As we lead up to our April 18th concert featuring music by Wisconsin composers, we are profiling some of the composers and their pieces that we are featuring. We hope that you come out and join us at Alverno College Chapel on April 18th at 7 p.m.!
Zachary J. Moore: October Song
Zachary Moore first felt a calling to the world of music when he was 15, while he was singing Craig Hella Johnson’s “Requiem.” He noticed the simplicity and elegance of the harmonic language, and felt compelled to begin composing himself to try to create something that made people feel that same way as he did.
Over the coming years as he formally began his music education at the University of Wisconsi-Eau Claire, he was able to receive some extremely helpful guidance and lessons from such composers Eric Barnum, Dan Forrest, Ola Gjeilo, Ethan Wickman, Timothy Takach and Jake Runestad (both Barnum and Wickman have pieces on our April concert, and we have performed pieces by Forrest and Gjeilo in the past). As a result, Moore has started to find his own niche in the world of music.
I have noticed especially over this past year an increasing amount of directors, publishers and performers contacting me about my music,” Moore said. “This spring I am having a piece performed at the Taipei National Concert Hall by the Taipei National Youth Choir. I have also received a lot of support from the Music Department at The University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire especially from the ensembles and the directors such as The Women’s Concert Choral, The Singing Statesmen, Concert Choir and soon, Wind Symphony.
Currently Moore’s music is offered strictly through Colla Voce in the Gary R. Schwartzhoff Choral Series; however, there has been more interest lately in his work, which has led to more publishers taking up his work. This summer hismusic will be offered through Santa Barbra Music in the Jo-Michael Scheibe Choral Series as well as self published through the growing company MusicSpoke.
Moore’s piece, “October Song,” is perhaps the most quintessentially “Wisconsin” piece on our upcoming concert. The piece takes text from a poem by Wisconsin poet laureate Max Garland and sets it to a beautiful, textured set of melodies and harmonies that showcase an autumn in Wisconsin.
“This piece was commissioned in the fall of 2014 by Dr. Gary Schoartzhoff for his ensemble The Master Singers in Eau Claire, WI as part of my Composer-in-residence with them this past year,” said Moore. “I was given the text over the summer of 2014. Actually, I remember receiving the email with the poem while I was in my summer education course. I would like to say after the second time of reading the piece I just started to sing the words in my mind. Before I knew it, I had the opening melodic material composed in my mind.”
“The way that I compose is like this,” Moore continued. “When I come up with an idea I see if it stands the test of time. If I remember it after two weeks (or sometimes six months), that means it was a worth while thought and if not, well, it was not meant to be composed. Long story short, the thought stood the test of time. After two weeks I went hard to work. The piece just kept coming to me and I could not believe it. Ideas of color, warmth, chills, drama, life and death all flooded my mind as I thought about fall and what it meant to me. Then I began to think about Eau Claire and how beautiful it is there when the leaves are changing. Seeing the reflection of the hill and trees on the river is a beautiful thing to see. Before I knew it, it was finished in a period of about a month.”
Below is the composer’s note that accompanies the score to the piece. For more information about Zachary Moore and his music, visit his website at www.zacharyjmoore.com.
In my personal opinion, there is nothing more beautiful about the Chippewa Valley (located in northwestern Wisconsin) than its colors in the fall. October Song, a poem written by Wisconsin Poet Laureate Max Garland for The Master Singers’ 22nd concert season, is a poem inspired by the colors and divine beauty that is within this valley.
I have always found peace and inspiration in the sites that surround me in Eau Claire. From the sun’s first golden rays glistening and dancing on rapids of the Chippewa River, to the silence of the night with its cool and soft stars watching over me. The beauty of this land is unmistakable. Although fall is covered in the warmth and richness of its lush golden colors, it is easy to forget how chilling it can be. Have you ever noticed how beautiful yet fragile the leaves of fall are? How easy they crumble in one’s hands to dust…. Such is life
When going through a day-to-day routine it is easy to take the blessings of ones life for granted. Just as the golden leaves of fall are fragile so is ones soul. It is important for anyone to take a moment to step back and enjoy the delicate colors that surround their life. Think of friends and family and the laughs that you share with those few special individuals. Let that fill your soul and give life and purpose to what you do. Before you know it, the leaves of this tree called life will be falling as winters sting comes. So I leave you with this question, how many colors and leaves will be on your tree before your leaves fall?