Redbirds

for 2-part children's choir and piano (4'25")

Having been named the winner of the Organization of American Kodály Educators’ (OAKE) 2020 Ruth Boshkoff Composition Prize, I composed Redbirds in August/September of 2020 for an intended premiere at the OAKE national conference in March 2021. It is now slated for a performance at the 2022 conference.

In the meantime, all are welcome to listen to this electronic demo and peruse the score.

Program Note

With the mission of OAKE and children’s choirs in general in mind, I wanted to choose a text for this piece that children might connect with easily. I was initially drawn to the Sara Teasdale poem for its lilting, song-like rhythm, but I quickly grew to find its lucid nostalgia to be rich in opportunities for musical storytelling.

In the poem, Teasdale vividly portrays a fond memory – cardinals singing and images of trees and hills overlooking the Mississippi River – only to end on a questioning, slightly melancholy note. The piece opens with the piano simulating the chirping of cardinals in the past, and the poem is set to a folk-like melody in the Mixolydian mode – neither happy nor sad.

I hope that children who perform Redbirds will find it thought-provoking and enjoyable.