Graceland University Choirs to Perform World Premier of Composer in Residence Composition

Michael John Trotta

Acclaimed composer Michael John Trotta has a wide-ranging catalog of choral music performed in concert and broadcast internationally.

The Graceland vocal department will feature the world premiere of a commissioned song, “You Guided Me,” by composer Michael John Trotta. The work sets to music the words of poet Rabindranath Tagore. The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 22, in the Shaw Family Auditorium in Shaw Center on the Graceland University Lamoni campus.

The concert, “The World of Our Dreams,” will include selections by the concert choir, chamber singers and several instrumentalists. The audience will join with the Graceland musicians in singing “For Everyone Born,” a popular hymn emphasizing inclusiveness from the new Community of Christ hymnal.

Trotta will be on campus as a Composer in Residence to hear the premier and to present two free lectures open to the campus and the community. On Thursday, April 21, at 7 p.m., he will discuss "From Inspiration to Publication: The Anatomy of Creativity" in Carol Hall in Shaw Center.

On Friday, Trotta will provide a pre-concert lecture, also in Carol Hall, on "Music and Meaning." This lecture will begin at 6 p.m., with a reception to follow in the Shaw Lobby. After the concert, Trotta will be available for pictures, CD signing and general discussions.

Michael John Trotta became acquainted with Graceland University through his friendship with Graceland’s choir conductor, Sara Blessing. Trotta was a friend and colleague when Blessing was pursuing her master’s degree at Oklahoma State University. Blessing intends to feature “You Guided Me” as the official choir song. For her, it recognizes “the relationships, memories and experiences created during the students’ time singing in the choir, and the bonds forged through the power of music.”

Funding for the commission was provided by the generous support of Graceland alumni Gearl and Betty Koonce, Earl and Ardyce Koonce, and Thad and Cindy Koonce, who share a lifelong love for Graceland. 

It is a very full week for music. Graceland’s Scholars Showcase required the regular “First Thursday Recital” to be rescheduled for this Thursday, April 21, at 11:30 a.m. The Jazz Band will move the show outside to the Shaw Center Amphitheatre for a Jazz on the Green performance at 12:30 p.m. (Rain location will be Shaw Family Auditorium.)