Ēriks Ešenvalds song cycle “Sunset in My Hand” World Premiere Concert (May 2017)

June 2018: At the time of this concert, May, 2017, I was asked not to post it, since it was still before the big “World Premiere” at Carnegie Hall, NYC. Now it’s a year later, so I think I’m OK posting this…

To celebrate their mutual 25th anniversaries, Ensemble Monterey Chamber Orchestra, and Cantiamo! Cabrillo Chorus, commissioned a new piece by renowned Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds. “Sunset in My Hand” is a song cycle of 6 pieces, each inspired by the landscapes and beauty of California, and drawing on the poetry of various writers.

With apologies for some poor video quality, here are the six pieces, performed Sunday April 30, 2017, at Peace United Church of Christ, Santa Cruz, CA. This was the second of three scheduled premiere concerts; the first was the night before in Carmel, California, and the third is June 26, 2017, at Carnegie Hall, NYC. Wow, my son Kevin is going to sing at Carnegie Hall! (How did he get there: practice, practice, practice!)

1. The Storm

The Storm is based on…

2. Ode to the Smell of Firewood

Ode to the Smell of Firewood is based on…

3. Prayer at Winter Solstice

Prayer at Winter Solstice is based on…

4. The Redwoods

The Redwoods is based on…

5. Evening Ebb

Evening Ebb is based on…

6. I Hold the Sunset in My Hand

I Hold the Sunset in My Hand is based on…

And here are (L-R) Kevin, Cabrillo Choral Director Cheryl Anderson, Latvian composer ĒriksEšenvalds, and Ensemble Monterey Director-Conductor John Anderson.

Fall 2016 Chorale Concert

Kevin performed in the Fall Chorale Concert at Cabrillo College; he’s top right on the risers, lookin’ good, sounding good!

(Mozart wrote this at age 12, Choral Direct Cheryl Anderson told us. Does that means words and music, I wonder?)

(Apologies: this recording was interrupted by my phone ringing, and continues in next video below. Darn — forgot to go into airplane mode!)

Kevin Sings Opera

And tonight, just 1 week after the Spring Chorale concert, Kevin’s Lyric Diction class recital was tonight, and Kevin sand two solo pieces — in Italian!

  • “Togliete mi la vita ancor,” from Il Pompeo by Alessandro Scarlatti
  • “Chi’o mai vi possa,” from Siroe by Georg Friedrich Handel

Cabrillo Chorale Spring Concert

Another great evening of vocal music, with Kevin among the Choral group. Here are the 16 pieces they performed:

(List of all singers at bottom of page)

“Father William”
Music by Irving Fine, lyrics by Lewis Carroll
Three Madrigals
Music by Emma Lou Diemer, lyrics by William Shakespeare
The Coolin
Music by Samuel Barber,lyrics by James Stephens
Homeward Bound
Men’s Chorus of Cabrillo Chorale
By Carl Strommen
Brothers, Sing On!
Music by Edvard Grieg, lyrics by Herbert Dalmas
Alto Rhapsody
By Johaness Brahms
Men’s Chorus with soloist Dana Simms
Joshua Fit the Battle
Women’s Chorus
By Jill Gallina
Wayfaring Stranger
Arranged by Larry Schackley

Shine on Me
Arranged by Rollo A. Dilworth

Fields of Gold
By G. M. Sumner, arranged by Roger Emerson

When You Believe
By Stephen Swartz, arranged by Audrey Snyder

Der Hirt auf dem Felsen
By Franz Schubert
Soloist: Jennette Moretti, Clarinet: Saki Hidaka, Piano: Maryna Thomas

By George Fenton
Il Dolce Suono (IDS, the student-led choral group)

Sparrows Jig
By Bruce Sled
Il Dolce Suono (IDS, the student-led choral group)

By Christina Perri and Martin Johnson
Il Dolce Suono (IDS, the student-led choral group)

Der Herr denket an uns
Music by Johann Sebastian Bach, libretto from Psalm 115
Violins: Eri Ishgaki, Shannon Delaney, Rachel Mangus-Hartman
Viola: John Wineglass
Cello: Kristin Garbef
Piano: Elizabeth Bunch
Timpani Drums: NAME

Cabrillo College Chorale, Spring 2016:

Sharon Bailey
Kerri Hughes
Dakota Hult
Michelle Miracle
Jeannette Moretti
Dana Simms
Terry Waters
Jasmine Montgomery

Caitlin Buse
Thyra Butler
Julia Dennis
Diane Marvin
Naomi McNeill
Caitlyn Turley
Alyssa Watson
Ellen Reay

Milton Abbott
Landon Norton
Ulises Patino
Graham Swann

Kevin Altenberg
Jeremiah Bokulich
Paul Bokulich
Jason Erece
Christopher Monroe
Joshua Porter
Bob Bailey
Cristian Rincon


Il Dolce Suono

Another lovely choral concert last night, this time the student-led Il Dolce Suono (the sweet sound), tonight at Cabrillo’s Samper Recital Hall. Here are 4 songs from the 14 they sang:

(Silly me, I totally forgot about videoing before hand, and forgot to charge my phone; thus only four songs. I’ll post more if I hear from another fellow who was there recording.)


New compost bins…

Twenty five years ago, within the first year we lived here on Clay St., I built a 3-bin compost bin set-up, but I took a short cut and just made it with 2×2 lumber and no concrete, rather than something more durable. They lasted all these years pretty well, actually, but it’s high time we rebuilt them, so at last I am.

Here are a few pics of the process (and I’ll add more as the project progresses): 2-digging-out-old-compostsite-clearing1)  Here I’ve removed the old rickety rotten frame, which was 2×2 wood and wire fencing sides. Now I need to remove all the old compost, to clear the site.


2)  I learned about sifting soil & compost at the UCSC Farm & Garden project. I built this soil sifter a couple decades ago, I believe; amazing how well it’s held up. It’s a lot of work to shovel the dirt onto the sifter, then shake it and rub it through the sifter into the wheelbarrow, but it makes for wonderful soil/compost to add to your garden beds. (See a plan of how I built it. The picture below, with Kevin, shows a portion of the soil sifter, and you can see the hardware cloth, the 2×2 wire fencing, and the 1×2 wood around the frame.)4-making-progress3)  After several hours of shoveling and sifting compost and soil, the site is nearly cleared and ready. Temporary compost pile in foreground, waiting for new bins.


4)  With Kevin’s help, the site is now cleared and ready.6-new-bins-plan5) Here are the markings for the (6) 4×4 PT posts that will frame the 2 new compost bins. Each bin will be 4′ x 4′ x 4′, which is the recommended minimum dimensions; less than that and the compost won’t “cook” enough (i.e. bacteria and other decomposers won’t be as efficient).


power-auger-bitThe power auger bit.

6) I rented a 1-person power auger, which made quick work of the (6) 2′ deep holes.

posts-in7) Posts in. They’re 4x4x6′ PT (pressure treated) posts, sunk 2′ in to stand 4′ tall. The power auger made a small enough hole that a 60# bag of concrete filled 2 holes, so only 3 bags for all 6 posts.

fencing-on-posts8) Fencing stapled to posts. I added an extra layer of fencing this time: 1/2″ hardware cloth, which will reduce compost and debris falling out, and it lasts a long time since it’s galvanized. I stapled the hardware cloth to the posts using a staple gun and 1/2″ staples, then attached the heavy duty 2x3x48″ wire fencing using big galvi staples that you hammer in. I reused the old 2×3 fencing, which is showing its age but will do fine; great to keep the old material going.

You can also see the 2x10x4′ PT boards I screwed onto the front posts; they create the “lips” that hold in place the 1×10 (or whatever) boards that I place in the front, building up the front wall as the pile grows taller. Here are some fencing details, a few of which also show the 2×10 boards in the front:

fencing-detail5 fencing-detail4 fencing-detail3 fencing-detail2 fencing-detail19) Now to start filling the new bins with a fresh compost pile:

sticks-on-bottomFirst step is a layer of sticks on the bottom, which helps aerate the pile a bit.

greenwaste-then-dirtOn top of the sticks, a layer of greenwaste, and on top of that, some dirt.

dirt=inoculationThe dirt helps to “inoculate” the compost pile with soil bacteria.

Music for the Feast of Christmas

Once again, Kevin was among the chorus members of a great show, this time “Music for the Feast of Christmas,” one of the most popular annual shows, presented by the Cabrillo Symphonic Chorus, under the direction of Cheryl Anderson.

And once again, my videos are of mediocre quality, but they’re something… The chorus surrounded the audience for the first couple of pieces, and we happened to be sitting right where Kevin was standing, so the first video is focused right on him. For the whole chorus shots, Kevin is near the top row on the left (stage right).

Hanachpachap Cussicuinin, Paco Marmol & Manolo Casaus; and My Song in the Night, Paul Christiansen (1914–1997)

Nun danket alle Gott, Johann Pachelbel (1653–1706), text by Martin Rinkart (1586–1649)

Virga Jesse Floruit, Anton Bruckner (1824–1896)

Watchman, Tell Us of the Night, Alan Hovhaness (1911–2000), text by John Bowring (1792–1872)

Psalm 150, Heinrich Schütz (1585–1672)

Blow Ye the Trumpet, Kirke Mechem (b. 1925)

Ave Maria, Jacob Arcadelt (1507–1568)

Bound for Jubilee, Joyce Elaine Eilers (1941–2009)

A Pescar Camaron, Paul Caldwell & Sean Ivory

Guantanamera, José Fernandez, arr. Gene Glickman, text by José Martí (1853–1895)

Son Mercedes, Leo Brouer (b. 1939)

Juramento, Miguel Matamoros (1894–1971), arr Electo Silva (b. 1928)

El Guayaboso, Guido López-Gavilán (b. 1944), text by Guaguancó

Cabrillo Chorale Winter Concert

Our son Kevin performed tonight with the rest of the Cabrillo Chorale, in their winter concert.

In the pieces with the entire Chorale (1-5, 10-13), he’s second from right, top row. In the pieces with only the men (7-9), he’s front right.

The last tune, “Cantique de Jean Racine” by French composer Gabriel Fauré, was performed as a tribute to the people of France and the victims of terrorism everywhere, in remembrance of the terrorist attacks in Paris just 1 week ago.