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  • Writer's picturePeter Dayton

10.8.21 At Last! An Update!


  • Vocal Album Project

  • 10/16/21 Katie Procell Sings through Sparrow Live

  • Life Events


Dear Friends,

Apart from some sporadic posting, I apologize for my long absences (though I am not laboring under the delusion that my blog posts are truly sought-after) this summer. There has been so much going on that I haven’t been able to keep up with conveying everything that’s been going on. At last, after some rumbling, I’m happy to share some of the fruits of all of these labors in this mega-post. It’s something of a summer recap as we enter the fall, as well as pointing to some of the opportunities coming up to engage with my music.

Vocal Album Project

Sarah Jane Thomas and Katie Procell perform "The Botticellian Trees"

Two albums, four 17-hour recording sessions, more than 50 rehearsals, 25 performers, this summer I oversaw and undertook a massive project that recorded, in collaboration with these amazing artists and the recording artists at Arts Laureate, the entirety of my vocal music that I’ve written up to this point, from 2015 to 2021! I am SO excited to share this music with you in the future of late-spring/early-summer 2022 and 2023! The first album “Stories Out of Cherry Stems” is a spotlight and platform for the amazing, dynamic Katie Procell! Including several world premieres, the album is mostly my ambitious duos for soprano and another solo instrument, as well as my Persephone song cycle “Lost Daughter,” for soprano, viola, flute, and harp! This album, featuring the incredible talents of Kyle Blake Jones (Saxophone), Eric D’Alessandro (Viola), Lavena Johanson (Cello), Erin Baker (Harp), Amanda Dame (Flute), Andrea Copland (Oboe), Garrett Hale (Oboe/English Horn), Brian Tracey (Clarinet), Jennifer Hughson (Clarinet/Bass Clarinet), Sarah Jane Thomas (Violin) and, of course, Katie herself, will be released around early summer 2022!

Katie Procell

Katie Procell, Amanda Dame, Erin Baker, and Eric D'Alessandro perform "Lost Daughter"

The second album, “The Need of Comrades,” focuses on my work for other voice-types, but also includes a few other pieces for soprano that Katie sings and some new pieces for soprano performed by Arianna Arnold. While the amazing performances on that album will not be available until its release in late Spring 2023, I can’t wait to share the hard work, dedication, and musicality that the entire crew of performers put into it!

Stephanie Ray, Amanda Dame, and Ross Tamaccio perform "Passing Stranger"

Stay tuned for its release to hear the astounding musical gifts of Arianna Arnold (Soprano), Aaron Thacker (Piano/Celesta), Valerie Hsu (Piano), Henry Hubbard (Tenor), Andrew Weed (Guitar), Stephanie Ray (Flute), Ross Tamaccio (Baritone), Vince Sandroni (Tenor), Ben Hawker (Tenor), Jason Buckwalter (Baritone), John TK Scherch (Bass), Shona Goldberg-Leopold (Horn), Bryce McClendon (Countertenor), and of course, Katie Procell (Soprano).

In this sonic compendium of my vocal music is an enormous range of poetry by some internationally renowned poets as well as work by excellent but perhaps less famous poets. Mostly coming from the 20th century and our present day, you’ll hear my interpretations of poems by William Carlos Williams, W.B. Yeats, Gertrude Stein, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Sappho (by way of Jordi Alonso), Rita Dove, Oscar Wilde, Alfred Lord Tennyson (by way of me!), Pablo Neruda, Max Ehrmann, Walt Whitman, John Hollander, Robert Burns, Vicki Hearne, Wendell Berry, Paul Blackburn, William Bronk, Virginia Woolf (by way of me!), and Louise Glück.

A *selection* of the music that I've marked up for editing

And, to add to the multi-disciplinary quality of this experience, throughout the rehearsal (and even some of the recording) process Doug was creating amazing drawings and paintings of the performers (scattered throughout this post). Occasionally I happened to be in the line of fire as well, but the real feature is musicians, actively making their art with their voices and instruments being captured in India Ink and watercolor. The images included here are only a fraction of the total images, which will be available on a new page about the albums I will be publishing when they’re released.

Valerie Hsu and Arianna Arnold perform "If They Delight" (I'm also in the picture too!)

10/16/21 Katie Procell Sings through Sparrow Live

As if this post didn’t contain enough about the remarkable Katie Procell! She will be singing some of music that will be on the vocal album released in mid-2023: my settings of William Carlos Williams and Gertrude Stein poetry for voice and piano, along with a wealth of other pieces by living composers such as Garth Baxter and more historic composers of song. She will be performing (and my music is up first!) on October 16, 2021 at 7pm EDT! Use this link to get tickets!

Life Events

Interwoven to the rehearsals, recording sessions, and many activities of the summer were numerous family events that had been canceled, postponed, or reimagined because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Truly interwoven, like a countermelody running above and then sometimes below the melody of this main recording project: a combined wedding/baby shower for my sisters, a memorial service for my grandmother who passed last summer, my little sister’s wedding (for which I composed the recessional!), and my older sister giving birth to my first ever nephew! An enormous series of life events that have made this one of the most memorable summers of my adult life!

Combined Dayton, Swenson, and Celentino families for the multi-shower!

Chris & Holly!

Joe, Lauren, and little Dayton "Tony" Celentino!


With a truly wild summer of personal and musical experiences, it’s taken a lot of effort just to find the time to do this truly necessary update! I can’t wait to share even more of the actual music in the near(ish) future. In the meantime, continue to stay safe!



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