USA East Music BULLETIN - WINTER 2019/20 - ISSUE 4 - Page 9

On Saturday afternoon, we had chance to listen to the vocal music being worked on by the delegates. Mid-Winter is a stunning take on the traditional Christmas Carol, In the Bleak Mid-winter by Simon Morton. Jelani Weekes provided two reflective pieces for the choir to perform, Jesus is Here which would suit any worship service, and Lord of My Youth for Singing Company. Eastern Territory Alumnus Kathryn Opina (Western Territory) had a truly beautiful songster piece performed, The King, which I look forward to hearing again soon. This is just a taste of the great music that was premiered this weekend, with over 30 pieces for brass being performed, and 11 wonderful songs being sung. One of the great joys of the experience is to sit and listen to the fantastic creativity of the other delegates around you, and to be able to discuss and dissect the pieces with them afterwards. For myself, I was able to hear two pieces performed over the weekend. An upbeat Latin American number for brass band, Lampara and the funky singing company tune, Bring it in! To hear these two pieces performed live, by such wonderful musicians, was such a pleasure, but more importantly it was a fantastic learning experience. It is one thing to imagine how a piece will sound, or even to hear it ‘performed’ by whatever computer program you are using, but nothing will ever compare to hearing a piece played by a live ensemble. I think it is fair to say, we all came away from the weekend with some patches and fixes for our pieces, as well as new ideas T H E S A LVAT I O N A R M Y U S A E A S T to go forward with. Daily devotions at the NACF are a unique time. In each period one of the faculty would present a piece that they had written, and truly a piece of their own heart. It is easy to forget as the beneficiaries of composer’s work, quite how much time, effort and struggle can go into each piece of music that we perform. Here in devotions, we were able to hear first hand some of the background to the amazing music that we have. These private moments gave each of us a chance to reflect on our own music, and of course, on the reason we write music in the first place. An unexpected highlight was the forming of a trombone ensemble, made up of delegates and faculty alike. A bizarrely large proportion of those in attendance at the NACF are trombonists, and so we were able to get together to rehearse and perform in worship on the Sunday. Of all the music we played, the highlight for me was Peace, Perfect Peace an arrangement of Erik Leidzèn’s beautiful song by faculty member Nick Simmons-Smith. h t t p s : / / w w w. f a c e b o o k . c o m / c r a i g. lewis.146/videos/10156638728971078/ I am so thankful to have been a part of the NACF again this year. This wonderful weekend is a great time to meet with other composers, to enjoy time in fellowship, and to learn from some of the finest musicians in the world. For a composer, this is such an important time of renewal and recharge, as well as an igniting point for new creative endeavors. Thanks of course go to all of the faculty, and those who helped organize this fantastic event – NACF 2022 cannot come soon enough! ■ W I N T E R 2019/20 | USA EAST MUSIC BULLETIN • 9