Choral music, and especially great choral music, is one of my passions, and I have sung in select choirs for more than 20 years and have come across some good writers and composers in that time. I believe that perhaps the best choral music writer in the United States today is Dan Forrest, who is a music professor at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina.
Thank goodness, Dan has a blog on which he has posted some of his music, and it I admit to spending hours at a time listening to his choral pieces. I had never heard of him until Christmas Eve 2008 when I was listening to the radio. The Brigham Young Choir was singing "Carol of Joy," something with which I was not familiar, but it instantly resonated with me. It really was breathtaking both in its music and lyrics and when I heard the name "Dan Forrest," I immediately did a Google search and found his blog.
True to form, I ordered a bunch of his music and will present it to our choir director to see if he wishes to use any of it (and I hope he does, obviously). I would recommend the interested person to go to the Choral (Church) section and find the different selections. Of course, the site already automatically plays four of his newest pieces, including one of the most beautiful renditions of "Be Thou My Vision" that I ever have heard.
His "Good Night Dear Heart" is especially moving. It comes from something written by Mark Twain upon the death of his daughter. Dan wrote it in one evening following the death of an Ethiopian baby that his brother and sister-in-law were preparing to adopt. As the adopted father of two Ethiopian boys, it was especially moving to me.
Besides the four pieces you will hear when enter the site, I strongly recommend the following:
"Hymn of Hope"
"Carol of Joy"
"A Cradle Carol"
"Hymn of Mercy," and
"Never a Brighter Star."
They can be accessed through this link:
I can only hope that readers will enjoy this site as much as I have. Dan is a wonderful talent, comparable, I believe, to John Rutter, except that Dan believes what he is writing, unlike Rutter and his predecessor, Ralph Vaughn Williams, who have written great music, but whose hearts have been closed to the God of the Universe.