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A confluence of stories

Anyone who comes to Harpers Ferry enters another story. That’s the point of a historical park. The landscape is kept in tact with signs and monuments as witnesses to something too important to forget. 

Seven years ago this week, we…

A two-year anniversary

This coming week marks two years since releasing Heaven and Earth: Scripture Songs for the Old and New

This album was the catalyst for converting me from writer-dabbler to writer-producer. Why? Because it was made for 

1. A specific…

A new soundtrack for autumn

Last year at a house concert in Akron, Ohio, I said that I hoped Vandalia River would produce more than just piano music. 

I’m so pleased now to announce “September,” a new work for piano and cello. 

I wish I…

A new piano solo is out today!

“The Chinook Is Blowing” is possibly the best produced piano solo from Vandalia River. It's in the lyric piano tradition, wordlessly evoking a scene from nature and literature. With a percussive motive and gentle but soaring arpeggios, it paints the…

New music is coming from Vandalia River!

I have a new piano solo for you.

There is a moment in late winter when the wind brings warmth, and you know that this time the weather isn’t teasing. The trees are still skeletal, but the new grass glows…

Vandalia River is now on Pandora

Vandalia River is now on Pandora radio! This means you can choose Vandalia River or a particular Battlescapes track and create a station based on that style. The more that Pandora listeners do that type of thing, the more likely…

Wrapping up winter break

The collective wisdom of successful songwriters and producers seems to be quantity. Make stuff. You’ve got to craft stuff to craft better. I also once read an exchange that went something like this:

“I have some ideas that would make

Capturing a piece of life in the Indiana EP

I'm still testing out this analogy, but I often think that life is like a vine. Beauty - the delight and interpretation we derive from life - is the wine, extracted from the vine in a process of violence and…

A photographic tour of the land of Battlescapes

I thought it was a dumb idea to put cameras on phones. In my defense, the first phone cameras were bad. Not in my defense, I had no imagination. "The farsighted see better things," and so many of our best…

Confluences

Once upon a time, not so long ago, free spirits could walk to the edge of the cotton factory ruins on the Shenandoah River. These are square-cornered stone walls two or three feet wide with a drop of, oh, ten…

The most expensive piece

The biggest disappointment from my first trip to the studio was that one of my pieces wasn't ready. It was, technically and compositionally, the most difficult piece. I wondered if I would have to hack it to bits before coming…

Seedheads (and news!)

At the end of the summer the grasses unsheathe their seedheads, spraying the field with a million points of light. It's as if they are finally acknowledging the sun's work all season long by reflecting its brilliance. 

I guess an…

Letting Art Adorn

Parallel principles exist between disciplines. What is true for, say, writing is often true for music. I recently subscribed to the Habit Weekly, a writing advice resource by Jonathan Rogers. This week he brought his readers to an observation of…

Digging for Heaven

It seems like the people who have the most heavenly stories are the one who've dug deepest into the earth. 

Corrie ten Boom lived a war, provided a hiding place, survived a concentration camp, and forgave. 

Gladys Aylward boarded a…

Singing Belongs to You - and Some News

This summer a little dream came true. 

A handful of acquaintances got together in someone's house and learned an a cappella song together. We were college girls, working mothers, empty nesters, and due this fall (well, one of us). Some…

"Lower Town" Goes Public 

"Lower Town" is now out where you can get it!

"Lower Town" is an instrumental piano piece named for the most visited part of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park: a cluster of old buildings, ruins, shops, and residences hugged by…

Battlescapes

The weather was good, we had the time, and my dad liked cycling, so in 2003 we took an excursion from our lodging place in northern Virginia to "thehistoricaltownofHarpersFerry." Unfortunately I was usually rather passive on these excursions, but, as…

Surprise

A few weeks ago there were no plans to distribute "Pensée No. 1." 

Surprise! 

Plans have changed. 

It's now on Apple Music, Amazon, YouTube, Spotify, and a number of other platforms. This means you can now follow Vandalia River on…

Becoming Vandalia River

The Vandalia Room began as an umbrella for a number of pursuits: original music, audiobooks, and a blog. "Vandalia" refers both to home - it was once a contender as the official name of West Virginia - and the woman…

Bootstrapping Pensée No. 1 

Here's a new little piece written in part to test using three microphones on the idiosyncratic grand piano.

Two problems have haunted previous piano captures: Piano sounds too brittle and distant Too much room noise A warm, close piano sound…

Casting Bread

I once sat in vendor meetings as my employer evaluated proposals for a new website. One vendor had flown four or five staff members across the country to pitch their brands. They delivered a confident, eloquent, and polished presentation and…