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Composition Date and Recital Notes

Hello all!!!

I have an official recital date set for my graduate composition recital: Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019, in the Covington Center Performance Hall at Radford University.

The program notes are as follows:


Wildwood was originally written for flute, violin, and guitar. A second arrangement, replacing flute with clarinet, was written to be performed at a composers’ collaborative concert at Queens University in Charlotte in the spring of 2019, and is the arrangement that is being performed today. The piece is inspired by nature, walks in the park, trees, and the Japanese Shakuhachi flute.

Megan Denslinger, clarinet

Ashley Middleton, violin

Elliott Mills, guitar


The piece Matrix was written as I picked back up the hammered dulcimer after a period of not playing. It is an effort to include the hammered dulcimer, as a percussion instrument, in a modern 21st-century percussion ensemble. The piece is a trio, featuring hammered dulcimer, marimba, vibraphone, and other percussion instruments periodically throughout, and includes rhythmic and syncopated themes and extended techniques.

Alyssa Osorio, hammered dulcimer

Vibraphone, suspended cymbal & snare drum

Marimba & suspended cymbal

The Fear Crept Up

I wrote a poem many months ago, the lyrics of which are featured in this piece, as a means to deal with some anxiety and agoraphobia at the time. I decided to put these lyrics to music. I wanted to tell the story using marimba to produce a creepy-crawly, chilling feeling, while the cinematic soprano lines sing the lyrics. The effects of the story are also told in the violins, cello, and percussion.

Jessy Gahafer, Soprano

Megan Kong, Soprano

Ashley Middleton, violin

Breauna Roche, violin

Jackie Allegro, cello


Crash cymbal

Monsters Under the Bed

Monsters Under the Bed was my first saxophone quartet. Having never written for this ensemble before, I began to think of ideas as to what to write about. After thinking about different movies and scenes, I decided on the opening scare scene of Monsters Inc., a movie that I enjoy very much. The piece begins with an introduction, followed by a harkening back to Brahms’ Lullaby, signifying the mother tucking the little boy into bed. The piece slowly but surely grows more suspenseful, featuring fast runs to emulate shadows and figments of the boy’s imagination: a supposed monster that is in fact his jacket, and imaginary shadows running up against the windows and walls of the boy’s room. Finally, the monster shows up for real, and scares the boy until he screams, jumps out from under the covers, and the simulation is terminated.

Matt Bandman, soprano saxophone

Alto saxophone

Matt Rhoten, tenor saxophone

Christopher McNabb, baritone saxophone

Shades of Thought

Another ensemble that was a new territory for me was the brass quintet. Once again, I brainstormed topics. This piece was written entirely from the imagination. The initial theme, heard throughout the piece, is somewhat typical and militaristic with a small amount of comedic effect. I included various solos in different instruments, with and without mutes, and a small section with a Mary Poppins-like structure. I have also included extended jazz chords and small musical sounds I remember from childhood tapes.

Nathan West, trumpet

John Ouimette, trumpet

Jasmine Wade, horn

Cole Mitchell, trombone

Jake Thomas, tuba

Forest in the Gleam of Midnight

This piece tells a story of a girl who takes a journey through the forest at night before returning safely at home. It began as a short assignment from Dr. Mahin to create six different variations of the same theme, and turned into six short movements.

I. A Carnival After Dark Comes to a Close/Walking Home Towards the Forest

II. Walking Down a Lonely Street/Entering the Forest

III. Reflection of the Moon and Stars

IV. Conversations of the Forest Animals

V. Lost in the Dark

VI. Running Home

Megan Denslinger, clarinet

Farrah Boothe, soprano

Jessy Gahafer, soprano

Megan Kong, soprano

Hudson Crowe, piano



Jackie Allegro, cello

Will Scearce, double bass


Perceptions has many influences. First, it is a mixture between traditional classical instruments and hard rock, metal, and symphonic metal music, especially the cello metal band Apocalyptica and the group Nightwish, as I enjoy listening to this style of music when I am not listening to classical. The composer who most influenced me to write this piece is Bogdan Ota, who won Norway’s Got Talent in 2011 and who takes media-style music and writes it exclusively for the concert hall.

Megan Kong, soprano

Jessy Gahafer, soprano

Milo Wilson, piano

Ashley Middleton, violin

Emily Meadows, violin

Breauna Roche, violin

Kimberly Neels, violin

Jackie Allegro, cello

Cello 2



Tuesdays at 9:00 A.M.- Wildwood

Wednesdays at 5:00 P.M.- Vocals in The Fear Crept Up, Perceptions and Forest in the Gleam of Midnight

Fridays at 5:00 P.M.- Strings, clarinet & piano in The Fear Crept Up and Forest in the Gleam of Midnight

Thursdays at 7:40 P.M.- Brass Quintet Rehearsal of Shades of Thought

Saxophone Quartet Rehearsal of Monsters Under the Bed

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