This is a preview of a proposed project.

The Choral Consortium of San Diego commissions composer Bradley Nelson for – "San Diego Sings! Festival 2015"

"How Can I Keep From Singing?" for Mixed Voices, Children's Choirs, Audience, and Organ


The Choral Consortium of San Diego is inaugurating the city's first annual "SAN DIEGO SINGS! FESTIVAL 2015" at Balboa Park's Spreckels Organ Pavilion on March 21, 2015.  Twenty choirs from throughout the San Diego region will participate. This festival will be broadly inclusive of a variety of choirs and will be FREE to the public. The Consortium has commissioned Bradley Nelson to compose the feature work to be premiered by a massed choir of 1000 voices.

This remarkable musical event will coincide with the 100th Anniversary of San Diego's famous Balboa Park which was built for the Panama-California Exposition in 1915.  For ten decades, the park has been an important center for cultural events of all kinds including - weekly concerts in the Organ Pavilion, musicals at Starlight Bowl, and plays in the world-famous Old Globe Festival Theater.

Principal collaborators for this event will be;
Co-Chair Carol Manifold - President and Founder of Choral Consortium of San Diego
Co-Chair *Sally Husch Dean - Artistic Director and Founder of San Diego North Coast Singers
Conductor Dr. Patrick Walders - Director of Choral Studies at San Diego State University
San Diego Civic Organist Dr. Carol Williams
The Spreckels Organ Society
Spreckels Organ Curator Lyle Blackinton

Diverse choirs from throughout the San Diego region will include singers from professional choirs, community choruses, children's choirs, barbershop choruses, and church choirs.  Examples of this diversity are the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community ChoirSan Diego Gay Men's Chorus, San Diego Chinese Choral SocietySan Diego Mannskor Norwegian Men's Chorus, and three regional children's choruses; San Diego North Coast SingersSan Diego Children's Choir, and Escondido Choral Arts Center Children's Chorus.  A complete listing of all participating choirs and links to their websites can be seen - here

This new composition, "How Can I Keep From Singing?", will bring together a thousand voices... children, youth, and adults from the greater San Diego area... to sing this new music composed by Bradley Nelson, a native San Diegan whose choral music is performed throughout America and around the world.  After returning to San Diego thirty years ago, he finds it serendipitous to be asked to compose this piece for the city he loves... in the community where he fell in love with choral singing... and to be premiered in Balboa Park where he visits regularly.

*Sally Dean writes, "This commission has the ingredients of a piece destined to become used nationwide within the choral community.  It will speak of the power of singing together."

Compositional techniques that Brad will use in "How Can I Keep From Singing?" will include this famous text set to completely new music, inclusion of the original melody for audience participation, and symbolic musical themes cleverly woven into a virtuosic organ accompaniment. The music will conclude with antiphonal fervor!  The lyrics will be revised to apply universally to people of all faiths.  Singers from all walks of life will form the 1000-voice mass choir that will resound throughout San Diego's famous and historic Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

Click here - for Brad's profile


Project-related Media

In Flanders Fields

This piece is an eerie, evocative setting of the famous WWI poem by Lt. Col. John McCrae. The mood of the music captures the sadness of the poem. Instrumental devices in the flute and bells are used to enhance images suggested by the words of the poem. The flute employs a haunting flutter-tonguing in its low register as well as pitch-bending. The bowing of Crotales adds an eeriness to the texture. To see the full score, read a description, and hear a recording visit -

Anthem For Doomed Youth

The sounds and compositional techniques utilized in this music arise from the severity and haunting sadness of a poem by 25-year old soldier Wilfred Owen. Vocal devices include shouting, sighing, cluster singing, pitch-bending, and non-metered chant. Instrumental devices include trills and glissandi, piano clusters, and piano overtones produced with percussion mallets. To see the full score, read a description, and hear a recording visit -

Christ, The Precious Living Stone

This anthem exhibits some characteristics that will be utilized in the creation of "How Can I Keep From Singing?". Compositional techniques may include a familiar text set to completely new music, incorporation of the original tune for audience participation, and symbolic musical themes cleverly woven into a virtuosic organ accompaniment. The 1000-voice mass choir will antiphonally resound throughout San Diego's famous Organ Pavilion! To see the full score, read a description, and hear a recording visit -




Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park, San Diego, California

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Created By

Organizer Image

Bradley Nelson, Composer

El Cajon, California

(Below is a "local San Diego" bio of Brad Nelson for the  "San Diego Sings! Festival 2015" - March 21, 2015 to be held at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park, San Diego.  This event is sponsored by the Choral Consortium of San Diego) Brad Nelson...


Lyle Blackinton

Pipe Organ Builder and Curator of the Spreckels Organ - San Diego, California

Role: Spreckels Organ Curator

Spreckels Organ Society

Ross Porter, Executive Administrator - San Diego, California

Role: Performance Venue - Spreckels Organ Pavilion, Balboa Park, San Diego

Dr. Carol Williams

Artistic Director, Spreckels Organ Society - San Diego, California

Role: San Diego Civic Organist

Dr. Patrick Walders

Director of Choral Activities, San Diego State University, California

Role: Conductor, "How Can I Keep From Singing?" - World Premiere

Sally Dean

Artistic Director, San Diego North Coast Singers, California

Role: Event Co-Chair, "San Diego Sings! Festival 2015"

Carol Manifold

President, Choral Consortium of San Diego, California

Role: Event Co-Chair, "San Diego Sings! Festival 2015"