Composer David Evan Thomas’ New Commission

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David Evan Thomas, composer

David Evan Thomas, composer

Our musicians and audience loved the 125th anniversary song “Give Her the River” by David Evan Thomas that Thursday Musical commissioned for our Opening Concert in 2017. I decided to interview our Thursday Musical member and composer to see what he is currently working on.

We focused at first on the many, different groups over the years that have commissioned his works. That then led us into discussing the many different genres David had used in his commissions. I noted he seems comfortable composing in so many of them. Thomas says the composer that sets the standard for him is Brahms, as he is master of many different genres. This current commission focuses on the art song and the voice.

David Evan Thomas’ current challenge is to write a piece for the South Metro Chorale to celebrate their 20th Anniversary. Mark Bilyeu will be conducting this new work for the 60-voice SATB choir. Since the South Metro Chorale rehearses south of the Minnesota River, David decided to investigate and use poems for his song cycle written by Minnesota poets that focused on the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. Through research at the Minneapolis Public Library he chose several poems from a collection entitled Minnesota Verse: An Anthology, ed. Maude Schilplin, St. Cloud: Times Publishing, 1938. It was fascinating to hear his thought process in creating this new piece.

The poems he chose fit the criteria he was looking for. They are: “Spell of the River” by Leyland Huckfield (1882-1923), “I am a Weaver” by Owen Peterson, “The Tramp” by Martha Ostenson (1900-1963), “The Minnesota Near Mendota” by Elizabeth Hodgins, and “I have seen the Stars Again” by Paul Bliss. The piece is due on April 1st.

The South Metro Chorale, in a program entitled 20th Anniversary Gala, will present the world premiere of Thomas’ song cycle on June 14th. It will be in the Ives Auditorium of the Masonic Heritage Center in Bloomington. More information about this event can be found at

We champion local music and are proud of you, David Evan Thomas!

Sylvia Wilson