Choir connects with California composer

student talk to composer via tv hookup in classroomChoral and piano composer Kevin Memley rose early on Jan. 26 to share his expertise with Schoharie High School choir members, but he didn’t have to leave his home. The Fresno, Calif., resident met with the students in their music room via a Google Hangout videoconference arranged by teacher Carrie Styles.

“I reached out to Kevin Memley over the summer after I’d heard his piece, ‘She Walks in Beauty’ at another school and picked it as one of our pieces for our winter concert,” Styles said.

“In an email, I asked if he’d be willing to work with our choir after we’d prepared his piece. He enthusiastically responded that he’d be happy to, and we started making arrangements for a time and way to do it.”

On Jan. 26, Memley briefly introduced himself to the students, talked about how he got into music and participated in a short question and answer session.

“One of our students asked him how he overcame roadblocks in his composition,” Styles said. “He shared some suggestions, one of which was to go back to some of your original ideas and find ways to repeat and develop them.”

After the Q&A session, the choir sang “She Walks in Beauty,” and Memley then went over the piece with the students, giving accolades and providing suggestions.

“It was a wonderful experience, and we were so grateful for Kevin Memley’s time,” Styles said. “It’s not every day you can meet a well-known composer, let alone sing one of his pieces for him.”