TAISM-Comissioned Music Composition Becomes Topseller Worldwide

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of The American International School of Muscat (TAISM) opening its doors to students in the Sultanate of Oman, a song was commissioned with composer Kyle Pederson which premiered at the 16th annual TAISM Festival of Choirs. Entitled Hands Are Knocking,  the song was born on the Bosch Center for the Performing Arts stage with a  150-voice chorus of over 40 nationalities in the spring of 2018. Pederson traveled to Oman to prepare the song with conductor, Dr. Nicole Lamartine, Professor and Director of Choral Activities at the University of Wyoming. Since then, Hands Are Knocking has been published with Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Inc., and is currently a top seller, in high demand for choirs to learn and perform around the globe.

Kyle Pederson is a Minneapolis-based composer, lyricist, and pianist whose work is increasingly heard both in the U.S. and abroad. He has won awards for his choral works from Cerddorion Choral Ensemble of New York City, Los Angeles Choral Arts Initiative, National Lutheran Youth Choir, and Little Singers of Armenia. He recently  was honored as the winner of the 2019 American Prize of Choral Works.

The Omani door served as inspiration for the piece, representing much about the people and heritage of our host country. Embracing a high standard of hospitality and beauty, the doors bring a warm, caring welcome for those entering and a wish for a safe journey/return for those leaving. Hands Are Knocking and the bookend piece of the concert, These Hands Know a Better Way, was conceived  from a collaborative effort between Pederson, the TAISM Kindred Chamber Choir and Melanie Brink, TAISM Choral Director.  Several Arabic and English phrases verbalize joy and gratitude in the lyric’s message:

Naftahhu athhanana, we open our minds
Naftahhu qulubana, we open our hearts
Namuddu aydeeyana, we reach out our hands
Hands are knockin.
Brother, will you let them in?  Sister, will you let them in?
Hands are knockin’.