- Alan Cruise-Johnston
Alan Cruise-Johnston’s enthusiasm for choral music was kindled at Christchurch Boys’ High School singing the works of Griffiths and Galway under the inspired baton of Clifton Cook. His years at Victoria University of Wellington with Page and Lilburn (then going through his electronic experimentation phase) were a disappointment and confirmed that in the 1950s music was not a viable career option.
Forty years of work with amateur choirs and musicians gave valuable insight into the musical capacity of committed and able amateur performers. This has been put to good use over a decade of rejuvenated composition, since the shackles of earning a crust were broken. SATB arrangements performed by local choirs gave initial encouragement, and he set about building a body of work which would be simple and easily accessed by amateur singers.
In this he was encouraged and assisted by an able music copyist, Alistair Gilkison, who edited the scores. In 2003 these were converted to pdf files to give free access on a web site: www.freemusicscore.co.nz. This site now has a wide variety of over 160 compositions and arrangements for SATB (50), SSAA (10), TTBB (30), and solo voice (21). There are also short piano pieces for the competent student (30) and a growing group of organ works (12). Over a period of three years, these have claimed the attention of a wide audience in many countries with over 10,000 copies being downloaded from the web site each year. No charge is made for the compositions and arrangements: they are all freely available on the internet.
The statistical record generated by the site suggests that educational institutions and students, mainly in the United States, are responsible for almost half the traffic. Choirs and individuals in United Kingdom., Canada, Australia, Hungary, Netherlands, Norway also feature strongly.
Alan Cruise-Johnston adds about twenty new items to his web site each year, partly in response to demand (e.g. his barbershop arrangements are very popular) but generally speaking, as the mood takes him, in a relaxed and highly enjoyable retirement with Gillian, the love of his life. Alan has set some of her poetry to music. Within the style and idiom he has chosen, he feels that creativity is satisfied, and the medium conveys his ideas and enjoyment of the muse to others.Source: Alan Cruise-Johnston, July 2007