Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nathan's National Anthem

Last week was the All-State festival, and it was the second year in a row that Nathan was asked to be the chorus accompanist for this event. This year, they also asked him to write a choral arrangement of the Star-Spangled Banner to open the concert. Then, just a few days before the performance, the chorus conductor asked Nathan to conduct the premiere himself.

Of course I'm biased, but I think what he came up with is quite stellar. It's traditional enough to be the national anthem as we've all heard it and sung it so many times, but has plenty of Nathan-ish moments that lend it flair and uniqueness of its own. (I'm particularly fond of "And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air...") Well, someone at the concert videotaped the performance and put several of the chorus pieces up on YouTube, including Nathan's arrangement. Here are a few selections from the chorus program this year, performed in Boston's Symphony Hall:

The Star-Spangled Banner, arranged and conducted by Nathan:

The Seal Lullaby by Eric Whitacre:

(When I was in choir in college, we did a work by Eric Whitacre that I just loved, Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine. I've been a Whitacre fan ever since. The piece is, for lack of a better word, epic. It pays homage to the Renaissance man not only through the fascinating text, but also through many Renaissance musical techniques embedded in a distinctively contemporary choral work. If you want to hear Leonardo, there are many recordings on YouTube... I rather like this one, with the man himself conducting. There's also a wonderful commentary on the piece with the BYU Singers here - you should definitely check it out. Choral music is so amazing. Eric Whitacre is so amazing. But I digress, because this post is supposed to be about how amazing my husband Nathan is.)

Shine the Light by Raymond Wise:

The students at All-State seemed to like Nathan; they've created a facebook fan page for him. Is there any greater indication of success in life? (He's definitely surpassed the time I played a violin solo with the All-State chorus.)

I'm so proud.


  1. Beautiful! I like the "nathan moments" in his arrangement, and I also like that it is recognizable and traditional. Go Nathan! Also, I think his facebook fanpage is hilarious and wonderful.

    Also, I am online today because it is a feast day, so I'm allowed. :)

  2. I'm so proud of both of you appearing on stage at Symphony Hall!

    Love, SteveDad