My Song of Joy

In observance of its 30th anniversary, the County Classic Chorale commissioned Dr. Larry Nickel to compose an original choral piece to be sung at the Chorale’s April 2013 concerts.  Dr. Nickel is from Vancouver and is an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre as well as an active choral clinician, adjudicator, teacher and music minister. He has composed for a wide spectrum of genres; electronic and computer music, string quartet, woodwind and brass quintet, Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Wind Ensemble and choral ensembles, including both secular and ecclesiastical music. Primarily, he has written and arranged hundreds of pieces for choirs.

In 2010, Larry became the owner and co-editor (with Diane Loomer) of Cypress Choral Music Publishing, which promotes the music of 68 Canadian composers. He is also co-founder of the West Coast Mennonite Chamber Choir and directs the Jubilate! Chamber Choir.  He currently sings professionally with the Vancouver Chamber Choir.

He incorporated the words of ‘My Song’ by Fab Ricciardi, taking his inspiration from the poem.  [Composer Note]  “Joy is one of my favourite words. I’m glad the poet Fab Ricciardi included ‘joy’ in his opening stanza. Joy and happiness are often understood to be the same thing, but, in fact, they’re quite different. Happiness is an emotion that is aroused in us when our circumstances occur in accordance with our desires. Joy, on the other hand, is an appreciation for the constants of life such as nature, freedom, relationships with people or through having faith in something larger than ourselves. It is an emotion that can predominantly rule our daily lives – regardless of circumstances. We need to be joyful. It is the best thing one can do to enhance mental and physical health. So, sing this song from deep within your heart.” 

Fab Ricciardi wrote the poem ‘My Song’ selected by the Chorale as text for its commissioned piece. Fab was born in Milan in 1962 and moved to Canada in 1972. He became a Canadian citizen in 1980 and pursued a number of career interests including marketing, writing and motivational speaking. He struggled with diabetes, was unable to see for a period of time in 2007 and in 2010 underwent an amputation of one leg below the knee. He was a published poet and aspiring playwright. In recent years, he became an executive chef and work at a number of restaurants in Toronto. When Fab learned that his poem had been selected to be put to music, he was delighted and very supportive. He expressed a keen interest in being present for the inaugural performance of My Song of Joy. However, members of the Chorale only learned a few weeks before the debut concert that Fab had passed away on January 13, 2013. The singing of ‘My Song of Joy’ now has new meaning to the County Classic Chorale.

My Song

Let my song be a song of joy.

A song about peace, A song of love.

Let my song be heard by the young and the old,

Let my song ring loud through mountains and seas.

Let this song be heard by the deaf,

Let this song be seen by the blind.

Sing this song. Shout it out loud,

Sing this song, strong and proud.

Let this song reign forever,

Waste not this song, this song of life.

words by Fab Ricciardi


For information, contact Cypress Choral Music in Vancouver.