OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University music student Derek Myler has been named the 2009-10 winner of the American Choral Directors Association's Raymond W. Brock Memorial Student Composition Competition.
Myler, a WSU sophomore from Roy majoring in music, is the first student from Utah to ever win the award. His winning entry, titled Psalm 100, earned him $1,000.
"This is the best launching point I could ask for my career," Myler said. "It's something I'll be able to put in my résumé the rest of my life. "
Psalm 100, which competed against entries from undergraduate and graduate students at colleges and universities throughout the United States, is a four-part choral work with a quick tempo designed for piano accompaniment. "The piece is very dance-like and celebratory at the beginning," Myler said. "Then it goes into a Baroque-style chorale in the middle, with the dance aspect returning right at the end."
Pieces submitted had to be original works that had never been performed or published previously, include sacred text as lyrics and be between three and five minutes in length. Myler said he did not write the piece specifically for the competition and that it just happened to match the entry requirements.
"I guess it was providential that it matched all the criteria," Myler said.
Although he appreciates the extra money, Myler is more excited about the potential long-term benefits for his career. Following his undergraduate work, he plans to pursue a doctorate in choral conducting, which he hopes will lead him to a career as a composer and university choir conductor. "Setting aside all of the short-term things, it's the long-term aspect that's most exciting for me," he said. "This opens a lot of doors and gets my name out there."
Psalm 100 will premiere at the ACDA's divisional conference in Tucson, Ariz., in March. Myler, however, will not be there. He will begin a two-year stint as an LDS missionary in Poland starting in January.
"It's bittersweet," he said. "It's tough that I won't be there to hear it, but I'm excited for my mission, too."
The American Choral Directors Association is a nonprofit, music-education organization founded in 1959. Since 1998, the Raymond W. Brock Memorial Student Composition Competition has recognized outstanding undergraduate and graduate student composers, while encouraging choral composition of the highest caliber.
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