The World Is Filled with Creatures now available at SJMP



Our lyricist and his muses.

Our lyricist and his muses.

My piece  The World is Filled with Creatures is now available at St. James Music Press. This is a fun and easy one-rehearsal piece to sing at your Blessing of the Animals Service. I originally wrote this song for the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis, they’ve been singing it for 20 years! At last, it’s available for everyone and I no longer have to email licenses!

See the music, all the words, and buy it:

Here’s what they say at St. James Music Press:
Choir (or solos) and Organ or Piano. The Blessing of the Animals: Yes, it’s that time of year when all God’s creatures come down to be blessed! Okay, you might not want to sing this for a traditional worship service, but when you have dogs, cats, goldfish, guinea pigs, turtles, pygmy hedgehogs, and the occasional llama traveling down the center aisle to be blessed, what could be more fun than this? Set the organ to “calliopy” and sing away as the blessings begin (in more ways than one!) Use as many verses as you need.

Listen right here:
[soundcloud url=”″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]



Hear and See It ALL


Ira on receiver

My Admin, isn’t she great?

Oh MAN! I’ve been a busy composer today. Been uploading music to SoundCloud and YouTube like crazy. All this work is to provide links to the new website that’s going to launch as soon as I finish uploading and proofing everything. When the new site is ready, you’ll be able to pick a piece, click, and hear it right away. Super wonderful. When I think of the horrible years of dubbing cassette tapes in real time, erasing some bits accidentally, the late, late nights and horrible anguish….golly. I’m so glad I don’t have to do that anymore!

Here’s a link to my Soundcloud if you want to browse.

Here’s YouTube!

Opera News: Three Fat Women of Antibes Shortlisted for London Performance


Thomas A. Hassing and Melissa Mallory in The Three Fat Women of Antibes, May 2009.

Thomas A. Hassing and Melissa Mallory in The Three Fat Women of Antibes, May 2009.

The first week in August I found out that an opera company in London was hosting Flourish a competition for new operas. The opera Tom and I wrote, The Three Fat Women of Antibes, seemed to fit the requirements perfectly, so I decided to apply. The chance of winning an opera competition is so small, it often seems not worth it to enter, but then, nothing ventured and all that. I got my materials together and sent them off.

To my HUGE surprise, I got an email this morning from Robin Norton-Hale, the artistic director of OperaUpClose, congratulating me and Tom on being shortlisted. The next step is to send them a DVD of our show that was produced here at San Jose State, in May of 2009. If we were in the UK, we could perform for the judges live. I am super excited!

The judging takes place on September 21, 2014. I don’t expect to win, but it’s great to be heard.

Here are links to the company and the theatre:

Studio news: Prince and the Maps

I’ve been slowly going through every work in my catalog to make sure it is print and publisher ready. It’s a slow and untrilling process. Getting it all done gives me peace of mind. I’m also ready to have older pieces published and programmed. Most of the time, once a piece is performed and recorded, I’m right on to the next project, because composing is fun and administrative work is boring.

Last week, I concentrated on my work for full orchestra and about 10,000 percussionists, Prince. I’d originally prepared the work in Mosaic, a music program that’s not longer supported. I’d translated it into Finale some years ago, but there were a lot of parts that didn’t quite work. Slog slog slog. All those percussionists? Every note had to be entered again! I had to work out the maps all over again! It was so horrible! Oh, what’s a map? First, you must understand a bit about percussion.

There are thousands of percussion instruments, maybe millions. Each one can be played with a myriad of different taps, pats, strikes, strokes, and caresses. Best part, there isn’t really one standard way of describing all these things, but there are quasi standard standards. We just have to do our best and hope. All music entry software programs allow you to enter the percussion and have your computer play it back. The programs provide a chart or map that shows you many possible sounds, note heads, and so on, for that instrument. This map is endlessly flexible, and you get to decide how it should be; the best way to present it to percussionists all over the world. Maximum flexibility? Maximum frustration and hair pulling and late nights.

Did I tell you, each stroke, caress, blessing, bim, bop, and bang have different shaped note heads for every line on the staff? In order to get the correct note to appear on the computer, you have to press the correct midi key on your keyboard, and it makes no sense what-so-ever to anybody. I’m not explaining midi numbers; look it up.

Prince conga 2014

Percussionists are wonderful people. They can play anything if you tell them what it is. Sigh. I’ve finally, finally done it. All the parts are entered. The percussionists are happy, I’m happy.

If you want to be happy, you can listen to Prince right here:

Prince was commissioned by the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra. This recording is the Czech Radio Symphony, Vladimir Valek, conductor.

Program notes:

The Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, one of the finest youth symphonies in the United States, commissioned Prince. I composed the Rock and Latin sounding music to appeal to the young musicians (ages 13–18) in the orchestra.

The physical appearance of the famous rock musician, Prince, is the inspiration for this piece. Prince looks so scary, complex, and ominous. His music should sound like that, but it doesn’t. I love the way he looks, so wicked. I wanted to write something that sounded the way he looked.


Passage to Fatephur Sikri

Just realized this morning, that the deadline for applying for an ASCAP award is today. TODAY!!!! This very day! Thank goodness I had most of the material ready. I was able to complete the application in just a few hours. Meanwhile, I decided on the new name for one of my pieces, here it is!
Passage to Fatehpur Sikri
This piece is mysterious and intriguing. Listen and visit the ancient city of the Moghul Emperor, Akbar.

Previously unknown early works discovered

I’m getting a new website at last. I have a wonderful web-goddess to work with; the excellent Gabriela Martinez of Texto. She’s really making me pay attention to all the details, especially my large catalog of works. Yesterday, I was rummaging in the computer for lost program notes, lost mp3 files, lost scores, lots of lost or archived things. I have boxes of old programs and music in the basement, in the garage, in a million places I really didn’t want to look.

However, something good has come of all the searching! I found two of my very earliest pieces! It is so exciting. I’d forgotten I’d written them! Thank goodness my mother kept them. Here they are:

early work, 1960

Beat piece for poet and flute, 1960 or 61.

The later work, for flute and poet, was clearly influenced by the beatniks. I was fascinated with them, I work black leggings and a beret. I snapped my fingers too, I think I spent several afternoons learning how to do it, technique was very important, or your fingers got sore. I started piano lessons when I was 5 or 6 and flute when I was 8, I can tell from the notes I wrote, I had to have played the flute for a couple years. Another clue to the year, “Carter” mentioned in the poem was born in 1959. One of my jobs was to play with him after school so Mom could get a few chores done. Clearly, I had to be encouraged in my task. I’d like to report that my brother is a lot more fun to hang out with now, and no nagging is required!

I wonder if I can get a performance! Wouldn’t that be fun.

Chair of Despair

I bought this cute orange chair (Chair of Dispair, CoD) at a yard sale in 1999. I thought I’d recover it, and use it at the makeup table in our bathroom. That didn’t happen. Fast forward to NOW, 2014. The chair has just been in the garage soaking up character; the uglier, the better. I recently took a Paint with Annie Sloan workshop. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot. I discovered you can use Annie’s paint to cover ugly fabric. Woo HOO, is any fabric uglier than this? Yes. Probably, there are lots of ugly pieces out there, but this is mine.

CoD had a skirt on it; it was very hard to paint and wax. The upholstered portion was easy to do and successful.

Practice makes perfect. Chair-of-Despair is now useful for big parties or meetings. I’ll keep it in the garage for now, and drag it out as needed. Here’s the original Chair of Despair:








Here’s the finished product.


Concert: April 6, 2014 7 PM San Jose Chamber Orchestra

Kim, Gaylord, Barbara, Moishe, Mona

Kim, Gaylord, Barbara, Moishe, Mona

“Oratorio: On the Theme of Hope”

Kim D. Sherman: Invocation
Moshe Knoll: Psalm 133
Kim D. Sherman: The Songbird and the Eagle
Mona Lyn Reese: Suite from Choose Life
With Guest Artists:
The Choral Project
Allison Charney and Katrina Swift, sopranos,
Layna Chianakas, mezzo soprano,
Stephen Guggenheim, tenor,
Laura Goldberg, violin, Jordan Charney, NarratorApril 6, 2014 – San José City Hall Rotunda 7 PM

Latest Opera: The Marriage Bureau for Rich People

Farahad Zama wrote a wonderful book with this title. He has given me permission to base an opera on it. I’ve been working on the script for a year, and now, I’ve started writing the music. Tom Hassing’s writing the libretto.

Right now, I’m writing a baritone aria for Ramanujam, the male protagonist. This aria is almost at the end. Must start at the end and work my way back.

Possible Harmony

Possible Harmony