Secular Choral Music


Mordida Mortal
SATB · a cappella
A commissioned work by Portara Ensemble; premiered in 2022 after a two-year delay caused by Covid-19. This piece was commissioned to transition out of a specific choral work on the same program, Orpheus Reimagined, a musical retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Mordida Mortal, with Spanish text by Elias Salazar, depicts the snakebite that kills Eurydice, thus beginning the journey of Orpheus to the underworld to plead with Hades for her release.


Hero at Sea
SSAA · a cappella
A choral work for SSA chorus and piano. This work was commissioned by the Grafton High School Women’s Chorus in Yorktown, VA, under the direction of Andrew Lusher. The text, “Hero at Sea”, is a poem by Grafton High sophomore Lexi Christie, and tells the story of a daring captain of a ship who weathers a fierce storm while on the ocean.


There Let Me Find Yet Another
SATB · a cappella
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
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
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