News: “Come, Thou Fount” Featured on Mouth Off Podcast

January 30th, 2012

The Beltones and my arrangement of “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” were featured in the “Praiseappella” segment of the a cappella podcast, Mouth Off. Speaking of “Come Thou Fount,” here’s what Dave Brown had to say:

“Here we have the Beltones, this brand new group, really showing the depth of their musical reach…Patrick Dunnevant, who was one of the co-founders, actually sings the lead here and he did the arrangement, which I was really impressed by. He wasn’t afraid to do some chord substitutions and play with the texture of it while still retaining, I think, the nobility of the original hymn…I’ve sung this song probably a hundred times, and I never would have thought of that round. It just kind of surprised me…Here, the Beltones, a brand new group, show a lot of maturity.”

You can listen to the entire episode by clicking on this link. The segment starts at 18:35

News: “The Lord Is My Shepherd” Premiere and New Works

January 10th, 2012

Premiere update: The commission I recently finished for Cody Muller, “The Lord Is My Shepherd” for bass vocalist and piano, will be premiered on Thursday, January 12th, 2012 at 1:00. Cody is performing the work as part of his vocal seminar. I will be in attendance and will attempt to get a recording.

Arrangement update: I have been asked to arrange Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On” for the Beltones. It will be performed in their spring concert in April (or May).

Composition update: I have begun a choral setting of Carl Sandberg’s “Nocturne in a Deserted Brickyard.” It will be for SATB chorus and solo flute, and whenever the flute is not playing, it will feel like an a cappella work.

News: “The Lord Is My Shepherd”

December 24th, 2011

Composition update: I have finished a new piece, this one a commission from a bass vocalist named Cody Muller. It is a setting of Psalm 23, which I have aptly titled “The Lord Is My Shepherd.”

It was a joy to write for him; he’s one of those singers with a low range that only comes around once in a long while, and so to write for his kind of talent has been a pleasure. I will be working with him to secure a recording of the work, as well as working to adapt it for people with higher vocal ranges and arranging the work for string quartet accompaniment, which it was practically made for.

News: A New Commission and Graduate School Applications

December 9th, 2012

Performance update: My two-part arrangement of the folk song “Pretty Saro” will be premiered by the Siegel Middle School Select Singers at 6:00 PM on December 15th, 2011.

Future update: I have applied to graduate programs in composition at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Florida State University. Soon to follow will be Westminster Choir College and Baylor University.

Secular Choral Music


There Let Me Find Yet Another
SATB · a cappella
Purchase the score here
A short choral work based on the poetry of one of my choral conductors and composition teachers, Deen Entsminger; the text speaks of a longing to find a “companion to my journey” to spend one’s life with as the “years…alter the face of the earth.” This was written to be performed as part of a Nashville Chamber Music Series concert on February 28th, 2015 in Nashville, TN.


Nocturne in a Deserted Brickyard
SSAATTBB · flute
This work is based on the Carl Sandburg poem of the same name. While much of the work functions as an a cappella choral work, there is also a solo flute accompaniment. The often-dissonant and slowly-paced choral parts are complimented with a lofty, energetic, and often virtuostic flute solo that mimics the moonlight dancing on the water, as the text describes. This work was premiered at Westminster Choir College on March 8th, 2014.


The Builder
SATB · piano
Using the text of the same name by Willard Wattles, The Builder is a heartwarming text about someone encountering an old carpenter who is building “Heaven,” and the musical setting gives both male and female singers the opportunity to take on the role of this narrator. This piece is dedicated to, and was premiered by, Westminster Choir College’s “Canticum Novum,” under the direction of Vinroy D. Brown, Jr.

What Can It Mean? 
SSAA · piano
Purchase the score here
A whimsical and multimetric setting of the poem of the same name by George P. Morris for SSAA chorus and piano. The text, sung from the perspective of a seventeen-year-old girl struggling to understand her feelings for a man, makes What Can It Mean? a perfect choice for a high school women’s chorus. This work is published under the Colla Voce Choral Series.


Between Two Loves
TTBB · a cappella ·
An a cappella setting of an adapted version of the T.A. Daly poem for male chorus. This American poem conveys someone debating between marrying two different women, and is set in the style of a folk tune using pentatonic scales.

Pretty Saro
Two-part male · piano
This piece was arranged for the boys of the Siegel Middle School Select Singers under the direction of Alexis Yatuzis-Derryberry, and was premiered as part of their Winter Concert on December 15th, 2011. This arrangement features the familiar folk song melody primarily sung in unison over an expressive piano accompaniment.

The Star-Spangled Banner [WATCH]
SATB · a cappella
Arranged for Belmont University’s a cappella group, The Beltones. This unaccompanied arrangement utilizes neutral syllables, a melody that is shared between the tenors and sopranos, and the occasional tastefully-used jazz chord. These set this arrangement apart from more traditional ones, but still maintain the familiar, patriotic feel of the beloved anthem.

Three Songs After Adelaide
SATB · a cappella
Purchase the score here
A set of three poems by the American poet Adelaide Crapsey. Each song is based on a cinquain, a five-line poem in the style of the haiku. Three Songs uses a diverse tonal language that embraces dissonance, yet does not stray into atonality. However, due to this difficult musical texture, it is recommended for advanced high school or collegiate choruses. Three Songs after Adelaide was premiered by Nashville’s Portara Ensemble, directed by Shreyas Patel, on October 13th, 2013.

  1. November Night
  2. The Grand Canyon
  3. Triad

Sacred Choral Music


Preces and Responses
SATB · a cappella
A setting of the liturgical readings of the Evensong service according to the Anglican tradition. This work, with occasional divisi, can be performed by intermediate to advanced church choirs.


Silent Night
SATB · a cappella
An arrangement of the traditional Christmas carol by Frans Xaver Gruber and Joseph Mohr, commissioned by Matthew Phelps and the Chancel Choir of West End United Methodist Church in Nashville, TN. This arrangement utilizes an accompaniment of neutral syllables underneath the melody, which navigates from the sopranos to the tenors and basses. Silent Night was premiered at the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in downtown Nashville, TN.

The Temptation of Christ
SAB · mezzo-soprano and tenor soloists · piano
An anthem for the Lenten season commissioned by Church of the Savior United Church of Christ in Knoxville, TN, under the direction of Alexandra Engle. This work narrates the temptation of Christ in the desert by Satan, incorporating texts written by John Milton, verses from Luke 4:1-13, and poetry of the choir director who commissioned the work. The choral parts are accessible for volunteer church choirs, and they are counterbalanced by more difficult mezzo and tenor soloists who play the role of Satan; their melodic lines, which often cross over each other, come in the tradition of portraying Satan in a gender-ambiguous way. The Temptation of Christ was premiered on February 14th, 2016 at Church of the Savior UCC.


Why Learne To Sing?
SATB · piano
[Purchase the score here – GIA Publications]
A playful choral work for advanced choirs. The text is from the preface to “Psalms, Sonets, and Songs of Sadnes and Pietie”, a 1588 anthology published by the composer William Byrd, which features several reasons he believes that everyone should learn to sing; preserving the original English spellings, the work sets six of these reasons in a complex, multimetric style. The work also briefly harmonizes the Omnis spiritus laudet Dominum chant melody. “Since singing is so good a thing I wish all men would learne to sing.”


Lord Jesus, Stay With Us
SATB · a cappella · baritone solo
Purchase the score here
Utilizing “A Collect for the Presence of Christ” from the Book of Common Prayer as its text, Lord Jesus, Stay With Us is an anthem written in a mostly-polyphonic style with frequent tonal modulation. The work was premiered on April 12th, 2012 at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ.


And They That Be Wise
SSAATTBB · a cappella
Purchase the score here
An anthem based on Daniel 12:3: “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” This a cappella SATB work is frequently modular and requires a high level of vocal dexterity and flexibility.

In Sorrow
SATB · a cappella
[Purchase the score here]
A sacred work based on the 19th-century text of the same name by Thomas Hastings. This mournful setting is for an a cappella SATB chorus, divisi. This rubato work is almost exclusively homophonic, with an almost chant-like setting of the text that would be accessible for most intermediate to advanced church choirs and advanced high school choirs. It was premiered on August 13th, 2012 by the Wedgewood Summer Chorale.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel
SATB · a cappella
An arrangement commissioned by the Grove Avenue Baptist Church Celebration Choir, under the direction of Ken Van Cura; it was performed as part of their “Hope For The World” Christmas program on December 16th, 2012. The arrangement is for a cappella SATB chorus with simple and isolated divisi. Throughout the work, the melody is distributed between all voice parts, and the word “alleluia” is used as contrast to the main text. Watch the performance here.


Arise and Call Her Blessed
SATB · a cappella
A mostly-homophonic work composed for Mothers Day, based on selected and adapted text from Proverbs 31. This work is for a divisi SATB chorus, a cappella, and should be performed with liberal use of rubato. Lush chords and sweeping melodic lines will make this work an simpler, yet majestic choice for a high school chorus.

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
SATB · a cappella · baritone solo throughout
An SATB divisi arrangement of the beloved hymn in the style of a contemporary cappella group. The melody is sung by a male soloist, and the choral parts utilize neutral syllables, sing the melody as a round, and even incorporate influences reminiscent of African tribal music at its climax.

SATB · piano · string quartet · soprano solo
A setting of the Kyrie from the Ordinary Mass for SATB chorus, piano, and double string quartet. This work utilizes the Latin text, and utilizes compositional techniques of traditional masses, with romantic and classical influences being showcased in the form of the work. [Watch a performance here]

“Nocturne in a Deserted Brickyard” for SSAATTBB chorus and flute

This piece immediately introduces itself as something out of the ordinary; a textural chord hummed by the choir, and a soaring, rhythmic flute solo as the primary highlight. This flute line is often technically demanding, and serves as a stark contrast to everything else in the work.

The text is a beautiful description of moonlight reflecting off of the surface of a lake.

Stuff of the moon
Runs on the lapping sand
Out to the longest shadows.
Under the curving willows,
And round the creep of the wave line,
Fluxions of yellow and dusk on the waters
Make a wide dreaming pansy of an old pond in the night

The flute serves as an audial representation of the “fluxions of yellow and dusk” shimmering on the water and shore, whereas the lush texture of the choir underneath it portrays the beauty and reverence of the sight.

The anticipation in the vocal lines grow more intricate and strong as we begin to discover more about the journey of the “stuff of the moon.” Each destination of the moonlight is set in a distinct way, and when we finally arrive at the lake, the music becomes more consonant, yet doubles in power and emotion.

Nocturne in a Deserted Brickyard was written to be challenging for even a semi-professional ensemble of trained singers.

Contact me if you want to give it a try.

“Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”

“[Patrick Dunnevant] wasn’t afraid to do some chord substitutions and play with the texture of it while still retaining, I think, the nobility of the original hymn…” – Dave Brown, Mouth Off

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing was arranged for the Beltones as my “senior solo” and was first performed in the ensemble’s spring concert on April 29th, 2011. It was also recorded on the group’s first recording, The Beltones, which can be listened to for free and purchased here. It was also performed by the Mills E. Godwin High School Madrigals in Henrico, Virginia.

This arrangement was reviewed and featured in the January 29th, 2012 episode of “Mouth Off,” an a cappella-related podcast. The segment begins at 18:35.

Each section of the work builds dynamically. Even in the opening section, where a single baritone sings the melody by himself, there should be a palpable amount of anticipation of what is to come. The ensemble grows and adds layers of parts and different ostinati with each verse, until the African-influenced fourth verse, when it all breaks loose into a rhythmic frenzy. Shortly afterwards, there is a three-part round on the melody:

This is a tribute to a composition teacher of mine, Deen Entsminger, who employed this in a setting of the Doxology.

Listen to the Beltones perform this arrangement:

Here are the Mills E. Godwin High School Madrigals performing the arrangement:

“The Builder” for SATB chorus and piano

Smoothing a cypress beam
With a scarred hand,
I saw a carpenter
In a far land.

Down past the flat roofs
Poured the white sun;
But still he bent his back,
The patient one.

And I paused surprised
In that queer place
To find an old man
With a haunting face.

“Who art thou, carpenter,
Of the bowed head;
And what buildest thou?”
“Heaven,” he said.

This work is dedicated to, and will be premiered by Canticum Novum at Westminster Choir College, under the direction of Vinroy D. Brown, Jr.

As I see it, the last stanza can be interpreted in two ways.The first could be that the very act of building something to him is heavenly; that his craft brings a piece of Heaven down to his daily life here on Earth. The second is a more dark interpretation: that he is escaping the troubles of this life, a Hell on earth, by building Heaven for himself.

I debated back and forth between these interpretations, and ultimately set the text to convey a little bit of both. Here is the beginning of the climax of the work, where the tonality shifts to an almost melancholy sort of inquisitiveness:

The music behind his one-word response, though utilizing some ethereal, close-knit major chords, also has a sense of uncertainty about it; many of the chords are inverted and dissonant, and we don’t arrive at feeling of cadence until the last chord.

Contact me if you want to give it a try.