The Lorette Community Children’s Choir, under the direction of Arlene Schulz, recently premiered my composition Christmas Joy. They did a wonderful job! Nothing like children singing at Christmas to get you in the spirit.
On this project I collaborated with local Lorette poet Kellie Winzinowich. The text was taken from her poetry collection Simply Reflected.
Want to know how the pieces sound? Watch my performances of the whole set on YouTube.
Here is an excerpt from “Message from the Composer” found in the book:
I welcome you to my world, more specifically, my memories of a world from twenty-five years ago—brought to life through piano solos, incredibly short stories, and my sister’s illustrations.
A few general considerations:
-The incredibly short stories are inspired by the way a child might write a journal entry in school or convey an anecdote to a passing neighbour. They express my memories of childhood as candidly as possible. Falcon Lake is located 140 kilometres east of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Toniata is a small campground/cottage community on the north side of the lake.
-These are showpieces for the recital and festival stage; yet also focus on specific skills for the developing intermediate pianist, making them appropriate as technical studies. See my guide at the end for more information.
-I’ve held myself back from using more descriptive markings in the score, but make no mistake: these are story pieces through and through. I’m leaving it up to the performer to add a large dose of imagination.
This is the companion book to the covers album from 2017, marking the completion of the covers project. This year-long musical/writing process has been an attempt to connect with the work and spirit of artists who have influenced me in my 33 years, to absorb their essence and strengthen my own artistic voice moving forward.
Special thanks to Nathan at McNally Robinson Self-Publishing for his excellent consultation and cover design.
From the Preface to “Letters to Eleven Artists, Dead and Living” by Stephen Haiko-Pena
The eleven letters that make up this book were indeed sent to their respective recipients, or closest living relative in the case of those deceased. They are primarily stand-alone pieces but do have a general thematic flow, culminating in the letter to Dylan.
As an appendix to this work I’ve included a collection of poems, written in one ecstatic night during my first year of university: Les Champignons Mystérieuses. I acknowledge the input of my then-roommate Cosmus and our Turkish friend Ali.
Click on the name of an artist to listen to my cover on YouTube. My sister, Sarah Haiko, is featured on most tracks:
Burns from Beyond was premiered on April 29th in Ile des Chênes with Seine Singers. Watch the full performance here. You can listen to my introduction to the work here.
Thank you to Seine Singers and co. for taking on this new music with enthusiasm and commitment. I hope to have this performed again, possibly in Winnipeg with a much larger group. I am accepting offers from the universe!