Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 3, 2012.


Let's commission Minneapolis composer, Jocelyn Hagen, to write a song cycle about the the displaced Lost Boys of Sudan.

Photos by Lauren Swihart; background track in video - "burn" from love.songs by Jocelyn Hagen - Tadd Sipes, baritone; Erica Sipes, piano

I am commissioning Jocelyn Hagen to write a song cycle about the Lost Boys of Sudan based on a documentary by photographer Lauren Swihart.  The cycle, entitled ...and then we were left, will include four songs, and Lauren Swihart's images will be a part of the performance as well.  The purpose of this Kickstarter project is to invite you, my family, friends, colleagues and students, to be a part of this commissioning.  At the right you will see various suggested levels of contribution with their associated "rewards."  You can be an important part of this project for just the cost of a fancy venti-sized drink at Starbucks.  Or you can choose to contribute a large amount and your name will forever appear in the printed score.  Want to know more?  Read on...

I met Jocelyn Hagen at the National Conference of the National Association of Teachers of Singing in Nashville, Tennessee in 2008.  For me, it was the best thing to come out of that conference.  Jocelyn performed songs she had composed for a singer who was performing in a master class.  I was drawn to the flowing but sophisticated melodies of her songs.  After meeting her at the conference and hearing more of her music on her website, I knew this was a composer I wanted to try to work with.  Now that I have performed three of the pieces from her love.songs cycle about ten times, I am even more convinced of this idea.

For some time now I have been dreaming of being the force behind the creation of a socially conscious song cycle.  As I pondered a project that might do well as the subject of such a cycle, I remembered Lauren Swihart's documentary, ...and then we were left.  Lauren is the wife of my nephew, Nick Bailey, and that's how I'd become aware of her work.  Her little book contains images of Sudanese men who were just boys when they fled the dangers of civil war in Sudan.  Eventually they left Africa and immigrated to the United States.  Lauren met them in Chicago and has since become involved with raising money to help improve the plight of the Sudanese people.  Since compiling the documentary, she has become involved on the board of "HELPSudan," and has even traveled to Sudan to help build a school there.  The combination of Lauren's photographs and the words of the men that appear in the book make it a compelling beginning for a work of art.  

The primary goal of this project is to raise the funds to pay Jocelyn for her work.  However, it would be great if I raised enough money to help me travel to Minneapolis for the mid-west premier where I will be working with excellent musicians and Jocelyn to bring the song cycle to life.  Rest assured, any extra funds will be used towards performance expenses of ...and then we were left.

One final word of explaination.  In order for the project to receive any funds at all, the $3500.00 goal must be met.  If it is met, credit cards will automatically be charged at the end of the campaign.  If not, no one gets any money, and in the words of Kickstater "everyone will be sad."  

Thank you so much for considering this project.  I am very excited about singing it.  You can be a part too!

$3000.00 - Jocelyn Hagen commissioning fee

$500.00 - Kickstarter and Amazon fees and production costs for premiums


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    Private updates on the progress of the commission, your name listed in the program at the premier, plus the pleasure of knowing you were a part of its creation.

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    The above, plus an MP3 of the cycle in your inbox following the premier.

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    The above plus a 5x7 Lauren Swihart print signed by the photograher.

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    The above plus a donor's edition of the song cycle signed by the composer.

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Funding period

- (21 days)