Recently I have been reflecting upon what has inspired me to write many of my compositions over the past year or so. My new surroundings have been a constant source of inspiration and an inexhaustible resource that I can draw upon for serenity and contentment. So, I thought it would be interesting to put together a short list of 6 of my compositions that have been directly inspired by my time on Cape Cod, MA. Explore these and share your thoughts.
1. Cape Cod ShantyCenturies-old sea shanties made the drudgery and monotony of a sailor’s work more tolerable. Sung on the decks of merchant, fishing, or whaling ships, these often colorful songs have become an important part of our folk music history. Cape Cod Shanty is a full orchestra arrangement of “Cape Cod Girls”, a call-and-response song with some interesting lyrics.
2. North To Race PointPresident John F. Kennedy signed a bill on August 7, 1961 establishing the Cape Cod National Seashore. The National Park Service describes it as "pristine sandy beach, marshes, ponds, and uplands supporting diverse species, lighthouses, cultural landscapes, and wild cranberry bogs along 40 miles of the eastern coast of Cape Cod." Henry David Thoreau described his walk up the eastern coast in his book "Cape Cod." Standing on the beach surrounded by towering sand dunes, he stated, "A man may stand there and put all America behind him." North To Race Point is inspired by an exploration of this stretch of the beautiful North Atlantic coastline.
3. Sunset On Cape Cod Bay
There is a feeling of calm and humility that consumes you as you watch the sun set or rise over the ocean. On the north coast of Cape Cod lies Cape Cod Bay. The relative calm of the water reflects all the colors of the sun and sky as the sun slowly sets. At low tide the tidal flats show off their rippled sand with channels of sunlit water. The vivid colors change as the sun nears the horizon. The darkening blue sky is a backdrop for the pink, orange, yellow, and red that make any clouds glow with warmth. Silhouettes of passing seagulls dot the scene like a painting. Crowds gather in the summer as a day at the beach ends, and hearty locals enjoy the beauty on display on a chilly winter evening. Sunset On Cape Cod Bay attempts to set this tranquil scene to music.
4. Nantucket Sound
In the Atlantic Ocean, on the southern most side of Massachusetts, lies the Nantucket Sound. Enclosed by Cape Cod, and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, it is renowned for its natural beauty and abundant, diverse, and unique wildlife. A source of livelihood for fishermen, and a source of solace, relaxation, and recreation, it plays an important role to the regional economy of southern Massachusetts.
5. Red Right Return
Written for the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School Concert Band and it’s director Alex Pendleton, Red Right Return is a celebration of a return to “normal” after a long and challenging year of isolation and anxiety. Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School is located in the middle of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Surrounded by the ocean, this charming peninsula is home to much nautical history and quintessential sea life. Many boaters utilize the mnemonic phrase “red, right, return” as a way to keep marking buoys on the correct side of the boat when returning safely to port from the open sea. As we all returned from a year full of rocky seas, no one was more happy than performing musicians and appreciative audiences. Celebration was in order.
6. White Clouds On A Blue Sky
There is nothing like the beauty of a clear blue sky on a spring or summer day. Lying on a blanket as you look up, whether in soft grass or on a sandy beach, it’s a time to take a deep breath and appreciate how small you are in comparison to all above you. However, far more interesting and peaceful, one might say, is a parade of fluffy white clouds that float by as you direct your gaze. Clouds at a higher altitude barely seem to move at all, while clouds nearer to the ground sail past more quickly — all the time changing their relationship to one another as they move. It’s hard not to imagine characters and shapes in the formations. A bear? A dog? A boat? The imagination is sparked... there are White Clouds On a Blue Sky.