What’s New in 2022

As everyone knows, the pandemic has been challenging for everyone.  Most performance and new publishing has been extremely limited during this time. 

However, I have been working on several new projects.  My hope for 2022 is that I will be releasing two new piano books and recorded albums.   One will be arrangements of American Shape Note Hymns entitled “The Golden Harp” and the other will be arrangements of Christmas Carols entitled “A Peaceful Christmas.”  When release dates get close in 2022,  a special mailout will go to people who have purchased music from me before.  If you’d like to be added to that list for the mailout, you can sign up at the bottom of this page. 

About the music:

 “The Golden Harp” features piano arrangements of Shape Note Hymns.  In 19th Century America, American songbooks that used different shaped notes to aid singers and teach singing were known as shape-note hymnals.  Shape note books typically included folk hymns which were passed on orally.   Many of these tunes have a poignant and introspective lyricism.

“A Peaceful Christmas” is a collection of piano settings of quiet carols.  This music is lyric and reflective: perfect for your Christmas observance either for meditation, worship, or playing unobtrusively in the background.  

“Pipedreams” Episodes Online

I’ve recently noticed that Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media’s “Pipedreams,” a weekly program dedicated to the pipe organ, has all of their past episodes online now. 

Back in 1998, my recording, “A Sonic Spectacular” on the grand Marcussen organ (Danish builder) at Wichita State University (Kansas) was featured on the “Pipedreams” national broadcast.  In addition to several chorale preludes and miscellaneous pieces, my “Scenes of Childhood” was featured on the broadcast.  In addition to the playing of “Scenes…”, my three children, Matthew, Christopher, and Katy also served as narrators for the work. 

Listen to the broadcast here:  https://www.pipedreams.org/episode/1998/01/19/prairie-fire
“A Sonic Spectacular” features many exciting works.  In addition to his original music, John plays Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor as well as Widor’s famous Toccata in F. 

Order “A Sonic Spectacular” on the Grand Marcussen Organ at Wichita State here.

Order the sheet music “Scenes of Childhood” for Organ and Narrator here.

During the pandemic, Brian Mathias who serves as one of the organists for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, played several of my pieces on the great Tabernacle organ in Salt Lake City.  One of the pieces that was featured on their weekly broadcast several times was my setting of “Venite.”

Have You Seen These Videos?

Some highlights from my YouTube Channel

The John Leavitt Music YouTube Channel has new and expanding playlists of performances of various works. Here are a few that have caught my attention recently.

Bring Him Home from “Les Miserables”

Performed by members of the Greenville Youth Chorale and Greenville Symphony

VenitePerformed by Tabernacle Organist, Brian Mathias

Festival SanctusPerformed by the UCLA Choir, Rebecca Lord, Director

Songs of the Season Concert

December 2015 concert poster-page-001Join Dr. John Leavitt’s Jubilee Singers in their Christmas concert “Songs of the Season,” featuring John’s arrangements of “The Coventry Carol,” the French carol “People, Look East,” and “The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy” as well as favorites like Kirby Shaw’s “Calypso Carol” and his gospel setting of  “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” This will be a fun and inspirational concert.

The ensemble has been preparing for this performance since after their premiere concert in October.  “Songs of the Season” will use the traditional “Lessons and Carols” format which combines the Christmas narrative with Anthems and Carols.  In additional to the carols above, the ensemble will sing an ancient chant, an American Shape note hymn, and an aria from Handel’s “Messiah.”  There will even be an opportunity for participants to join the choir in a carol medley with Dr. Leavitt playing the beautiful Martin Ott Pipe Organ in the Atonement Lutheran Church Sanctuary.

The concert will be held at Atonement Lutheran Church, 9948 Metcalf Ave, Overland Park, KS on Sunday, December 13 at 3:30 pm.  Tickets are $5 and will be available at the door. Come enjoy the wonderful songs of the season with the Jubilee Singers!


 

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Trinity UMC Denver, Colorado to perform “What Child is This.”

FullSizeRenderOn October 9-10, 2015,  John was in Denver, Colorado, working with the Trinity United Methodist Church Choir and Judith Mitchell, their director.  John and the Trinity Choir have made music together several times over the years both in Denver but also in New York’s Carnegie Hall and Washington DC’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  Judith invited John to serve as clinician for Trinity’s Choir Retreat that weekend.  The Trinity Choir will be offering John’s Christmas Cantata, “What Child is This” for their special music in December.  John spent Friday evening and most of Saturday working the choir on the music.  It was fast paced and intense but great fun!  The choir rose to the challenge and sang great!  Thanks to all the members of the Trinity Choir who helped make the weekend memorable.  Special thanks to Judith, Kathy, Caroline, Harold, Jan, and Diane.

During one of the choir breaks, Judith Mitchell read the following excerpt written by a former choir president about John’s cantata.  Thanks to John Smith for his permission to reproduce it here.  That excerpt follows.

Excerpt from John Smith’s “A Note from the Pres…” from the Chancel Choir Board News dated February 2003…

The Leavitt cantata reconciles a lot of worlds.  It mixes dance styles with carols, Latin with English, scripture with poetry, medieval with modern, and all kinds of unexpected shifts of meter, dynamics, harmony, and emotion. Even the centerpiece, “What Child is This?” combines a secular tune with a sacred text, to which the composer has added a Celtic counter-melody with the mystic influence of open chords sung on pure vowels.  Nevertheless, that centerpiece provides the critical organizing principle for the whole cantata, by focusing on the simple reverence of the nativity.

All this makes the Leavitt cantata a work for our age. Our society values freedom of expression, which means that we constantly receive a bewildering variety of messages and freedom of choice, which means that each one of us must choose how to respond to all of those options. Finding an organizing principle for life in the midst of such chaos is a daunting task. Singing in the choir, and especially that last few months of writing and speaking to the choir as your president, has given me lots of opportunities to concentrate on how I organize my own life and what I organize it around. I am an amateur musician, even more so an amateur at philosophy and theology, but an amateur, defined literally from its Latin root is simply one who loves whatever he or she is doing.

JUBILEE SINGERS PREMIERE CONCERT!

October 2015 concert poster-page-001John has started a new vocal ensemble: The JUBILEE SINGERS.  This energetic and exciting new group will give their premier concert this month, Sunday, October 25, 2015, 3:30 pm at Atonement Lutheran Church 9948 Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park, KS.

The Concert is entitled, “Songs of the Spirit” and will feature both sacred and secular music.  Traditional American Music, John Leavitt’s “Festival Mass,”  and Keith Hampton’s “Praise His Holy Name” will be featured on the concert as well as Broadway show tunes and lighter fare.

The concert is free and open to the public.  Please join the new JUBILEE SINGERS for this inspirational concert!

It’s Here: Our Music Store is Open!

FullSizeRenderJohn Leavitt Music just launched our new store.  John’s albums along with selected choral and keyboard music will be available.  A new feature of the store will be making music that has gone out of print available again through reproduction licenses.

Check back frequently as new items will be added regularly.  If you would like to be informed of new products in the store, sign up for our newsletter directly to the right on this page.

If you are looking for a great Christmas gift, check out John’s beautiful orchestra album, “On Christmas Night.”  This amazing collection is available on compact disc.  It is also available as a piano book folio so that you can play these wonderful arrangements yourself.

John’s classic setting of “This Little Light of Mine” is available again for SATB choir as a licensed reproducible.

If you’re looking for a new Christmas Cantata for your choir, check out “Joy to the World.”  This sparkling cantata is filled with delightful carols and Christmas songs.  A special bundle is available for choral directors that includes a beautifully recorded compact disc with full orchestra and choir with a copy of the choral book.

Music Soundtracks

Are you looking for a music soundtrack for your special video project?

Perhaps it could be something simple such as a lovely piano track or it might be something more epic with orchestra. John Leavitt Music has many professionally recorded orchestra or solo piano tracks. The catalog would include arrangements of many folk songs, original pieces, sacred songs, as well as holiday favorites. Use the “Contact” tab to contact John to inquire about a license to use his music for your video project. Click below to see and hear a sample of John’s music on this beautiful video of the grandeur of nature.

Upcoming Choral Performance Opportunity

Leavitt Carnegie HallBe part of the encore: A Christmas Holiday Spectacular, Thanksgiving 2020 with Dr. John Leavitt, composer, conductor, arranger.

Be a part of the New York Holiday Festival Choir for this exciting event.  With successful events in 2016 & 2018 we’re doing it again next year.

Dr. Leavitt will be conducting a thrilling program of his best holiday music in New York. The venue will be in the famous Carnegie Hall.

Mixed choirs are being invited to participate in this once in a lifetime event. The Festival choir will be performing Dr. Leavitt’s newest Christmas Cantata, “A Midnight Clear.”

IMG_8622John says “The concert will have an inspirational Christmas theme, with a whole set of some encore ‘Leavitt favorites.'”

Thanksgiving time in NYC is one of the best times to visit this great city. An electronic brochure will be available to interested groups soon. The cost of the package will include air, hotel, tourism, concert development, publicity, and overall music experience. Those who have sung with John before in Carnegie Hall or The Kennedy Center knows that the rehearsal experiences are a highlight. Recently choristers who sing with the Northbrook Community Choir and just finished a Festival Choir event with John in the recent “Chicago Sings” Festival said “The rehearsals alone with John were worth the price of the Festival.”

Sean Berg with Sechrist Travel will be providing the package for participants interested in joining. Sean has produced concerts in New York, Washington DC, and Chicago for John for nearly 20 years. John says “Sean is a choral musician himself and is sensitive to making these opportunities a great experience for all of his clients.

New Music

Choir in Wichita1Check out John’s newest music in print with Hal Leonard!   New publications for 2015 are now listed under the VIRTUAL READING SESSIONS tab in the menu. There are many new publications for choir in a variety of voicings (Sacred, Secular, and Christmas) as well as string orchestra.

New for Christmas this year is John’s CAROL SING! This short medley was written for the University of Colorado’s Holiday Music Festival in 2014. This exciting medley  incorporates three carols, “Deck the Hall,” “Joy to the World,” and “Angel’s We Have Heard on High.” Dr. Greg Gentry, Director of Choral Activities at the University of Colorado told John he wanted a medley that was accessible, and quickly prepared, but with enough challenge to keep his singers interested. He also wanted a full orchestration to take advantage of CU’s fine collegiate orchestra. Dr. Gentry said the orchestration has to be in orchestra friendly keys again because of the quick prep time. Lastly, Greg told John that he wanted the medley to be able to have the audience sing along on familiar carols. The end result, a smashing success called CAROL SING! Dr. Gentry indicated that this will be their opening piece on their holiday concert for many years to come.

To discover the recording and score, CLICK HERE!