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).

Fabulous mezzo-soprano and dear friend, Judy Marlett
Danny and me rehearsing “Family Portrait” with Vallivue High School Choir (Ron Curtis, director)
Danny and me rehearsing “Family Portrait” with Vallivue High School Choir (Ron Curtis, director)
Premiere of “A Family Portrait”
Danny, Judy, and me — following the premiere of the completed “Family Portrait”
Danny and Judy premiere the duet from “A Family Portrait”
Rehearsing “Family Portrait” with Vallivue High School Choir (Ron Curtis, director)
Danny singing solos derived from letters by civil war soldier, Tyler Houghtaling — “A Family Portrait”
Daniel Belcher, sings “A Family Portrait”
Judy Marlett sings words from a letter written by her great-grandmother in “A Family Portrait”
Danny signing some autographs
Premiering “A Family Portrait” in Idaho
Judy Marlett, mezzo-soprano and me, flanking her mom — whose ancestors wrote the letters from which “A Family Portrait” was born
Danny and me rehearsing “Family Portrait” with Vallivue High School Choir (Ron Curtis, director)
Premiere of the completed “Family Portrait” — this was the duet movement with Judy and Danny as the betrothed Percy and Esther.
Premiere of “A Family Portrait,” Nampa, Idaho featuring Judy Marlett and Daniel Belcher.
Me w/amazing mezzo-soprano, Judy Sadler Marlett