They Said It Couldn’t Be Done

Duane Philgreen Composes Two Original Songs


Choir director Duane Philgreen recently checked off another item from his bucket list.

Shortly after Solo and Small Ensemble, he composed two original songs for the annual Large Group Festival on May 4.

This was the first opportunity for Philgreen to write not one, but two, original songs for Concert Choir and Mixed Choir. The eight-part Concert Choir piece is based off a poem by Walt Whitman titled, “Music Always Round Me.” The Mixed Choir piece is a four-part rendition of the poem, “It Couldn’t Be Done,” written by Edgar Guest.

Junior Olivia Neuzil enjoys the challenge of the Concert Choir piece, “Music Always Round Me.”

“I think the material is extremely difficult for the soprano twos,” Neuzil said. “Despite the dissonance between the parts, I think that the music sounds awesome.”

To create the music, Philgreen found poems with common day themes and used the words to create his lyrics.

“It’s been on my bucket list forever,” Philgreen said. “I finally got the chance to write my own music.”

The Walt Whitman poem is about being completely surrounded by music and how each part is unique to the performers. The Edgar Guest piece explains the power of having a “Can-Do” attitude about life and believing in oneself when no one else does.

Philgreen understood that the music would be challenging, but he never doubted his students.

“It’s been a lot of fun to collaborate with the students about the music so everything runs smoothly,” Philgreen said.

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