"I got chills the first time I heard Psalm 98-and that was just the digital midi track! I knew we were on to something special."
- David Kenneth Smith, Conductor of the Genevans
As a composer, Diane works closely with directors to deliver exactly what they need. She is a natural teacher and collaborator and genuinely cares about the dreams and aspirations of her clients. Her personal attention and devotion has created lasting relationships and repeat commissions. You can read a small sample below of some of the outstanding testimonials about her work.
Composer - Arranger - Educator
David Kenneth Smith, Conductor, Genevans, Beaver Falls, PA
"The Genevans choir has commissioned three anthems from Diane Whitacre over eleven years, and we have sung one or other in nearly every season since the first, with over 150 performances in nineteen states and eight countries on three continents. Her Psalm 98 (2013) and Psalm 95 (2018) will soon be followed by a choral setting of Psalm 145.
I got chills the first time I heard Psalm 98 — and that was just the digital midi track! I knew we were on to something really special. Diane’s anthems are true to the text we’ve commissioned and reflect a thorough understanding of the psalm lyrics we selected. She has created pieces to our specifications — but the impact far exceeded our expectations. They capture — or create — our choir’s distinctive sound.
The anthems are moderately difficult for a 45-70 voice 8-part college choir, whether sung in formal concerts or spontaneously on the road. The music is rhythmically and harmonically challenging but yields satisfying rewards with focused work. They exploit a wide range in the voices, and give prominent lines to each of the parts with a variety of textures and contrasting rhythmic lines. Her anthems are typified by wonderful pacing, with rich splash chord climaxes and dramatic pauses, but then her rhythmic vitality takes over and propels us relentlessly toward the exciting final cadence.
Our commissions have spawned a stimulating discussion over the years with a handful of like minded composers and arrangers who have periodically shared reactions to each other’s work, to rewarding inspiration for all.
Diane’s anthems are joyful, exuberant and uplifting, making them so useful as reliable concert pieces for many different occasions. They are inevitably audience favorites and universally loved by our singers, who complain that they’ve sung one, but not the other anthem, begging for their favorite to be added to the next program. Nicknamed “Diane 98” and “Diane 95” — my students never seem to tire of performing them and will spontaneously start one around the campfire or elsewhere randomly.
Our students were thrilled when Diane popped in for an unexpected visit right before our international tour, where she not only shared her reflections on our performance, but treated us by conducting her own interpretation of Psalm 95.
I kept it a secret, but then announced to great excitement that another psalm anthem was in the works! We look forward to Psalm 145 with great anticipation."
Rose Everett, Choral Director, Trinity Academy Raleigh, N C
"I first sang this piece as a member of the Genevans choir for whom it was commissioned. After graduating and starting a job as a choral director, the Genevans visited and my students sang it with them as a combined piece. Though it was a challenge for a small high school group, they fell in love with it and insisted on performing it in their own concert months later. In the two years following, we have grown into the 8+ parts and my students without fail ask to sing it. The motion of the piece is truly captivating and I would highly recommend it!"
Jonathan Busarow, Fort Wayne Children's Choir
“Diane was wonderful to work with through our composition process. She took a real interest in not only the musical project, but in our students and the needs of our ensemble. We loved working with Diane and look forward to the next chance we have to make music together.”
Kathy Blocki, Co-Owner, Blocki Flute Method LLC
"I am absolutely thrilled with the two compositions which were recently commissioned from Diane Whitacre. The first, a composition for flute, piano, and narrator, is based upon the poem Casey At The Bat. The writing is wonderful and flows with witty twists and turns, delighting both performers and listeners.
The second composition, A Shoemaker's Dream for flute, guitar/harp and narrator, is destined to become a major work in the flute and guitar/harp literature. The flute writing is incredibly well written (though challenging at points). The melodies shift between contrasting themes. The dream themes are beautifully crafted and developed throughout. These are the types of lyrical melodies that naturally inspire flutists to play with a gorgeous and full tone. The cobbler's theme, in contrast, depicts the lively hammering of the shoemaker with grace notes and staccato (slightly reminiscent of the opening of Peter and the Wolf), while another theme gives the fingers a workout as it portrays the cold and blustery wind. Diane is certainly in her element-- with such free flowing imagination, full of rhythmic appeal, these pieces showcase her extremely gifted and compositional talents."
Douglas McElhaney, Band Director, Crestview Middle School, Huntington, IN
"I have always wanted to have a piece of music composed just for one of my bands. Diane has been great to work with and has been very professional. I would strongly recommend her for your composing and arranging needs."