It sings of where I’ve gone.
It sings of those who’ve sailed with me, of those I’ve yet to know
It sings of who I strive to be, and what I choose to show
The river sings my past, my present, a future yet to be
It changes time, not always in rhyme, and sometimes sings off key
Some verses I no longer sing, I’ve left them far behind
Some I sing for only me, to soothe a troubled mind
I am the river, I am the song
I am more than what you see
I sing out loud, I sing out strong
Sing my hopes, my thoughts, my dreams
My life is in the river,
my life is in the song.
I’ve travelled far from where I’ve been
To a place where I belong.
The water sometimes calm and pure, sometimes rough and wild
Its twists and turns have made me strong and filled my life with pride
But there are times that you may see the river seem to slow,
To change its course, to freeze, to dry, to dam, to cease to flow.
Don’t let the river’s stillness make you think I’ve lost my way
On my journey I may falter, but I’m stronger every day
And when my song is just a whisper,
And the doubts begin to grow,
My quiet strength will see me through…
Under a frozen river, water still flows
I am the river, I am the song
I am more than what you see

I sing out loud, I sing out strong
Sing my hopes, my thoughts, my dreams
My life is in the river,
my life is in the song.
I’ve travelled far from where I’ve been
To a place where I belong.
Like the river I will travel. I’ll sing, be heard, I’ll grow.
My quiet strength will see me through
I’ll be more than I can ever know…
Under a frozen river, water still flows

the river sings my song sample pages

SATB A Cappella

4 min

Paul Bourget

Self Published Score, email composer to purchase $2.25 per PDF copy

commissioned by Chorale De La Salle Ottawa, Canada. Conductor Robert Filion

Nuit d’été is an anthem for mixed chorus a cappella. The text by Paul Bourget (1852-1935) [in public domain] speaks to feelings we have on ‘sweet summer nights’. It follows a traditional AABACoda form. “Ô nuit, ô douce nuit d’été” acts as a reoccurring musical gesture, in the third stanza the SA voices take the melodic weight while the TB voices sustain on a drone. The music returns to the familiar “A” section in the fourth stanza, and there is an ending Coda section on the text “ô nuit aimante!”

Performance in ITALY : video

Nuit d’été
Paul Bourget
Ô nuit, ô douce nuit d’été, qui viens à nous
Parmi les foins coupés et sous la lune rose,
Tu dis aux amoureux de se mettre à genoux,
Et sur leurs fronts brûlants, un souffle frais se pose!

Ô nuit, ô douce nuit d’été, qui fais fleurir
Les fleurs dans les gazons et les fleurs sur les branches, Tu dis aux tendres cœurs des femmes de s’ouvrir,
Et sous les blonds tilleuls errent des formes blanches!

Ô nuit, ô douce nuit d’été, sur les mers
Alanguis le sanglot des houles convulsées,
Tu dis aux isolés de ne pas être amers,
Et la paix de ton ciel descend dans leurs pensées.

Ô nuit, ô douce nuit d’été, qui parles bas,
Tes pieds se font légers et ta voix endormante, Pour que les pauvres morts ne se réveillent pas, Eux qui ne peuvent plus aimer, ô nuit aimante!



Oh, night, oh, sweet summer night, that comes to us When the hay is cut; and, beneath the rosy moon, Tells the lovers to kneel,
Anointing their burning brows with its cooling breath.

Oh, night, oh, sweet summer night, persuading
The lawn and branches to blossom,
Telling the tender hearts of ladies to open
Beneath the fairness of limes, where pale shapes wander.

Oh, night, oh, sweet summer night, that upon the seas Calms the sobs of the furious swells,
You tell the lonely not to be bitter
And the peace of your sky will descend into their thoughts.

Oh, night, oh, sweet summer night, speak softly With lightened feet and soothing voice
So that the poor deceased, who can love no more, Will not be wakened, oh loving night!

nuit sample pages

SSA and Piano

Text by Marjorie Pickthall

4 min duration

email me to purchase copies of the score [$2.25 per copy]

Commissioned by the Oriana Choir of Toronto, Mitchell Pady.

audio excerpt:


“Snow Dreams” aims to capture the magic and peacefulness of snow; how it falls, how it silences the landscape, how it reflects light and how it encapsulates time and place. The work is almost bare, only a faint framework of pitches from the piano lay underneath long beautiful melodies from the singers as if a still frozen landscape unfolds. Defenseless trees stand waiting to bare the weight of tiny flakes; Pickthall equates each flake to white flowers ready to bloom, inspire and enwrap. The first two stanzas of the poem are musically set in a similar way using a “verse-chorus” form from popular music. The final stanza is set in a more delicate, floating style.


O, The white flowers,
How they float, how they follow
Down from the hillside and up from the hollow. When the wind calls them they answer in showers, So shining, so tender,
Rose-rounded and leaf-slender,
They ring me, they wreathe me wherever I go.
O, the white flowers,
The flowers of the snow.

O, the white stars,
They have dawned, they have drifted
Like dust the wind strawed and the Mary-moon sifted, Through the briar-berry bent to the cedar-wood bars.
So soft, so unbounded.
Flame-pointed, rose-rounded,
They have clung, they have swung where the branches are low. O, the white stars,
The stars of the snow.

O, the white dreams,
How they kiss, how they quiver,
The weft of the cloud and the woof of the river,
Where the elder-tree shadows the sleep of her streams.
They lead me, they linger,
Frost-foot and mist-finger,
Saying, Hands, would you hold us, and Heart, would you know All the white dreams,
The dreams of the snow?

snow dreams sample score pages

High Voice and Piano

  1. Sweet Love Away [James Joyce]
  2. Vertue [George Herbert]
  3. Vesper [Henry David Thoreau]

Published by Plangere Editions [purchase]

Purchase from Theadore Front medium voice or low voice

Please contact me for audio recordings, available upon request.

Vertue and Vesper audio:



In the dark pine-wood 
I would we lay, 
In deep cool shadow 
At noon of day. 

How sweet to lie there, 
Sweet to kiss, 
Where the great pine-forest 
Enaisled is! 

Thy kiss descending 
Sweeter were 
With a soft tumult 
Of thy hair. 

O unto the pine-wood 
At noon of day 
Come with me now, 
Sweet love, away.

There is a vale which none hath seen, 
Where foot of man has never been, 
Such as here lives with toil and strife, 
An anxious and a sinful life. 
There every virtue has its birth, 
Ere it descends upon the earth, 
And thither every deed returns, 
Which in the generous bosom burns. 

There love is warm, and youth is young, 
And poetry is yet unsung. 
For Virtue still adventures there, 
And freely breathes her native air. 

And ever, if you hearken well, 
You still may hear its vesper bell, 
And tread of high-souled men go by, 
Their thoughts conversing with the sky.

Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
The bridall of the earth and skie:
The dew shall weep thy fall to night;
                                    For thou must die.

Sweet rose, whose hue angrie and brave
Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye:
Thy root is ever in its grave
                                    And thou must die.

Sweet spring, full of sweet dayes and roses,
A box where sweets compacted lie;
My musick shows ye have your closes,
                                    And all must die.

Onely a sweet and vertuous soul,
Like season'd timber, never gives;
But though the whole world turn to coal,
                                    Then chiefly lives.

SATB A Cappella

3 min

Marjorie Pickthall text [public domain]

ECS Publishing No: 1.3574 (2019) PURCHASE

Commissioned by the National Youth Orchestra of Canada,

With thanks to the generosity of The Patrick Hodgson Family Foundation

Audio from 2018 Migrations CD



Marjorie Pickthall (1883-1922) in public domain, alt. by the composer.

O though the way be rough and long, And dangers lurk on every side,
Yet still we lift our constant song,— And music shall be our guide.

Though tempests fill the empty sky, And terrors vex the circling night, Yet still with one accord we cry,— And music shall be our light.

Though fear should follow all the way Along the path our feet must roam.
Yet still with heart and voice we say,— Music shall lead us home.

“Lead Us Home” speaks to the power music holds; its ability to comfort, to transport and heal. In moments of conflict, strife and grief, we turn to music to lead us home and make us whole.