About this project
Update Video for the Home Stretch!
The Saint John of Damascus Society, a nonprofit sacred arts organization whose mission is to reveal Orthodox Christianity through its sacred music, is commissioning a collaborative composition from Matthew Arndt, John Michael Boyer, Alexander Khalil, Kurt Sander, Richard Toensing, and Tikey Zes.
The group of them will collaborate on a setting of Psalm 103, the Vesperal psalm. The idea is that the psalm text will be broken up into sections, and each one will compose a section in their own musical idiom. While each section will be in a separate style, the transitions between sections will be intentionally as smooth as possible. The net effect will likely be something oratorio-esque, but we'll see.
There are a number of objectives here; once the piece has been composed, then we will seek to publish it, as well as record it (and to have it recorded by a professional-quality ensemble. Once it is recorded, the plan is to create a video montage of a performance interspersed with images from all of creation, from the microcosmic to the macrocosmic levels.
In terms of how we're proceeding, we're doing so in stages, and the hope is that each stage will set up the next one. We're going to be unveiling a Kickstarter project shortly for the purposes of being able to commission the piece; once we have the score in hand, we can use that to raise the money for the recording, and so on.
The fundamental idea behind the project comes from our board president, Hal Sabbagh, an electrical engineer and mathematician who is very interested in bridging gaps between science and faith. The confirmation of the existence of the Higgs boson (the "God particle") last summer got him wondering about what in the Orthodox liturgical/musical tradition celebrates creation at these kinds of levels, and I suggested the Vesperal psalm. It generated a lot of ideas, the rest of the board got very interested, and here we are.
We hope you can help!
Risks and challenges
Deadlines are always a challenge, but we're confident that once the project is funded, we can deliver a complete published score within a year.
The biggest logistical challenge will be setting up the initial weekend where everybody meets in person to discuss the details of the collaboration; scheduling has the potential to be complicated. Once funded, we will set that up as early as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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