requiem-flyer finalOn Sunday May 21, at 7:30 p.m., First UMC and Dr. James E. Smith, conductor, presented the premiere performance of Requiem of Remembrance, composed by First UMC Choir member Michael McClish. The concert featured soloists, chorus, orchestra, harp, organ, and percussion, and also included excerpts from The Gift of Life, by John Rutter.

Michael McClish shares the story behind how he came to write this piece: “I’ve sung with the First UMC choir for many years, primarily as a guest singer for special performances, and then weekly for the last two years. I’ve always liked to write music, starting with rock bands in high school, and then in 2009 I started writing choral and classical music.
“Around 2013 I began studying the Requiem format. The structure of a Requiem is based on the 15 settings of the traditional Roman Catholic mass, using the original Latin text. Many composers have composed Requiems–Mozart, Verdi, Faure, Durufle–over 2,000 Requiems have been composed. I thought I would try my hand at it.

“As I was in the middle of working on the piece, Jim Smith knew that I was in the writing process, and asked to hear what I had so far, so I sent him a CD. Jim said he was interested in it, and asked if the First UMC choir could produce the performance for the Spring Concert the following year! Of course I said yes, and then worked on finishing the remainder of the composition. Jim helped me with the scoring of the piece, and notating the various instrumental parts.

“I want to express what a rare opportunity this is, to be able to have a composition see production. I am very honored and excited (and a little scared) for the performance!”

Listen to select pieces from the performance:  

Track 1: Requiem Aeternam

Track 2: Kyrie

Track 3: Dies Irae

If you would like to purchase the Requiem CD, email us, or call the church office: 310.393.8258.

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