Curious about commissioning a new choral work?

A photograph of Craig Curry leaning against a brick wall.

Hi, I'm Craig Curry, and over the years I've been commissioned to compose and arrange music for choirs and groups of all shapes and sizes! Check out some examples below.

College/University Choir
Church Choir
Community Choir
Youth Choir/Ensembles
Children's Choir
Vocal Jazz Ensembles

Commissioning a new piece is a wonderful way to celebrate and honor a special person or a special occasion! But it can also be a little intimidating! 

Please look over the FAQs, then fill out the short form below to help me understand your specific needs and expectations, and we'll go from there!


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How much lead time do you need?

I prefer a minimum of three to six months before a delivery date, and longer if possible. This allows me to work creatively without feeling pressured or rushed by a looming deadline. I can work very quickly when need be, but the longer the timeframe the less stressful it is on everyone. 

Also, if you need to present the commissioned piece on a specific date we should plan a delivery date that allows your group adequate time to learn and master the piece without stressing them out.

Do you have a pricing chart?

No, I don't. There are simply too many variables for me to consider to be able to create a pricing list. Things like how soon you need delivery, the instrumentation or accompaniment (e.g., piano only vs. full orchestra), the length of the piece, whether a new text is needed, etc., will be factored into a final price quote. 

How does payment work? Do I pay upfront?

Depending on the scope of the commission, I may request half of the total payment upfront, then half upon delivery. I can accept whatever payment method you prefer: check, credit card, PayPal, Venmo, or Zelle. 

Is there some kind of contract with terms to sign? 

Yes, I will provide a contract with our agreed-upon terms regarding the specifics for the commissioned piece: length, instrumentation, style, etc. It will include a guaranteed delivery date for the commission, the number of revisions I will provide if requested, and the terms/timing for payment. It will also contain details about the copyright and other rights such as permission for printing copies and your right to exclusively premiere the work.

I provide this so both parties have a clear record of what I will create for you, when it will be delivered, and what I will do to ensure your delight with the finished product.

Tell Me about Your Project!

Past Commissions:

University Choirs:

Psalm 96
(Sing to the Lord a New Song and Praise His Name)

Type: Original composition (text adapted from Psalm 96)

Click here for the backstory...

Mary Hopper taught at Wheaton College Conservatory of Music for more than 40 years, and was one of my professors when I was a student there in the late 1980's. Dr. Hopper has been a very enthusiastic supporter of my writing for decades, and the Men's Glee Club alumni association (to which I belong) commissioned me to compose a new setting of her favorite psalm, Psalm 96, to celebrate and honor her before her retirement. 

Since Dr. Hopper conducted both the men's and women's choirs at Wheaton they asked for the piece to be for mixed voices. They also wanted "something that's not a funeral dirge," and along the lines of another of my pieces, a Men's Glee Club favorite, "No Night There," which Dr. Hopper programmed regularly over the years. 

The premiere, at the 2022 Men's Glee Club spring concert, totally surprised Dr. Hopper (not an easy feat with that many people involved!) when the Women's Chorale walked on stage at the close of the concert and joined the men. I was thrilled to be in attendance and to be able to add my "personal touch" with gratitude for a professor who has touched countless lives.

Dedication: In honor and celebration of Dr. Mary Hopper, Professor of Music and Conductor, Wheaton College Men’s Glee Club and Wheaton College Women’s Chorale, upon the occasion of her retirement from the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, Wheaton, IL

Commissioned by: Wheaton College Men's Glee Club Alumni Association

Voicing: SATB (divisi) voices with piano 

O Come, All Ye Faithful 

Type: Arrangement

Click here for the backstory...

Friends University (Wichita, KS) has a longstanding tradition of presenting annual “Christmas Candlelight” choral concerts during the holiday season. In 2011, I was a relatively new member of the faculty at the school, having started “JVE,” a jazz vocal ensemble in 2009. Dr. Mark Bartel, Director of Choral Music and director of the school’s beloved Singing Quakers, served as musical director for the Christmas concerts. He commissioned me to write an arrangement of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” for the Friends University Choral Union, the combined choirs of the university.

I worked to craft a festive, jubilant, traditional arrangement that would interest and inspire choirs and audiences alike. By adding a few musical twists such as a stanza with mixed meters and another with contrasting slow, lush, a cappella harmonies, I attempted to infuse some freshness into the familiar carol.

The final stanza includes opportunity for audience participation before a final, celebratory choral ending. Dr. Bartel programmed the arrangement for multiple years before leaving Wichita in 2019 to accept a position at Ambrose University in his native Canada.

Dedication: Commissioned for the Friends University Christmas Candlelight concerts

Commissioned by: Friends University Choral Union, Wichita, KS

Voicing: SATB (divisi) voices with organ, brass sextet, timpani, snare, and cymbals

Sanctus (from Jazz Mass) 

Type: Original composition, part of Jazz Mass, a five movement work

Click here for the backstory...

For many years I received an annual commission from Wartburg College (Waverly, IA) to arrange a jazz standard for the Wartburg College Castle Singers, a well-regarded college choir. In the summer of 2011, their director, Dr. Jane Andrews, commissioned me to compose what remains to date the largest choral work I've ever written, the five-movement Jazz Mass. 

Dr. Andrews requested the text to be set in English to make it more accessible for audiences, but to include some of the best-known Latin phrases. Each movement is composed in a different jazz style. The Sanctus, the fourth movement, is a harmonically lush jazz ballad. 

I was grateful to hear the Castle Singers perform Jazz Mass live on tour once in Kansas City. It was a delight to hear this work brought to life and sung with such passion. Afterward it was my honor to finally meet Dr. Andrews and the students in person. 

During my times as director of the Friends University Jazz Vocal Ensemble, I programmed Jazz Mass in 2014 and again in 2019 for my final concert. The Friends University Singing Quakers, whom you hear on the recording, also performed portions of the Jazz Mass in their concerts.

Dedication: for the Wartburg College Castle Singers, Waverly, IA, Dr. Jane Andrews, conductor

Commissioned by: Dr. Jane Andrews, Wartburg College

Voicing: SATB (divisi) voices with rhythm section and horns (alto sax, trumpet, and trombone)

Church Choirs:

How Great Thou Art

Type: Arrangement

Click here for the backstory...

The parents of a Wheaton College friend and classmate, Jack Boeve, had heard my compositions and arrangements during our student years at Wheaton, since Jack and I were in the Men's Glee Club together. 

Several years later they commissioned me to write a new SATB arrangement of a Men's Glee Club favorite from my era, "Jesus Is the Song," which was eventually published. 

Around that time, their Minister of Music was retiring and their choir wanted to honor him with a new arrangement of How Great Thou Art, his favorite hymn. I arranged the piece in a festive and traditional setting for SATB voices, organ, brass, and percussion. Their choir premiered the piece in a special concert on June 5, 2005, and I was delighted to be in attendance to conduct the premiere. 

Dedication: Celebrating John S. Bright's life-long ministry to the glory of God on the occasion of his retirement as Minister of Music of Christ Memorial Reformed Church, Holland, Michigan

Commissioned by: Christ Memorial Reformed Church Choir, Holland, MI

Voicing: SATB voices with organ, brass quartet, timpani, snare, and cymbals

For the Beauty of the Earth

Type: Original Composition (with traditional hymn text)

Click here for the backstory...

My first full-time position was Pastor of Worship and Music at First Baptist Church, Wichita, KS from 1990 - 2002. My immediate predecessors, Ken and Joanne Forsyth, were much loved by the church, had developed a very well-structured music program with multiple choirs and ensembles. Ken and Joanne had moved to Topeka, and a few years later I was contacted by a member of their choir at Countryside United Methodist Church, who wanted to do something special for them. 

We settled on a new tune for one of the Forsyth’s favorite hymns, “For the Beauty of the Earth.” One thing that stands out in my memory about discussing the commission was a request for the piece to open with the melody in the bass part, since 1) Ken was a bass (as was the person commissioning me) and 2) most choir anthems usually give the initial melody to the sopranos. Personally, this piece has been a favorite and was published by Beckenhorst Press. 

Dedication: Commissioned by Pat and Judy Hays in honor of Ken and Joann Forsyth and the Countryside United Methodist Chancel Choir, Topeka, KS

Commissioned by: Pat and Judy Hays, Topeka, KS

Voicing: SATB voices with piano

Community Choirs:

God of My Life! Through All My Days

Type: Original composition (text by Phillip Doddridge)

Click here for the backstory...

If there is a living legend in Wichita, Dr. Cecil Riney is it. His tenure at Friends University (Wichita, KS) bore much fruit over many decades, and perhaps none more than in his role as the director of the university’s beloved choir, the Singing Quakers, into the 1990’s. Shortly after his "retirement," a Singing Quaker Alumni Choir was formed, which he then directed for another couple decades. Upon his "second" retirement, as the director of the alumni choir in 2015, I was commissioned to compose a piece to honor Dr. Riney at their annual fall concert.

I selected a lesser-known hymn text by Philip Doddridge, “God of My Life! Through All My Days,” which I thought underscored both Dr. Riney’s longevity, his skill as a choral director, and faithfulness to God.

The first stanza reads, "God of my life, through all my days
I'll tune the grateful notes of praise; The song shall wake with opening light, And sing unto the silent night."

This joyous piece, for SATB voices, with organ, brass, timpani, chimes, and percussion was premiered by the Singing Quaker Alumni concert. It was my honor to conduct the premiere and honor this beloved icon of not only Wichita, but American choral education. 

Dedication: In honor of Dr. Cecil Riney upon his retirement as Director of the Singing Quaker Alumni Choir, Wichita, KS

Commissioned by: Friends University Singing Quaker Alumni Choir, Wichita, KS

Voicing: SATB voices with piano, brass quintet, timpani, snare, chimes, and cymbals  

Youth Choirs/Ensembles:

Come, Christians, Join to Sing

Type: Arrangement 

Click here for the backstory...

It's not uncommon when I do a commission for the person commissioning to have another of my pieces in mind as a reference for the mood or style they would like. This was the case here.

Joe Nidever was preparing to take his youth choir on a summer tour and when he contacted me he mentioned he had enjoyed my two part arrangement of "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee," and was wondering if I could do a similar arrangement of the classic hymn, "Come, Christians, Join to Sing" for his youth choir.

I was happy to oblige and the arrangement was published in 2023 by Choristers Guild. 

Dedication: For the Living Proof Youth Choir, Christ United Methodist Church, Plano, TX, Joe Nidever, Director

Commissioned by: Joe Nidever, Plano, TX

Voicing: Two-part (equal voices) with piano

Ephesian Samba

Type: Original composition (text adapted from Ephesians 5) 

Click here for the backstory...

Ephesian Samba was commissioned specifically for the 2004 Southern Baptist Church Music Conference held in the Washington, D.C. area. 

The parameters for the piece were two-fold: 1) a text based on Ephesians 5:19-20 (Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.) and 2) for something "different from the norm" of many commissions (e.g., a big traditional choral piece with organ and brass). The person commissioning me wanted to set this commission apart from prior years.

I took that request to heart and composed a samba! It was premiered by a youth choir at the conference, and later published by LifeWay (now permanently out of print, sadly).

What's particularly interesting (and gratifying) to me is that (judging from the number of YouTube videos) the piece seems popular in Brazil, after someone translated the text into Portugese and gave it a Portugese title, "Efesios de Samba."

Dedication: Commissioned for the 2004 Southern Baptist Church Music Conference

Commissioned by: Southern Baptist Church Music Conference

Voicing: SATB with piano

Children's Choirs:

Everybody Needs Love

Type: Original composition 

Click here for the backstory...

I enjoy writing for children’s voices, and in fact, my very first published piece, “I Can Do All Things” was originally composed for my church’s Vacation Bible School! When possible, I try to write something "fun" for kids to sing, and this was my intent with "Everybody Needs Love."

During my years at First Baptist Church, Wichita, KS, I worked alongside Don Gray, who served as organist. Don and his wife Lisa also sang in the church choir and were teachers (now retired) with the Wichita School District. 

Some time after Don became an administrator for the district’s music program he commissioned me to write a piece to be sung throughout the district by area elementary school choirs, and by the All-City Honors Choir at the Kansas Music Educators Association annual conference.

I wrote both the words and music, and the piece was later published by Gentry Music. 

Dedication: For the 1999 Wichita Public Schools Area Choirs and All-City Honors Choir, Wichita, KS (USD 259)

Commissioned by: USD 259, Wichita, KS

Voicing: Two-part voices with piano

Vocal Jazz Ensembles:

All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name

Type: Arrangement

Click here for the backstory...

I was contacted by Tom Fineout who directed a Texas-based male vocal group known as "First Four." At the time (the 1990s) a contemporary Christian vocal group, Glad, had produced some popular a cappella albums of hymns set in a pop style. And one of my favorite (to this day) vocal jazz groups, Take 6, was (literally and figuratively) in "full swing" mode, putting out incredible a cappella jazz vocal recordings. 

Tom asked me to do an a cappella arrangement for his group to record along the lines of Glad and Take 6, and this setting of "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" was the result. I later made a SSATTB voicing for mixed voice groups.

Included below is the demo I recorded a demo for Tom. I sang all the parts and was pleased with it enough to include it on my first CD, "Blue Curry," (available on streaming platforms).

Dedication:  Commissioned for "First Four" (Clay Phillips, Brian Tompkins, Buddy Echols, Tom Fineout)

Commissioned by: Tom Fineout

Voicing: TTTBBB (a cappella)


Bethlehem Medley

Type: Arrangement

Click here for the backstory...

For more than twenty years I had the honor and privilege to perform with and accompany Earnest Alexander, a man with whose heart is even bigger than his impressive voice.

Earnest commissioned me to write many arrangements over the years, the majority of which were for annual Christmas concerts he presented to benefit Youth Horizons, a Christian ministry he co-founded for at risk youth in the Wichita area. 

This set of carols was Earnest's idea and we performed this "Bethlehem Medley" regularly for many years during the Christmas season. 

Earnest has experienced many health issues for the past several years and is awaiting a new kidney. He’s currently unable to perform but my hope is that someday we’ll be able to work together again.

Dedication: for Earnest Alexander

Commissioned by: Youth Horizons, Wichita, KS

Voicing: Solo voice with piano

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