My first consortium: ‘go to the garden,’ for trumpet and fixed media

Hello, friends, and happy 2022! As we venture forth into a new year, I’m really excited to announce that I’m launching my first-ever consortium today with the help of my dear friend and collaborator Ashley Killam. I’ve wanted to run consortia for awhile, and this year, I finally have the space and creative energy to do so—and I’m hoping to shoot for at least three this calendar year! As I build this practice, I hope to create opportunities for more people to engage with my music and be directly involved with the creation of a new work without breaking the bank. Funding pieces through consortia will allow me to keep buy-ins low and interface more directly with performers as I move through the creative process, both of which are supremely important to me as I continue to grow as an artist.

Ashley is my consortium lead for this first project, meaning she’s providing a lot of really important support as I get this piece up and running—she’s been my sounding board as we honed the core concepts of this piece, she’s handling a great deal of outreach, and for day-to-day questions surrounding logistics and support, she’s the first point of contact. She’ll also be giving the official world premiere of the piece this April or May (exact date forthcoming), as my thank-you for her assistance throughout this project.

Thanks to Ashley’s help and my own creative resurgence as 2021 has come to a close, I’m excited to present the concept for this first consortium, which I’ve entitled go to the garden. It’ll be scored for trumpet (B-flat or C) and fixed media, and I’ll actually be creating three different durations, all of which will be presented to consortium members upon completion. Depending on your programming and technique needs, you’ll be able to program a version of go to the garden that’s approximately 3, 6, or 9 minutes long! I’ve included some of the most important information about the piece in the graphic immediately following this paragraph (thanks to Ashley’s design wizardry), and you can read in more depth about it—and sign up—below that.

Technical considerations

Written for B-flat or C trumpet (parts for both will be provided) and fixed media, go to the garden is a modular solo that will run between eight and nine minutes in total and is performable at three different lengths (approx. 3’, 6’, and 9’, though exact run times may shift as the piece is written). At each duration, the piece is performable as a single work with no interruptions; all performers will receive three fixed media performance tracks and a single score from which any version of the piece can be played. Each subsequent section of go to the garden will increase slightly in difficulty—part 2 will be more challenging than part 1, and part 3 will be more challenging than part 2—making it an ideal choice for developing trumpet players, performers recovering from injury, or students selecting repertoire for a jury or solo performance.

It is my hope that go to the garden can be a tool for individual expression and an opportunity for its performers to remind themselves that doing what you can when you can in your performance journey is no less worthy of recognition than doing things “perfectly” (however you and the forces in your life define that) all the time. It will provide multiple options for performers to choose from based on what’s best for them that day, including ossia staves and optional octaves-down where they might be needed. I anticipate it will be lyrical and on the slower side; some (very limited!) extended techniques will be included in parts 2 and 3, but the piece should be attainable for many (if not most) collegiate-level performers and some ambitious, inquisitive high school musicians.

Content warnings

Though I have not yet written the narration that will exist in the fixed media, go to the garden may contain mentions of some of the following: death of a family member, transphobia, systemic ableism, white supremacy, suicide (or suicidal ideation), COVID-19, and abusive teachers and partners. Keep reading for context on why some of these things may appear.

If you have questions about the piece or any of the potential content warnings that you’d like addressed before you sign up, drop me a line using the Contact page of my website or at

Subject matter

At its core, go to the garden is about grief, rest, and safety or sanctuary. Calm, quiet spaces can be effective (and popular) sites of introspection, reflection, and emotional processing, yet access to such spaces—plus the time and energy required to travel to them—remains elusive for many. Further, the COVID-19 pandemic has separated many from calming spaces they previously had access to while requiring isolation and distance from others that feels anything but restful. Some have created new spaces for that vulnerability and processing, often online, but barriers to access still remain, and virtually everyone has been saddled with grief, anxiety, and burnout we are unable to fully process.

My intention in go to the garden is not to try to recreate an existing space in a literal sense but to reflect on the different contexts in which those spaces can be used while aiming to envelop performers and the audience in sounds that feel cozy and gently protective. I hope to call listeners back to the feeling of a solitude that is sought rather than one that is imposed. Some musical decisions (beyond the choice of which duration to perform) will be left open to the performer, but no formal training in improvisation will be required to perform the piece at any duration. I’ll provide some general guiding questions and ideas that performers can engage with (or consciously oppose) to the extent they’d like to, but at no point will you need to create something from absolutely nothing.

Though not specifically aimed at or inspired by any particular moment, go to the garden is a project I’m approaching with various events in mind: the death of my paternal grandmother in 2017, the waves of grief and fatigue that plague so many of us as the COVID-19 pandemic continues its monumental waves of destruction, ADHD-induced burnout and mental health struggles generally, the loss of family and friends due to asserting boundaries or identity, curling up with a good book on a rainy day, listening to a partner’s breathing in the middle of the night, and driving home with a dear friend falling asleep in the backseat. I’m also reflecting on various fixed locations that have felt safe, restful, and even sacred as I’ve experienced them: the Hoyt Arboretum in Portland, Oregon; the Municipal Rose Garden in San Jose, California; Mesa Riverview Park in Mesa, Arizona; the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Rancho Palos Verdes, California; my childhood bedroom on a rainy night; a hotel room in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Sequoia National Forest; and a three-hour drive through pouring rain late at night in Southern California, to name a few.

Cost per consortium member

For go to the garden, we’re offering two consortium tiers, priced at $50 and $75. No matter which tier you sign up at, you will receive exclusivity (alongside the rest of the consortium) from the date of delivery through March 31, 2023. That’s a full year—maybe a little longer, if I finish early. Our tier-specific benefits break down as follows:

If you sign up to the $50 tier, you’ll get a copy of the score (PDF) and fixed media tracks (WAV, though AIF & MP3 available on request), plus your name on the score and its page on my website and newsletter.

If you sign up to the $75 tier, you’ll get all of the $50-tier benefits, plus one link of your choice (your website, SoundCloud/YouTube/Bandcamp, etc.) alongside your name on my website and newsletter and one virtual rehearsal (or hang!) with me. I’ll happily provide feedback or guidance if you need it, or you can ask me a bunch of questions about whatever you like, spend some quality time bemoaning your least favorite artist, or share cool YouTube videos back and forth! Your choice. We’ll get it scheduled.

How to join the consortium

We have a limited number of slots available for this consortium. To reserve yours, click here (or use the button below) and fill out the Google Form. You’ll need to give us your name (as you want it to appear on the score!), your email, and indicate what tier you want to sign up at ($50 or $75). If you have any comments or questions for us as part of your signup, you can drop those here, too—we’ll try to answer them as we onboard you!

We’ll send onboarding emails to everyone who signs up until all slots are filled (and if a space becomes available later on, we’ll shout it out). Ashley will formally welcome you aboard, and I’ll follow soon after with some additional information you’ll need as we move through this process together. On February 1, we’ll send you and all the other consortium members payment information, and you’ll have from February 1 through March 10, 2022 to submit your $50 or $75. (If you haven’t submitted payment by 11:59pm Pacific time on March 10, you’ll be dropped from the consortium, but you’ve got a bunch of time until then.) I’ll send a couple email updates in February and March, probably with little snippets of what I’m writing, and you’ll receive the finished piece—with your name listed!—no later than March 31. Sometimes I work ahead of deadline, so you may get it earlier!

If you’ve read this far and you’re on board (or if you clicked the Join button immediately upon opening this post), thank you for joining us on this adventure! Ashley and I are really stoked to have you with us. Don’t forget to fill out the registration form; once you do, we’ll be in touch soon!

Oh, and if this isn’t the project for you but you’d like to see me run a consortium for your instrument or (standardized) ensemble, hit that Contact form and let’s get something going.

Quick note: I’m also hoping to offer a small number of slots to folks who can’t afford a paid commission/consortium process at all, particularly students. I’ll be offering these personally, so if you know someone who fits this particular bill, tell them to get in touch with me.

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