What can Cypress Choral Music do for a Canadian composer?
• Cypress prepares scores to the highest standards of publishing through a detailed editing and proofing process. (see below)* Cypress works in a timely way, interacting with each composer until both parties are satisfied.
• Cypress publishes/prints beautiful scores on 60 lb. cougar-colour stock paper with full colour covers. (music on off/white paper is expensive to print but it is much easier for singers to read)
• Cypress score layout is attractive and uncluttered with very legible font size. (ever see a score with teeny-tiny notes?)
• Cypress contacts thousands of choir directors several times each year – featuring our new publications and seasonal recommendations.
• Cypress creates attractive webpages for each composer with Soundcloud embeds, lyrics, descriptions, links to sample scores and ordering information.
• Cypress ensures that each composition has a quality audio performance and we also embed Youtube performances which give justice to the featured composition.
• Cypress features nearly 50 composers each year on the opening Homepage. We also send composer features to Choralnet frequently. Each composer is featured on our Facebook page on his/her birthday.
• Cypress sends out updates and lists (annually) to over 50 choral music dealers far and wide, including the giants like Sheet Music Plus and J.W. Pepper.
• Cypress sends out perusal scores to reading workshops throughout the year.
• Cypress attends the biggest choral conventions in North America – including Choral Canada’s Podium and the National ACDA convention in the USA. (see the photo below – Cypress on display at the ACDA in Kansas City in 2019.)
• Cypress collaborates with Musical Resources (Toledo), Pana Musica (Kyoto), Sulasol (Helsinki) and Musica International (Strasbourg). These international partners feature our music at choral conventions/music festivals and provide scores to clinics and reading workshops.
• Cypress publications never go POP (permanently out of print). We believe that quality choral music is timeless.
• Cypress effectively protects its catalogue from copyright violation and sheet music theft.
• Cypress plans to stay in business for many years to come. When Cypress was founded in 1990 there were at least 15 choral music publishers in the country. Alas, today Cypress is one of the few survivors.
• Cypress is faithful at keeping track of sales and paying royalties each year. (in late March)
• Cypress believes in transparency with our composers. We are always open to comments, suggestions and concerns – and we try to give replies in a timely manner.
• Cypress strives to have each piece in the catalogue registered with SOCAN and ASCAP.
* Editor – Larry Nickel – has a 40 year wealth of experience as a singer, conductor, teacher, festival clinician/adjudicator and composer – all aspects of the choral world. He has a masters degree in music education and a doctorate in composition. During his last year of teaching he was working with seven choirs (see this photo of his mass choir). Dr. Nickel had over 60 compositions in print with twelve publishers (including Oxford and G. Schirmer) before being asked to assume ownership at Cypress. Larry endeavours to have a sit down lunch/discussion with each Cypress composer.
*Five curators (see here), some of the brightest choral luminaries in the Canada, are also integrally involved in the process of selecting quality music and they are crucial to the proofing procedure. In other words, a qualified team of Canadian choral experts work hard on behalf of Cypress composers.
Consider the Market
Cypress cannot guarantee that a composition will sell. We have music in the catalogue that hasn’t sold a single copy in over 20 years – even though the music is well written and presented in the same attractive way as all other pieces in the catalogue. When that happens the company loses money and the composer might be disappointed/disillusioned. On the other hand, one of our pieces has sold over 300,000 copies. In effect, pieces that sell well give us leeway to publish music that is less marketable. Cypress usually gives a future prognosis to composers during the publishing process. Big sales are certainly not the bottom line for us.
Please study the choral music pie chart below. Music which requires “music degree skilled singers” and presents “difficult to program” subject matter can be very challenging to sell. Nevertheless, Cypress is happy to take a chance on formidable music if it is written really well. We’ve seen music “take off” after years of languishing – so we are always hopeful. Serendipity – the right place at the right time with a special performance – can make a big difference to any composition. With over 330,000 choirs in North America, choir directors are discovering Cypress music every day. We are optimists and champions of Canadian composers!
Cypress Choral Music on display at the ACDA convention in Kansas City – 2019.