SONG: School Starts Early in the Morning


In celebrating the start of the school year, I wrote this little ditty.  Dedicated to the WA class of 2016, it is directed more to high school students (with reference to SATs and AP classes).  Written in two parts, the tune is a familiar sea chanty, “Drunken Sailor.”

Teachers, this is a “free-use” song for your classroom  – I only ask that you acknowledge me as the composer.   Have fun with it!!!  There are quite a few teachable elements in this easily sight-readable song.



Remembering My Father

“Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English. It means they know another language.” — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Immediately it struck a chord with me of my beloved father…

In memory of my Dad… He knew how to communicate all over the world with so many languages. I will never forget when we were transferred to Sicily and he spoke Italian – all of us, including Mom, were surprised and impressed.

As we approach my Dad’s birthday, I feel his presence in both heart and mind:

1. Dad’s sense of first seeing the good in others
2. To be forgiving of someone’s bigotry and prejudice with extraordinary kindness and prayer for changed hearts
3. His hard work ethic that provided us with a great Catholic education and dance/piano lessons
4. His creativity in the kitchen that made our family meals fit for admirals and heads of state – and he would extend that same gift to his kitchen staff with delicious treats/meals
5. His pride of becoming an American citizen and earning his GED by the age of 22 – leaving his family at age 17 and 96 lbs. to honorably serve the USA Navy as a way of giving back for the American commitment and sacrifice in the Philippines during WWII
6. His deep and passionate love for Mom and his unconditional love for his children
7. His incredible faith witnessed by him “walking the walk”

On his one day off per week (never on Sunday after he retired from the military and was a chef at a restaurant), it was more important to him to spend time with the family in the summer on the beach with fantastic BBQs. On Sunday, Dad was also one of those people who sat in the back pew of church so he could quietly rush to a 12-hour workday after communion. When my younger brothers and sisters were at Christ the King School, this amazing chef would humbly volunteer weekly for lunch duty (before going to work)…

In looking back, Dad took time to be grateful in faith, family/friends and country. His resiliency and gratitude stemmed from being a child in war-torn Philippines and all that implies (which I still have not been fully able to grasp or understand). He was and IS my hero.


Whirlwind of activity…

Pending projects…

The notes continue to leap off the page…

  1. Working on a psalm
  2. Fine-tuning previous compositions for iTunes launch
  3. Birthday tunes for both of my granddaughters continue
  4. Chrism mass setting started, includes assembly, cantor, organ, brass and timpani
  5. Hymn lyrics selected for a new sacred piece
  6. String quartet – a little every day
  7. A possible commission for a company’s PR video

I am ever grateful for this time of creativity and composing.

Music thoughts as compositions are posted on Sound Cloud

Creative expressions through music…

So… I must say that reconnecting to composing is like relearning how to ride a bike. Although I have used my composing skills in arranging music for school and church, getting back to my roots has been both exhilarating and frustrating – depending on what I am working.

Even though there are a great many music notation apps for the computer, I still love my pencil and paper. I am discovering as the projects become more challenging, I plan additional time for dealing with a significant learning curve in some of the apps. Currently, I am in the market for a used Apple computer – if you hear of anyone updating theirs, please give them my address. When I left WA, I returned my cherished MacBook (well, technically it was not mine, but I sure did “baby” it as if it was).

Here is part of the classical suite I have been working on – the church seasons. (I believe you may have heard my Advent piece, O Come, O Come Emmanuel.) This is a reflection of an Easter favorite. Written for solo cello, violin, piano, guitar, violin, viola, cello, and double bass, it was great fun to pull this together.

Easter Refection on “O filii and filiae”. 

PS… Okay, I don’t want to give too much away on this, but you will definitely notice that I used the song in snippets with other material interspersed. Spiritual creativity for the heart and soul…

Pending projects:
1. composing the Chrism Mass entrance antiphon and hymn for assembly, cantor, choir, brass, timpani, organ. (Yeah, a bit high church, but hopefully singable so priests processing in will want to sing with the singing assembly). Why? There are days I have asked myself this – but there are not a lot of versions out there for cathedral musicians to use (so relayed to me by a few cathedral musician friends)
2. Working with publisher on Laudato si (fingers crossed)
3. Getting all my duckies in a row for Mass of the Chesapeake
4. Podcast for ICC
5. A collection of children’s for my grand daughters ( these should be up and running on iTunes in the next couple of months)

Texts, texts, texts… Mass parts are easy… But trying to find meaningful lyrics that works with music has been a challenge for me. I am neither poet or theologian…

(Excerpts of a note I wrote to some friends)