YNYC member Paul Doust wears many musical hats. In addition to his position as tenor section leader for the Mixed Chorus, Paul is a talented composer and musician. This year he composed a stunning piece, “In December Darkest Nights,” for the choir. We sat down with Paul to learn more about the inspiration (and the person!) behind the music. Check out his answers below in our first post of the new Member Spotlight series, and stay tuned to learn more about other YNYC members every month! We hope you’ll attend our RE/Mix concert this Saturday, December 14th, to hear the premiere of Paul’s amazing piece.
About Paul’s piece…
Title: “In December’s Darkest Nights”
What is the overall theme or essence of your piece?: It’s a reflection on selflessness and the giving of the holiday season.
What was your process when writing “In December’s Darkest Nights?”: I wrote the primary motif first, and then I wrote the text. Once that was done, I fleshed out the rest of the music.
Why did you choose to write your own text?: I often have trouble finding text in the public domain that fits my music, so it’s often better for me to write the text so that it’s heartfelt and really matches the aesthetic of the piece.
Do you have a favorite line of text or musical part of the song?: The combination of the music and the text where it says, “I will be that wondrous vessel, I can be that perfect grace.” That line captures the whole piece.
And about Paul!…
Favorite Part of YNYC: The people, community, and talent of the singers– similar-minded, fun people. I think there’s something uniquely transcendental about singing in a choir – combining one voice with many and creating something larger than yourself – powerful stuff. Love choirs.
Favorite Deceased Composers: Debussy, Stravinsky, Vaughn-Williams
Favorite Living Composers: Bjork, Thom Yorke, John Williams, Thomas Newman
Favorite Part of Living in NYC: The culture and endless amount of amazing things to do at all times of the day/year. It’s an inspiring city full of the best type of people from all over the world.
Most Challenging Part of Living in NYC: It’s really expensive. And it can be quite claustrophobic at times. Also the winter is bone-chillingly cold.
What is the Characteristic You Admire Most in Others?: I admire intelligence, creativity, rational thought and the pursuit to better oneself.
What is Your Chief Characteristic?: My chief characteristic would be…(maybe naive) optimism and objectivity and composure when it comes to handling difficult situations.
Who is your real life hero/heroine?: I admire anyone who takes risks and acts with selflessness and with a vision that benefits the greater world.
What is your idea of happiness?: Happiness as I would like to think of it is having a clear sense of purpose and working every day to fulfill that purpose. It’s also giving and loving with everything you have.