Most of my composing comes about because of necessity. It usually happens when I can't find anything for Sunday morning in the stack of hymnals I already have sitting in my office! One of my goals in composing a piece of music to be used in worship is that the congregation be able to pick it up easily the first time they hear it. That's not to say that my music is simplistic...I just know how difficult it can be for people to start singing something new right away. So I try to compose in keys that most people will find comfortable to sing in. I also tend to compose for specific moments in worship rather than just sitting down to write a brand new song. I am inspired by traditional liturgical texts, as well as the Psalms. I have also composed quite a few hymn tunes that can easily be paired with the standard meters found in most hymnals.
The recordings on this page reflect my style of liturgical composition, and are from actual church services where the pieces were used.
Bless Adonai I originally wrote this piece to be sung following the Assurance of Pardon in the Presbyterian order of worship (this is what you hear in the recording). It is a rendering of Psalm 103: "Bless Adonai, O my soul.." Since the church I composed it for has an interfaith relationship with a Jewish synagogue, I specifically used the Hebrew name for God, "Adonai," hoping that the piece could be used in the future for an interfaith service.
Feast of Grace This piece is one of my favorite compositions. I wrote it while working at St. James Catholic church in Chicago for the period of Ordinary Time where the lectionary texts are from the Bread of Life discourse in John's gospel. It quickly became a favorite communion hymn of both the choir and congregation. A congregation can easily learn the refrain, while a cantor or choir sings the verses.
There Is One Lord I composed "There Is One Lord" for Easter Sunday morning one year. We needed a piece of music to accompany the renewal of baptismal promises/sprinkling with water. We started singing it on every Sunday of the Easter season, and now it is well established as part of our Easter repertoire. We also use it each time we celebrate baptism as a way to welcome the newly baptized. Although I originally wrote it for the Presbyterian church I work at, it could easily find a home in any Christian tradition that celebrates the renewal of baptismal promises.