This is by far the most significant of my compositions.  It is a 50-minute oratorio for chorus and orchestra, with mezzo-soprano and baritone solos.  It was commissioned by my friend and colleague Judy Sadler Marlett and includes settings of 8 letters authored by her ancestors: Tyler, Lanie, and Percy Houghtaling.  Percy was Judy’s grand-father, Lanie was his mother, and Tyler (a member of the New York 94th Regiment, Company C during the Civil War) was Judy’s great-great grand-father.  The outer movements are bookend settings of an except from Walt Whitman’s “To Think of Time.” Solos were specifically composed for Judy (an extraordinary mezzo-soprano) and Daniel Belcher (Grammy-winning baritone).  While some movements were premiered by the Manchester Symphony Orchestra, the complete work was premiered at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho (where Judy is Professor of Music). Below are photos of the letter authors, plus pics from the Idaho rehearsals and performance.

Tyler in uniform
Tyler Houghtaling New York 94th Regiment, Company C, Union Army, Civil War. Author of three letter settings in “A Family Portrait”
percy and esther wedding photo
Wedding photo of Percy and Esther Houghtaling, grandparents of Judy Sadler Marlett. Percy’s love letter to Esther is the only duet setting in “A Family Portrait.”
lanie edwin percy and paul
Lanie & Edwin Houghtaling with their sons Percy and Paul. Lanie authored 3 of the letters set in “A Family Portrait,” and Percy authored 2 (one as a child, and one as an adult).
lanie memorial card 1
Memorial card for Lanie Houghtaling, author of 3 letter settings in “A Family Portrait.” One of the settings is a letter written on her deathbed, addressed to her sister, Etta.
Page 1 of Lanie’s final letter to her sister, Etta.
Page 2 of Lanie’s final letter to her sister, Etta.

Dress rehearsal footage of Judy Marlett singing the words from her great-grandmother’s final letter (shown above).

1476197_607408787370_2112867472_n
Fabulous mezzo-soprano and dear friend, Judy Marlett
1479472_607413043840_487653395_n
Danny and me rehearsing “Family Portrait” with Vallivue High School Choir (Ron Curtis, director)
1472908_607407804340_53521474_n
Danny and me rehearsing “Family Portrait” with Vallivue High School Choir (Ron Curtis, director)
1472031_607413268390_478254842_n
Premiere of “A Family Portrait”
1467466_607414475970_713926172_n
Danny, Judy, and me — following the premiere of the completed “Family Portrait”
1451977_607410778380_884275559_n
Danny and Judy premiere the duet from “A Family Portrait”
1452154_607408423100_294702699_n
Rehearsing “Family Portrait” with Vallivue High School Choir (Ron Curtis, director)
1452203_607411486960_2113706322_n
Danny singing solos derived from letters by civil war soldier, Tyler Houghtaling — “A Family Portrait”
1455091_607411067800_1441637250_n
Daniel Belcher, sings “A Family Portrait”
1455157_607410698540_1640323862_n
Judy Marlett sings words from a letter written by her great-grandmother in “A Family Portrait”
1456683_607414665590_1265425827_n
Danny signing some autographs
1457649_607412679570_339124145_n
Premiering “A Family Portrait” in Idaho
1450977_607407739470_554899065_n
Judy Marlett, mezzo-soprano and me, flanking her mom — whose ancestors wrote the letters from which “A Family Portrait” was born
1012774_607410688560_201710586_n
Danny and me rehearsing “Family Portrait” with Vallivue High School Choir (Ron Curtis, director)
999469_607408118710_1256456659_n
Premiere of the completed “Family Portrait” — this was the duet movement with Judy and Danny as the betrothed Percy and Esther.
7703_607408308330_907975992_n
Premiere of “A Family Portrait,” Nampa, Idaho featuring Judy Marlett and Daniel Belcher.
45960_607441382050_2116396264_n
Me w/amazing mezzo-soprano, Judy Sadler Marlett

1456751_607228139390_2046757878_n