top of page

Album Release: Choral Arts Initiative Announces New Album of Commissioned Works and World Premiere Recordings


For immediate release

Album cover image with blue, teal, and gold "threads" interweaving to merge into an ocean. Text reads Tapestry of Becoming, Choral Arts Initiative, Brandon Elliott


Adena Bentley

Operations Coordinator

World Premiere Recordings of Commissioned New Choral Works by Juhi Bansal, Jeffrey Derus, Derrick Skye, and Dale Trumbore Alongside Additional New Works by Aaron Manswell, Iván Enrique Rodríguez, Ayanna Woods, and Kile Smith Releases March 8, 2024.

Tapestry of Becoming features numerous world premiere recordings all centered around the theme of becoming.

IRVINE, CA (February 9, 2024) — The award-winning Choral Arts Initiative will release their third and latest album, Tapestry of Becoming, on March 8, 2024, immediately following their American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Western Division Conference headliner performance. Listeners can pre-add and pre-save the album on their preferred streaming platforms here:

Known for his narrative approach to artistic programming, Artistic Director Dr. Brandon Elliott curated a musical story of becoming through commissioned works by Bansal, Derus, Skye, and Trumbore—all southern California locals—and additional new works by Manswell, Rodríguez, Woods, and Smith. Together, the pieces interweave into a beautiful tapestry that tells the story of becoming: self-discovery, resilience, growth, and transformation. With seven of the eight pieces being world premiere recordings, this album is a testament to the mission and vision of Choral Arts Initiative to empower living artists and celebrate new music. 

Recognized for their adventurous and ambitious programming, this album features a vibrant spectrum of compositional voices. From the R&B influence in Manswell’s composition, the percussive drive of Woods’ piece, the electronic synths in Skye’s multi-movement work, the vocal sound effects in Bansal’s piece, the virtuosic piano accompaniment in Rodríguez’s work, to the lush choral soundscapes of Derus, Smith, and Trumbore, each piece collectively captures today’s choral soundscape. 

Learn more about each of the compositions featured on this album: 

  • Jeffrey Derus: The House of Belonging

Commissioned by Choral Arts Initiative

A poignant setting of David Whyte's poem, "The House of Belonging," which explores themes of authenticity and self-acceptance.

  • Juhi Bansal: Fear (Becoming the Ocean)

Commissioned by Choral Arts Initiative

Inspired by Khalil Gibran's poem, "Fear," Bansal's composition captures the feeling of standing at the edge of transformation through innovative vocal techniques.

  • Iván Enrique Rodríguez: Blessed Be!

Rodríguez's heartfelt prayer of gratitude, reflecting on moments of shelter and support during challenging times.

  • Dale Trumbore: Heart Butte, Montana

Commissioned by Choral Arts Initiative

An immersive sonic journey, featuring M. L Smoker's evocative poem set against a backdrop of windswept melodies.

  • Derrick Skye: all becomes the infinite

Commissioned by Choral Arts Initiative

Skye's adventurous composition combines electronic synths with choral textures, exploring the concept of self-identity and personal growth.

  • Aaron Manswell: Stick with Love

A collaborative homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., urging listeners to embrace love over fear.

  • Ayanna Woods: To Propagate a Home

Woods' ode to resilience and the transformative power of faith and hard work.

  • Kile Smith: Where Flames a Word

A hauntingly beautiful piece, which weaves texts by Paul Celan to evoke the complexities of human experience.

Tapestry of Becoming invites listeners on a beautiful listening journey and story, celebrating the diverse voices shaping today’s choral landscape. Join Choral Arts Initiative on March 8, 2024, on all digital platforms (physical options also available) as they release this captivating musical tapestry. 

For more information and updates, visit


To arrange for exclusive previews, interviews, downloads, CDs, audio files, or high-res images, please contact Adena Bentley at


We believe that we have the opportunity to be a living metaphor that celebrates unity. We believe that fostering and embracing the music of emerging composers is critical to our art form. We believe that our community deserves to hear the greatest performances of new choral music. We believe that passion and sincerity should be at the forefront of all musical endeavors. ​We are Choral Arts Initiative. 

Founded by Artistic Director Brandon Elliott, Choral Arts Initiative is a non-profit 501(c)(3) choral organization comprised of some of the most talented and passionate new music vocal artists in the Southern California region. Widely recognized as a champion of new music, Choral Arts Initiative has been praised as "gracefully lyrical" (Tim Mangan, Voice of OC), hailed as one of Orange County’s "Best Choirs" (CBS News, Los Angeles), and noted for its "sublime" and "triumphant" performances (Ron Schepper, Textura). Winner of the American Prize in Choral Performance, recipient of the ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming, and Winner of the San Francisco Classical Voice Audience Choice Awards for Best New Music Performance, Choral Arts Initiative continues its commitment to musical innovation. Their inaugural album, "How to Go On: The Choral Works of Dale Trumbore," ranked #6 on the Billboard Charts (Traditional Classical Albums), and #4 Best Seller on iTunes Classical Charts. Their second album, "From Wilderness: A Meditation on the Pacific Crest Trail" charted for three weeks on Billboard and was the #1 Best Seller on Amazon and iTunes. Their passion for new music has led to the commission of twenty-five compositions and the premiere of over one hundred works.


Dr. Brandon Elliott enjoys an expansive career as a conductor-educator, musician, arts leader, and consultant. He is the Founder & Artistic Director of Choral Arts Initiative, an award-winning new music choral ensemble based in Orange County, California. Under his leadership, Choral Arts Initiative receives critical acclaim and recognition for its artistic excellence, musical innovation, and dedication to performing music from a vibrant roster of living composers. With a passion for new music, he has commissioned 25 works, conducted over 100 premieres, and released two Billboard-charting albums. In his work with Choral Arts Initiative, Brandon earned the ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming and the Louis Botto Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Equally passionate about teaching, training, and mentoring musicians, Brandon is the Choral and Vocal Studies Director at Saddleback College. He previously served as Director of Choral & Vocal Activities at Moorpark College for nine years. He regularly serves as an adjudicator, clinician, preparatory conductor, guest conductor, and guest speaker for festivals, competitions, and local K-12 programs. His commitment to music education was recognized by the Recording Academy as a 2022 GRAMMY Music Educator Award semifinalist.

Brandon maintains professional memberships with ACDA, NAfME, MACCC, TEA, Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, Chorus America, and the Recording Academy. His writings have been featured in Cantus, Tactus, and The Music Educators Journal. Additionally, he has presented on choral entrepreneurship at the 2016, 2017, and 2023 Chorus America national conferences and was a panelist for the CCDA Choral Leadership Academy. He currently serves as the national Repertoire & Resources Chair for 2-Year Colleges with the American Choral Directors Association. He previously served on the California Choral Directors Association board as the Repertoire & Resources Chair for Community and Professional choruses. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education and a teaching credential from California State University, Fullerton, a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, a specialist certificate in Music Business Leadership from the Berklee College of Music, and a Doctor of Education degree in Organizational Change and Leadership from the University of Southern California. In his spare time, Brandon volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) where he works with the school, court, and foster system to advocate for abused and neglected children. Learn more at


105 views0 comments


bottom of page