Fifteen Minutes of Fame: Courtney Sherman and a very small consortium

  • a very small consortium

    a very small consortium is based at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and is dedicated to the performance of miniature masterpieces. We do more with less. We get to the point. We do small music, but we have big plans. This iteration of a very small consortium will consist of Courtney Sherman, soprano; Lada Gaines, soprano saxophone; Adam Gaines, trumpet, Michelle McQuade Dewhirst, horn; John Edward Cantrell, piano; Michael Dewhirst, cello.

  • John Edward Cantrell

    A performer who is comfortable with many genres, John Edward Cantrell, is known to his colleagues as a "musician's musician." From Carnegie Hall to Rock Arenas, John has performed as an organist, pianist, and multi-instrumentalist throughout the United States, England, Ireland, and Western Europe. John holds a Master of Music degree in Organ Performance from Yale University and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Louisville. His teachers have included noted performers and scholars Melvin Dickinson, Thomas Murray, and Martin Jean. While at Yale, John received private coaching sessions with artists Susan Landale, Ludger Lohman, and Charles Kriegbaum. John is the Choirmaster & Organist for St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

  • Michael Dewhirst

    Michael Dewhirst, cellist performs and teaches in the Green Bay area. Co- founder of the Chicago Miniaturist Ensemble, and 'a very small consortium', he is also active in several orchestras, rock/jazz bands, and chamber ensembles. Additionally, he serves as ad-hoc music faculty at UWGB, the Fine Arts Institute at East High School, and clinician with the Green Bay Symphony Youth Orchestras.

  • Michelle McQuade Dewhirst

    Michelle McQuade Dewhirst studied horn and composition at Ithaca College and earned her master’s and Ph.D. in composition at the University of Chicago. An active horn player, Michelle specializes in contemporary solo repertoire and performed her own 15 Minutes of Fame for solo horn in March of 2012. She is on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

  • Adam Gaines

    Adam Gaines is an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay. In addition to teaching the trumpet studio, Dr. Gaines directs the Jazz Ensemble II and the New Music Ensemble, and teaches jazz history, brass methods, and music technology courses. Dr. Gaines has performed as a soloist in his native Kentucky, as well as throughout Indiana, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Slovakia, Austria, and at the Montreux and North Sea Jazz Festivals. He holds degrees from the University of Louisville (Bachelor of Music, 1999) and Ball State University (Master of Music, 2001 and Doctor of Arts, 2005). Dr. Gaines frequently travels to Slovakia to perform in jazz and classical idioms and to spend time with his wife Ladislava’s family.

  • Ladislava Gaines

    Ladislava Gaines (soprano saxophone) is originally from Humenne, Slovakia, and now lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Before moving to the U.S. in December 2011, Lada lived and worked in the Slovak capital Bratislava at the Music Centre Slovakia, a government agency devoted to the creation and dissemination of Slovak music. Lada holds a master's degree in musicology and a doctoral degree in saxophone performance. She is an active performer on both saxophone and accordion.

  • Courtney Sherman

    Courtney Sherman, soprano, holds a Master's degree in opera/musical theatre performance and a Doctorate in voice performance from Arizona State University. She did her undergraduate work in music at Michigan State University and Western Michigan University. Her role credits include Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Adina in L’elisir d’amore, and Blanche in Dialogues of the Carmelites. Dr. Sherman has performed soprano solos in Bach’s Mass in B-Minor, Orff's Carmina Burana, Mozart's Vesperae solennes de confessore, and Handel’s Messiah, among others, and has performed a wide range of art song repertoire. She is Assistant Professor of Voice at UW-Green Bay, teaching courses for both the Music and Theatre programs. Dr. Sherman was recently seen as the conductor and music director for UW-Green Bay's production of Cabaret in the Weidner Center's Cofrin Family Hall, and also as the soprano soloist for The Dudley Birder Chorale of St. Norbert College’s performance of Mozart’s Requiem.

Concert Dates

  • January 12, 2014 - Jan Hus Church, New York City

15 one-minute selections for Courtney Sherman and a very small consortium

Concert program
  • Deus meus

    Dominic Blake

    Dominic Blake is an Australian composer currently studying at Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music. His experience in composition is closely linked to his singing in the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and playing the piano, organ and harpsichord.

    In this piece I have chosen only the horn to accompany the soprano voice. I aimed to create a pure and blended sound between these two parts. The horn plays a mournful ostinato, while the soprano line moves elegantly above it.

  • Silence

    David Bohn

    David Bohn received degrees in composition from the University of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the University of Illinois. He currently resides in West Allis, Wisconsin, and is the music director at St. John's Lutheran Church in West Milwaukee. He is the President of the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers.

  • Gender Issues

    Scott Brickman

    Scott Brickman (b. Dec. 28, 1963, Oak Park, Illinois) was educated in the Chicago Public school system and holds music degrees from the University of Wisconsin and Brandeis University. Since 1997 he has taught at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, where he is Professor of Music and Education.

    Gender Issues is part of my song cycle “Dear Darwin”, written to texts of poet Kathleen Ellis.

  • This Seems a Home

    Ethan Helm

    Ethan Helm is a saxophonist and composer based in New York City. He received a BM in jazz saxophone from Eastman School of Music, and is currently pursuing a MM in jazz saxophone at New York University. He happily performs and composes in all genres, but his true passions will always be ice cream and television.

    "This Seems a Home" is a setting of the final stanza of Emily Dickinson's “I learned – at least – what Home could be -” (891). The lines evoke “Home” in a way that is honest and beautiful. “Home” can be a nostalgic memory that swallows us, or it can be a place in the present, always growing and giving. It's our choice.

  • The Sick Rose

    Traci Mendel

    Traci Mendel is currently on faculty at Troy University in Troy, Alabama, and teaches composition, voice, music theory and aural skills. Her compositions have been heard in the U.S. and abroad in recitals, concerts, festivals, and at conferences. Her favorite instrument for which to write has always been the voice.

    In Blake’s poem The Sick Rose I sought to evoke the dissonance between the beauty of the rose and the sickness in it, contrasting the voice range with the cello register. The insidiousness of the worm is represented by the relentlessly downward pull of a chromatic scale in the cello.

  • She Sings (from In a Gondola)

    David Miller

    Born in West Virginia and raised in Brooklyn, New York. David Miller's compositions have been performed by music students and professionals throughout the United States. A woodwind quintet was recently performed to commemorate the American Civil War. His writing career includes working as a reporter and speech writer.

    Robert Browning's She Sings, from his poem In a Gondola, is a dialogue between two lovers while riding through Venetian canals. I have chosen the woman's portion of this dramatic romantic poem in which she is ready to accept her lover.

  • Staying

    Nicholaus Meyers

    Nicholaus Meyers a native of Georgia is currently the director of Athletic Bands and Percussion at Valley City State University in Valley City ND. His compositions have been performed throughout the Midwest and Southern Part of the USA. He has studied composition at the University of Tennessee and the University of Georgia.

    “Staying” was composed in the summer of 2013 for Soprano Courtney Sherman. The composition is built around the poem of the same name asking someone to “Stay” and see what they have in their life rather than just leaving. The work is soft and subtle.

  • Flower of Farewell

    Alex Nohai-Seaman

    Alex Nohai-Seaman’s music has been performed by Tony Arnold, Daniel Lippel, the Great Noise Ensemble, soundSCAPE, Sinopia, the Duo Figer-Khanina, and in Israel, Italy, Canada, and Taiwan. Alex is Assistant Professor of Music at Suffolk County Community College, where he teaches music theory, composition, piano, and directs the contemporary music ensemble.

    "Flower of Farewell" is a setting of one of my favorite poems by Rilke. The sweeping vocal line, which spans more than two octaves, is contrasted by the sustained chords in the piano.
  • George Sand

    Sandra Goss Norell

    After 30 years in a cubicle, Sandy set out for a Masters in composition at California State University Los Angeles. Her professors, fellow students, and grown daughters have all been more than supportive. Sandy’s musical ideas often arise out of silence while camping, reading, or observing our modern world.

    George Sand disrupted established conventions. A nineteenth century French novelist and thinker, her works were widely read and influenced many other writers. To capture the sense of self-reflection and the complex sentence structure of this great writer, I used cluster chords, constantly changing time signatures, and an open key signature.

  • Why Art Thou Cast Down, O My Soul

    Eurydice V. Osterman

    Eurydice V. Osterman is a composer, author, and organist. She earned the Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. She is currently professor of music at Oakwood University, Huntsville, Alabama.

    When, during the course of life, situations occur that shake one to the core, and despair and gloom encircle one like an impenetrable thick cloud of darkness, there is a source to which one can go to dispel the clouds and let the sun shine in to keep hope alive.

  • Rubaaii

    Akmal Parwez

    While studying electronics in Tokyo on a Japanese Government scholarship, composer-vocalist Akmal Parwez studied composition with Yasushi Akutagawa and Klaus Pringsheim. After completing his university studies (B.E., M.E.), he felt compelled to devote his life to composing, singing and teaching music. In the U.S. he studied composition with Florence Jolley, Leo Kraft, Samuel Adler(M.A., Queens College; Ph.D., Eastman School of Music).

    This is a setting of one of the better-known Quatrains by the great Persian poet and philosopher, Omar Khayyam. The English translation used is by E. Fitzgerald. The poem likens youth with springtime and laments the fleeting brevity of both.

  • stay...

    Dave Ramsey Jr.

    Dave Ramsey has taught piano & voice at the University of Wisconsin - Rock County since 2010. He writes the music that comes to him & conveys its spirit in many styles & forms. He is currently working on Thesis material concerning the evolving concept of convergence for Graduate School.

    At that moment, in the twilight, when we pass from conscious living to unconscious dreaming the light fades from without and each must die to the world. Though, at dawn we all return again, that escape from the place of the living is both magical and sad for those still awake. There is no contact between the two worlds - except for a bit of deeper magic.

  • The Bubbles

    Brennan Stokes

    Brennan Stokes is resident of Southern California and a recent Music graduate of Pacific Union College with his degree in Piano Performance. He currently teaches piano, enjoys composing, practicing new music, and hopes to further his education in either a Master's of Music in Performance or Composition.

    The Bubbles was inspired by the fact that the simplest of truths and greatest joys can found in the smallest of places. Who wouldn't love to extinguish their worries as easily as popping a bubble? Hopefully you will find yourself a little less worried about your cares, smiling about life.

  • A Persian Secret

    Phil Taylor

    A composer in many genres; Phil Taylor’s electronic ambient works are released on iTunes under the Secret Perdu label, recent compositions have been performed by Dr Liana Valente (Fifteen Minutes of Fame), the Livas Clarinet Quartet (Bristol UK), Walking Wiltshire White Horses project (UK), Artdesamis Piano Trio (Herne Hill Festival).

    "A Persian Secret" is a chromatic composition with tightly knit intertwining parts for soprano and 'cello and fragments of a story with a secret to tell.

  • The Sleepers in that Quiet Earth

    Douglas Wagoner

    Douglas Wagoner is a composer and conductor based in Newton, Massachusetts. His formal education was at Berklee College of Music, Boston University and New England Conservatory in composition, film-scoring and conducting. More of his work and contact information can be found at

    The text for this setting is taken from the last paragraph of Wuthering Heights.