July 1, 2021
Dear composer,


I hope you are healthy, happy and optimistic about the future.  Choirs will soon begin to meet again! Cypress is planning a big campaign in August – the month before the resurgence. Would you like to join us in some small way?

There’s a verse which says “How will they know unless they hear and how will they hear unless someone tells them?” The “sower and the seed” parable also applies appropriately to this letter. We pray that some of our effort will fall on rich soil and not get squeezed out by malicious weeds.
Sadly, there are piles of choral sheet music languishing in obscurity around the world; in boxes, on shelves, in dusty filing cabinets, listed in catalogues that nobody reads and being used for coffee filters. Choirs which might really love some that music know absolutely nothing about it.
The Cypress staff, together with the team of eight curators, do our best to stoke the star-maker machinery – but the task is great, competition is stiff, and we need your help. The most successful composers on the Cypress roster are very adept with social media and are confidently pro-active at presenting and recommending their music to choirs. Many successful composers have their own websites and lists of contacts. What do you think of a composer who wishes to remain humbly under the radar? or the composer who waits by the phone for a commission – growing cobwebs. Your choral creations are something to proclaim and celebrate.
Here’s a little success story for your inspiration.  First Nations composer, Andrew Balfour, wrote “Vision Chant”, which was recorded by the superb Canadian Chamber Choir. We made a video of the music with images by another First Nations artist (with permission, of course) and posted it on Youtube.  Dr. Joel Tranquilla included “Vision Chant” in his Repertoire Wednesdays series – which included an interview with Andrew. (see here) We posted the composition, with video link, to ChoralNet (the ACDA blog). I was shocked to see the viewer count shoot up by the thousands in a few hours. We learned later that the video had been reposted on the CNN newsfeed.  How it got there? – we have no idea. Click on the cover image to view “Vision Chant”.
Serendipity, being in the right place at the right time, only goes so far. We need to create more opportunities for your music to be discovered.  (more deliberate promotion with less left to chance). You can help and here are a few suggestions with examples:
1) Build your own website or have someone build it for you – it’s easier than you might think. (for example)  (for example)  (for example)
2) Make a music video and post it to Youtube. a) you need a quality recording for starters  b) collect images to match the text – google has thousands of free images c) Sibelius and Finale can export a scrolling video of the score – which you can combine with images  d) overlay the text so your viewers don’t miss a word.   Mac computers have iMovie – an application that makes it fun.  (for example),   (for example),  (for example)
3) Facebook: The are many group pages where one can post new music and information: Go to Facebook and search for these groups.  a) “Choirs Unite”  b) “Choral Music”  c) “Choralosophers”  d) “Choral Lovers”  e) “Canadian Contemporary Composer Community”  f) “Children’s Choir Conductor’s Forum”  g) “Choral Conductors of BC”  h) “Community Choir Leaders”  i) “I’m a Choir Director”  j) “This is My Choir”  k) “ACDA Diversity Initiatives”  l) “Choir Directors”  m) “Kodály Society of Canada”  n) “International Federation of Choral Music”  o) “Women’s Choirs”  p) “Community Choir Leaders”  q) “Choral Repertoire Hub”  r) “Choral Clarity”  – and there our many more!
4) Learn to post your music to ChoralNet “announcements”.  Thousands of singers and directors visit ChoralNet every day.
5) Send an email to directors you know; “Do you know about my publication? Please click here and take a look.”
6) Be sure you and your music are registered at SOCAN.  (read here for information)
7) Other suggestions? – please share. We will add to this list.
Here’s a short 9 minute video about Dr. Nickel’s covid life these days – if you haven’t seen it already and if you have the inclination to watch.
You’ve read “What Can Cypress Do for a Canadian Composer?” Have you read “Considering the Market for Choral Music”? One more page of interest; “What is Cypress Looking For?”
warm regards,
 Dr. Larry Nickel; CEO, editor
CYPRESS CHORAL MUSIC, 1702- 1408 Strathmore Mews, Vancouver, B.C., V6Z 3A9A9
We’ve created a THEMATIC INDEX to assist directors with programming.
Can you think of a theme we are missing?
The Canadian Chamber Choir Series: music for accomplished choirs – curator Dr. Julia Davids

The Elektra Women’s Choir Series: music for accomplished treble choirs – curator Morna Edmundson

La série enchantée: new visions in French-Canadian choral music – curator Dr. Laurier Fagnan
The Vancouver Youth Choir Series: music for teens and young adults – curator Carrie Tennant
The Zimfira Collection: choral gems for children’s choir – curator Zimfira Poloz
The Diane Loomer Choral Series: Canadian Folksong Favourites – curator Diane Loomer
PROFONDO: the Mark Sirett Series: quality music for low voices – curator Dr. Mark Sirett
Songs for the Sanctuary: music for church choirs – curator Dr. Joy Berg
The West Coast Mennonite Collection: from the stellar recordings
The Kelman Hall Collection120 titles of superb choral compositions