EDMOND — Edmond Memorial High School is one of six schools nationwide invited by the Young People’s Chorus of New York City to participate in its Radio Radiance new music digital media commissioning program.
Radio Radiance was created to attract listeners to adventurous new music by inviting some of today’s most innovative composers to combine technology and the human voice to create music for young singers. The selected choruses will perform one of four commissioned works.
Memorial’s varsity men’s and women’s choruses, under director Wes Singleton, will perform “Celestial Fire” by Thomas Cabaniss as part of their spring concert that begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
“We are very honored to be selected to premier this piece in Oklahoma,” Singleton said. “This is such a great opportunity for the students to collaborate with a living composer. I chose ‘Celestial Fire’ because of its captivating rhythmic qualities. I knew the audience would be drawn into this music with the skillful text painting the composer offers.”
Cabaniss composed “Celestial Fire” for young voices for radio and concert performances. The Juilliard School faculty member said it integrates live looping technology with the more traditional form of a cappella choral singing.
“All kinds of sounds, both pitched and unpitched, can be used to create the texture and sounds of a fire (cracking, hissing, burning, smoking, spitting, whooshing, etc.),” said Cabaniss, who suggested “the piece can also be performed without live looping, with the layered phrases performed live by the choristers.”
The other works commissioned by Radio Radiance are “The City” by composer Susie Ibarra, “Colors” by Kevin James, and “WICBM” by Toby Twining.
At Edmond Memorial, the varsity choruses are comprised of junior and senior women and all high school men. The classes are open enrollment.
Singleton is in his 25th year of teaching. He is an active member of many professional music organizations, including Oklahoma Music Educators Association, where he served as president from 2007-2009, and Oklahoma Choral Directors Association, where he served on the executive board.