Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet (SF Premiere)

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April 1, 2018

City Church San Francisco Easter Sunday

Official San Francisco premiere of “Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet.” Performed by Magik*Magik Orchestra and City Church Choir with guest conductor Ming Luke, current Principal Guest Conductor of the San Francisco Ballet.

This piece is a 1971 arrangement by Gavin Bryars. It is formed on a loop of an unknown homeless man singing a brief stanza:

“Jesus’ blood never failed me yet. There’s only one thing I know, for he loves me so”‘

The loop of the singer was originally recorded for a documentary by Alan Power chronicling street life in Elephant and Castle and Waterloo Station in London. While other subjects of the documentary broke into drunken song, opera, or sentimental ballads – one man, who did not drink, sang a religious song “Jesus’ Blood Never Failed me Yet.”

In Bryars’ words:

“I took the tape loop of the man sining and copied it onto a continuous reel of tape. The door of the recording room opened on to a large painting studio and I left the tape copying, with the door open, while I want to have a cup of coffee. When I cam back I found the normally lively room unnaturally subdued. People were moving about much more slowly and a few were sitting alone, quietly weeping.

I realised that the tape was still playing and that they had been overcome by the old man’s singing. This convinced me of the emotional power of the music and of the possibilities offered by adding a simple, though gradually evolving, orchestral accompaniment that respected the homeless man’s nobility and simple faith. Although he died before he could hear what I had done with this singing, the piece remains as an eloquent, but understated testimony to his spirit and optimism.”

Jon Brill-DISJOINTED MADNESS (World Premiere) NEVADA Saxophone Quartet

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The Nevada Saxophone Quartet was founded in 2016 by Jessica Tucker, Dillon Dodge, Brian Lambert, and Connor O’Toole. They met through the Nevada Music Educators Association’s All State program, and have all gone on to study music at the collegiate level. As an ensemble, the Nevada Saxophone Quartet seeks to perform high quality saxophone literature and to promote new works by living composers.

Program Notes:

Music Educator, Percussionist, and Composer, Jon B. Brill, has been a central figure in the Music department at Eagle Valley Middle School in Carson City, NV. A Reno Nevada native, he earned his Bachelors of Music in Music Education from the University of Nevada – Reno in 1999. In 2007, Mr. Brill was the recipient of the Eagle Valley Middle School Educator of the year award and the Carson City Rotary teacher award for the month of March. In the fall of 2012, Mr. Brill started his studies at The University of Nevada, Reno, pursuing a Master’s Degree in Music Composition, studying under Dr. James Winn. Mr. Brill has composed a variety of works for Band, Orchestra, Choir, Percussion Ensemble, and for an assortment of smaller chamber groups. As a percussionist, Mr. Brill frequently performs with the Reno Wind Symphony. Mr. Brill is a member of the National Association for Music Education, Phi Mu Alpha, Phi Kappa Phi, and the Golden Key Honour society. In his free time, he enjoys the outdoors, loves to run, loves the company of dogs, and is an avid San Francisco Giants Baseball fan.

“Disjointed Madness,” is a work I composed for saxophone quartet in April and early May of 2016. In early April, I was approached by Brandon Dodge and Jessica Tucker in taking on the task of composing a piece for the “Nevada Saxophone Quartet.” I agreed and was eager to get started on the piece. Easy said than done, as I began working on the piece, my life was full of chaotic moments of juggling an assortment of activities that made for a busy schedule. I took advantage of every free and open moment in my schedule to compose this work. My early morning and late evenings would be occupied by sitting at a piano and my computer, jotting down the various ideas that would shape this work. Some days the music would flow from my mind while other days I was lucky just to put together one measure. Needless to say,
as my schedule of activities diminished, I was able to devote more time to the work and it was finally completed on the evening of May 16 th . In describing the piece, it begins with a musical argument between the Soprano and Alto Saxophones, supported by the drone of the Tenor and Baritone Saxophones. Once the argument settles, the piece moves into a contrapuntal section, where a variety of melodic ideas flow from instrument to instrument, eventually settling on an open fifth. The piece then develops a more energetic mood, with an upbeat and displaced groove section, accompanied by the melodic signing of the Soprano Saxophone. The work continues with a flurry of notes and a series of disjointed rhythmic sections, where the piece works it way back to the groove section where the melody appears once again, but this time it is performed by the Alto Saxophone. Once again a disjointed rhythmic section leads the piece into a developmental section of rapid activity of notes, scattered rhythmical structures in various
time signatures, and a flurry of notes moving throughout the four instruments of the quartet. The piece then begins to settle as it takes on a calm demeanor, where the familiar melodic line in an augmented form, is now performed by the Baritone Saxophone. The disjointed rhythmic ideas once again reappear, but in an inverted format, working its way to reestablishing the groove section, and a recap of the melody is restated; only this time the Tenor Saxophone receives the role of performing the melodic statement. The disjointed rhythmic intensity, offsetting the groove of the piece grows, leading to the finale of the work.
(Bio and program notes by composer)

Sitka septet (world premiere)

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Nate Barnett’s Sitka Septet for four singers, piano, guitar, and viola, is a love letter to Sitka, Alaska. Primarily a textless evocation of the joy and wonder of the coastal landscape, the piece also sets the simple words, “By sea or aeroplane, to Sitka we go, the land of sea and sky.”

Music and text by Nate Barnett
Premiered at the 2017 Uncommon Music Festival
St. Peter’s by-the-sea Episcopal Church, Sitka, AK
August 5, 2017

Audio and video by Rocky Bostick.

The Uncommon Music Festival is an annual chamber music festival that offers free concert performances, workshops, and community outreach events for one week each summer in Sitka, Alaska. We are committed to classical music that is diverse, accessible, and community-oriented, and together we create intimate and engaging performances of new music, early music, and underrepresented music of any age.

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Orlando, Fl : Premiere Eglise Haitienne D’Orlando novembre 2014

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Dr. Antoine Villard Fils-Aime, Pastor is the Founder of the First Haitian Baptist Church, of Orlando.The First Haitian Baptist Church of Orlando (FHABCO) was established in 1985 to serve the Haitian community in Orlando and to welcome anyone seeking help and spiritual guidance. It is a trilingual speaking congregation (French, Creole, and English) devoted to the Christian ministry. It is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and donations are tax-deductible.

We are committed to spreading the Gospel of Christ around the world. In an effort to fulfill the Great Commission of Christ to “Go and Make Disciples of all Nations,” we focus our mission on two fundamental areas: Evangelization and Service, and have expanded these goals from the local, to the national and international levels.

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