Category Archives: Choirs

One Word Can Change Everything…

…when it leads to action.

I recently got my hands on a recording of Compassio, the choral piece I wrote for Vox Humana’s concerts from March of this year!

This is a cappella music for mixed (SATB) choir, sung by an amazing group of singers under the direction of Brian Wismath. This piece uses only one word, “compassio”, which is the Latin word for “compassion”.

I wrote these notes inside the score:

compassio = compassion

Compassio is a choral prelude. It expresses that small acts of kindness and partnership can add up to something big. The Latin word “compassio” is exploded and then reassembled with joy, hope, and a bit of playfulness.

This music reminds me that well-meaning words need to be paired with action.


“Most good things have already been said far too many times and just need to be lived.”
-Shane Claiborne

Enjoy the music!

March Means Music!

The year has just flown by so far, don’t you think? It seems like just yesterday we were putting away the Christmas decorations… I’m looking forward to a few exciting performances of my work this month, and I wanted to let you know where and when.

First off…

Victoria Symphony Composers’ Workshop

Saturday, March 16 – 2:00pm – Alix Goolden Hall, Victoria
Free for all ages!

The VS will play my new piece, The Alms Tree, alongside works by 5 other BC composers. More info on the Symphony’s website. I wrote more about this event here and about the music here.

Later that same weekend…

Vox Humana concerts

Vox Humana Flyer

Two exciting choral concerts by a fantastic choir! Both feature the premiere of my Compassio, a short a cappella piece. I got to listen in on a rehearsal last week… I was blown away! If you enjoy amazing singing, this is not to be missed.

“Passio” featuring the world premiere of Compassio
Saturday, March 16 – 7:30 pm – St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Victoria

“The Little Match Girl Passion” also featuring Compassio
Sunday, March 17 – 3:00 pm – St. Barnabas Church, Victoria


If you already decided to come out to one of these events, THANK YOU! Also, 25 and unders can come to the Vox Humana concerts for free.

Hope to see you there! Heidi and I are also looking forward to having my parents in town during this time. They’re flying to the Island for the concerts, and it doesn’t hurt that Victoria is a phenomenal place to relax and recharge. It’s not such a burden to visit. 🙂

Enough about me… what are YOU looking forward to this spring? I want to know. Shoot me an email or write a comment.


What a rush. For a composer, nothing can equal the adrenaline caused by hearing his own work performed in public. On Saturday evening, Viva’s Boys and Girls Choirs sang my piece, Rat Milk, as part of their year-end concert. Having my own work played has always been exciting, but this time I was serving as both accompanist and composer. I had written myself a few tricky piano bits, but we stayed in time and in character, and the kids performed beautifully. Our conductor, Marnie Setka-Mooney, did an admirable job of leading the choir in concert, and preparing them in rehearsal. “Do it for Dave!”, she would say, as we hammered out harmonies and practiced our entries. They came through in the end, and delivered a great performance, which is the greatest gift they could have given me. So thank you, choir, and thank you, Marnie!

Why Rat Milk? It’s an odd title for a piece of music, but it is the name of an excellent poem by Victoria’s Poet Laureate, Linda Rogers. The poem tells a dramatic tale of survival, describing vividly the struggle of a mother rat foraging at night to feed her children. After a treacherous journey, she returns home safely. I chose to set this poem for the choir because of its message of love and hope, and also because it seemed like great material for the kids to sing. I think it sparked their imaginations and piqued their curiosity. In the end, the kids’ enthusiasm made all the work worthwhile. Our performance was a memorable end to a fun year.

Viva Choirs has recorded a complete CD of our concert that will be available soon. If you’d like to order one, just message me or visit the Viva website.

Viva School Tour

Every year, Viva Boys and GirlsViva Youth Choirs sends its Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs out for a day-long tour of Victoria’s elementary schools. This year marked my second as accompanist for VIVA, and last week we performed for three different school assemblies. To the children, the tour meant a fun day away from classes, and we had a blast.

The kids have alot of energy, and when you combine more than twenty of them in a room for any length of time, almost anything can happen. A spontaneous marimba performance at lunchtime, for example. (We were eating in the school’s music room. Can you blame them?) The kids also took part in the fine schoolyard tradition of altering the lyrics to their favorite songs when they thought the teachers weren’t listening. I can tell you from personal experience that choir kids do this with more gusto than any other group on earth.

For some children, the tours gave them their first taste of fame. After a performance at Oaklands Elementary School, a brave kindergarten student approached our snare drummer for an autograph. Don’t let it go to your head! It is these little events that stay in my mind as fond memories after all the music is sung and the hard work is done. With Viva, the job title ‘accompanist’ is often expanded to include tasks such as cleaning up spilled soup, crowd control, and chaperoning choristers to various venues. This just makes the job more interesting as the kids can be so spontaneous, and this is one of the reasons I enjoy working with Viva. There are more pictures up on our Facebook page. Also, Viva’s season winds up with a final performance at St. Aidan’s Church on Saturday, April 17, that will feature a performance of my piece written for the Boys’ and Girls’ Choir called Rat Milk! Message me if you would like more information.