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mixed chorus, piano, and percussion

Oratorio for advanced chamber choir with piano and percussion. This breathtaking work explores the story of King David and his son Absalom, their war and its consequences, and how those mistakes have echoed throughout history even to today, culminating in a stark warning to the implications of our violent and polarized present.

Adoro Te Devote

mixed chorus

A quietly meditative setting of Gregorian chant, this work creates a shifting, groundless set of harmonies that effectively treat the source melody with the organic flow it naturally exhibits. Limited vocal divisi in the middle section works to paint a spacial effect that joins the same chant line between multiple voices which are otherwise staid. The text features three stanzas selected from the original seven; stanzas which concisely hone on the penitent theme of the original Latin poem.

A Breathing Peace

mixed chorus and percussion

No. 2 of "Three Themes of Life and Love" explores a more mystical side of Rumi’s poetry, describing atmospherically a tranquil scene of night. And as with all of Rumi’s works, there is powerful emotion waiting to burst forth, as described in the final contrasting line, ‘and sudden flame catching.’ (No. 1 "In Your Light" and No. 3 "Drumsound Rises.")


mixed chorus and organ

"Alleluia" is a song of praise and, more importantly, of celebration. This setting seeks to tap into the souls of both humility and exaltation as it paints the word across a full spectrum of emotion. In this way, "Alleluia" may be seen as a more comprehensive word for all people and all occasions; the euphoric utterance that joy and love thrive unconditionally.

Ave Maria

mixed chorus

A new take on this beloved Latin text, combining more rhythmic passages with sustained chords. Lush harmonies with wonderful dynamic contrast. Captures both the celebration and the reverence of Mary who is "blessed among women." A beautiful soundscape for more advanced choirs.

Ave Verum Corpus

mixed chorus

Painting an image of modest serenity, this is a musical setting that is uniquely and poignantly placed in emotional context, yet also struggling to remain pious and unassuming—much like the ancient prayer itself.

Ballade to the Moon

mixed chorus and piano

No. 1 of "Three Nocturnes." The tempo marking adagio misterioso aptly suggests its musical character. The text is a nocturne that explores observational and psychological experiences associated with love, nature, darkness, and light. 

Ballade to the Moon

men's chorus and piano

Tenor / Bass arrangement by the composer. The text is a nocturne that explores observational and psychological experiences associated with love, nature, darkness, and light. 

Crystal Sky

treble chorus and harp

An original poem describing the journey of a snowflake as it descends from the clouds to its resting place below. Harp accompanies treble voices, creating a tone that is mystical and whimsical. A stunning addition to your winter program.

Dona Nobis Pacem

mixed chorus

There is turbulence everywhere. It has never before been so vital to remember the ancient plea, "Give us peace." This musical setting by Daniel Elder is unabashedly sentimental, allowing the singer and listener to reflect on the deep meaning of the text.

Drumsound Rises

mixed chorus and percussion

In no. 3 of "Three Themes of Life and Love," the heart’s question is finally answered and the music returns to the same joyful motive expressed in the first movement, echoing the central ideas of love and light. (No. 1 "In Your Light" and No. 2 "A Breathing Peace.")


men's chorus

No. 2 from "The Greatest of These" (No. 1, Unseen and No. 3, Flight), this movement is written on the virtue of hope. It assures that in the darkest of experiences, when all joy is but a distant flicker of light in the memory, it can illuminate even from the deepest shadows.


mixed chorus

Inspiration to set this simple but profound text came from its relation to the taps bugle call, played often at military memorials symbolizing poignantly the closing of the last of days. This seldom-heralded poem captures the beauty of taps, and alludes to the search for comfort one undertakes at the loss of a loved one.

Factus est repente

mixed chorus

A modern flair on the Latin motet, featuring evocative choral textures tailored to the smaller-sized early music ensemble. Commissioned by Joseph Arndt, organist at Grace Church in Newark, NJ.


men's chorus

No. 3 from "The Greatest of These" (No. 1, Unseen and No. 2, Echoes), this movement is written on the virtue of love. The treatment of its trance-like motives creates an energized tone, constantly and unexpectedly bubbling over the top of its secret confines as joy that cannot be contained.

Fresh and Fearless

mixed chorus and piano

A special and unusual take on the idea of spring. The driving piano part captures the energy and wonder of the new beginnings of the season. Excellent vocal writing that is simple in its construction but complex in its sound.

The Heart's Reflection

mixed chorus

As each word is presented, musical ideas transport the listener to a unique emotion associated with each part of this profound proverb. We are taken on a journey of love, wonder, and spirituality associated with the bonds we share with one another. This beautiful passage serves as a poignant reminder of the spiritual kinship that exists within humanity and the necessity that we must remember to see ourselves in the hearts of others. 

The Heart's Reflection

wind ensemble

Transcribed for wind ensemble by the composer. Broad and symphonic in nature, it incorporates these tonalities to express the underlying emotions of the original. The variety of textures and instrumental colors enhance the tonal spectrum of the original and bring out the expressive nature of the work.

I Love You

mixed chorus

These words illuminate the true full range of a person—their strengths, their faults, their missteps, their lessons, and their triumphs—and show us the almost divine quality in a lover who unquestioningly embraces it all. Tenderly set with tapestry-like interwoven harmonies supporting the flow of gentle, lyrical imitation, I Love You is the serenade of this unconditional lover, to the unconditionally beloved.

I sat down under his shadow

mixed chorus

Although the metaphor of the uniqueness of the beloved like an apple tree between the trees in a forest has often been set, Elder succeeds in finding a completely individual, tender musical language for this text, and creates a peaceful, intimate atmosphere, with vocal parts which are independent, singable and linear, frequently writing in passages with thirds or sixths.

In Your Light

mixed chorus

No. 1 of "Three Themes of Life and Love" explores one of the most joyful of Rumi’s poems and expresses it musically in a churning statement of pure ecstasy. (No. 2 "A Breathing Peace" and No. 3 "Drumsound Rises.")


mixed chorus and piano

No. 3 of "Three Nocturnes," Lullaby serves as a simple and beautiful song of reassurance, as a mother may sing to her child to stave off a fear of the darkness and solitude of night. The beauty of this text lies in its dual nature, as it also serves to comfort those who grieve over loss.


treble chorus and piano

No. 3 of "Three Nocturnes," arranged for treble chorus by the composer. Lullaby serves as a simple and beautiful song of reassurance, as a mother may sing to her child to stave off a fear of the darkness and solitude of night. The beauty of this text lies in its dual nature, as it also serves to comfort those who grieve over loss.


mixed chorus

This unique work tells the story of the Muse visiting an artist in a moment of divine inspiration in both text and sound. At times rhythmic and at times sustained and flowing, this is an incredibly dynamic work for advanced choirs.

O magnum mysterium

mixed chorus

Following a uniquely instrumental approach to vocal writing, the textures and patterns relate to those found in orchestral timbres, with each word and idea representing a musical journey through mystical and fantastic areas of listening. The attempted result is a sort of “tone poem,” a seamless progression from one emotion to the next, always serving the idea over the word, and capturing the wonder of this great mystery.

October Sun

mixed chorus and piano

October Sun is a love song to a time of the year filled with exquisite beauty. The original poem's words capturing subtleties in the changing of the seasons, October Sun is depicted as a witness to this transition, living each day as the giver of life and the overseer of the earth.


double mixed chorus and organ

For over a millennium the Improperia texts have been used in liturgies to bring life to the Passion story on Good Friday, and in this modern setting the Reproaches are treated with a newly intimate and evocative tone to better tell this story through Jesus’ eyes. A modern English paraphrase lends succinctness to the tone.


mixed chorus

"Serenity" seeks to inspire peace from within. In order to grant this healing respite from external strife, it intimately explores two chief components of vocal music: the sound of spoken word and the sound of music. With this in mind, an original text was written alongside the piece to feature each of these ideas independently.

Seven Last Words from the Cross

mixed chorus

Takes the canon of Christ's sayings and presents them as one musical entity. Through a more compact nature, the seven sections of text are able to overlap and interact with one another as true psychological events, exploring the progression of events not from the perspective of a witness, but from Jesus’ own point of view.

Shadows Will Fall

mixed chorus

The textual inspiration for "Shadows will Fall" came from an ambiguous source. Officially, its authorship remains annonymous, but early-20th-century sources attributed it to Walt Whitman, which is the most popularly accepted theory today. Regardless, this proverb is both plain and powerful, inviting us towards both idealism for the future and self-healing from the past. This musical setting separates its two lines and, by presenting them in a new order, creates a poignant narrative of redemption.

Star Sonnet

mixed chorus

No. 2 of "Three Nocturnes," this work serves as a haunting interruption to the romantic piano textures before and after, and helps depict a trepid curiosity of the outer reaches of the night sky. The text is written as a Shakespearean sonnet.

Sunrise Carol

mixed chorus

Set as a carol, strophic in form, the music harkens to a simpler era of composition, one favored in Medieval times when romance lived in the song itself, tailored to enrapture the listener. "Sunrise Carol" is a love song to nature, and to the feeling of rebirth upon witnessing the resplendence of daybreak.

Tempest Rhapsody

mixed chorus and piano

Dramatic vocalise for six-part mixed chorus (SSATBB) and piano, wordlessly depicting an epic scene in the style of an orchestral tone poem—all accomplished by voices.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

mixed chorus

An arrangement of the age-old tune of the same name, striving to paint an atmospheric perspective on a familiar children’s song. The vastness and wonder of this setting may help us to see certain questions once again through a child’s eyes, and yet also hear the wisdom of a star’s reply. From such a perspective, this timeless mystery can be both questioned and answered by the music. 


men's chorus

No. 1 from "The Greatest of These" (No. 2, Echoes and No. 3, Flight), this movement is written on the virtue of faith. It is largely atmospheric as it depicts the endlessly shifting vaporous uncertainty of ones belief in the unprovable.

Verbum caro factum est

mixed chorus

The word of God is set as a message which has held its truth since the beginning and will continue to illuminate our world in the future. Elder finds a humble, restrained, and mysterious Palestrina-like homophony.

When Music Sounds

mixed chorus, piano, violin

Walter de la Mare's "Music" is an ode to the transformative effect that music has on those who hear it, and this setting seeks to represent not only de la Mare's meditations on the subject but to depict music itself as a present and tangible muse. The obbligato violin takes on this role as it spins phrases in and around the vocal lines, inspiring themes into being.


mixed chorus

An evocative work for mixed choirs, this love poem is set expertly with a mixture of homophonic and polyphonic writing that provides rich texture throughtout. Fresh harmonies and care taken to make each individual part interesting. A great selection for good high school choirs and above.

The Yellow Wood

mixed chorus

The decisions we make in our lifetime utterly define us. To fixate on roads untraveled is to conjur an infinite array of alternate versions of oneself. And thisthe very fact that we have no idea exactly where our lives will take usis the single greatest adventure. This evocative setting of Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" muses wistfully on the concept of 'what could have been.'

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