“A Klingon Christmas Carol” opens tonight!!

KCC2011-pageimage.jpgThe music I composed and recorded will have it’s official premiere tonight.  It has already been featured during three preview shows last week, but tonight marks the opening night of the production.  Blurb about it below:

il Troubadore Klingon Music Project will make a special guest appearance at the opening night of “A Klingon Christmas Carol!!”

A Klingon Christmas Carol
By Christopher O. Kidder and Sasha Walloch
Translated by Laura Thurston, Bill Hedrick, and Christopher O. Kidder
Additional Content and Translation by Chris Lipscombe
Lyrics to qu’wI’ by Terrence Donnelly
Music composed by Jon Silpayamanant/il Troubadore

Directed by Christopher O. Kidder

Featuring Kevin Alves and Zach Livingston

Scrooge has no honor, nor any courage. Can three ghosts help him to
become the true warrior he ought to be in time to save Tiny Tim from a
horrible fate? Performed in the Original Klingon with English
Supertitles, and narrative analysis from The Vulcan Institute of
Cultural Anthropology.

“The show honors the true meaning of Christmas” – Conan O’Brien

Friday, November 25, 2011 at 7:30 PM
Greenhouse Theater – Downstairs Mainstage
2257 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: (773) 404-7336
Website: greenhousetheater.org
E-Mail: maureen@greenhousetheater.org



Yo-Yo Ma’s Romulan Music Project

Jen Usellis Mackay as a Klingon

Nerd Lunch has a podcast about the upcoming Commedia Beauregard’s production, “A Klingon Christmas Carol,” with a brief mention of my group’s (the il Troubadore Klingon Music Project) involvement with the soundtrack.  I composed all the music (you can hear a couple of samples here and here) and my band will record the final versions for the production.


Cast member and official tweeter for A Klingon Christmas Carol, Jen Usellis Mackay, joins us at the lunch table this week. Jen gives us the inside scoop on what it’s like to work on the first play performed in the Klingon language, how to get in on this year’s performances in Chicago, and Yo-Yo Ma’s Romulan music project (not really). Later the Nerds get a mini language lesson from Jen and we all play a few rounds of “our favorite Klingon things”. Listen and find out why tlhutlhlu’meH QaQ jajvam!


We’re mentioned around 31:30 with a funny blurb about Yo-Yo Ma’s so-called Romulan Music Project which I thought was humorous.


Links to the podcast may be found at the links below.



“Hegh rur’a’ ghopwIj?”

A Klingon Christmas Carol is a production by Commedia Beauregard in Chicago. Opening night is Novermber 25th, 2012 and this is its fourth year running during the holiday season.

“Does this feel dead to you?”

Here’s a more experimental track (all sounds made by cello and digitally manipulated to various extents) for Commedia Beauregard‘s production of “A Klingon Christmas Carol.”

Since I’d spent so many years doing some highly experimental music in the Noise genre (have a listen to some audio at this Noiseman433 page at NoiseMP3.com) for years before returning to a more ‘orthodox’ musical focus, I thought the scene for which this audio was created would be the perfect place to use some of those techniques.  Have a listen:


This rest of the soundtrack will be recorded by the il Troubadore Klingon Music Project which is a side project of my world music ensemble, il Troubadore.

“batlh qelDI’ tlhingan, lumbe’!”

A Klingon Christmas Carol is a production by Commedia Beauregard in Chicago. Opening night is Novermber 25th, 2012 and this is its fourth year running during the holiday season.

“A Klingon does not postpone a matter of honor!”

That is a holding place title for a track I’ve just recorded a draft of for Commedia Beauregard‘s production of “A Klingon Christmas Carol.” I thought I’d go ahead and share the track here:


This will eventually be recorded by the il Troubadore Klingon Music Project (I recorded all of the parts above) which is a side project of my world music ensemble, il Troubadore. The final product may very well be significantly different, but I think I like the overall effect.

batlh qelDI’ tlhIngan, lumbe’!

il Troubadore Klingon Music Project (from l. to r. Jon Silpayamanant, Robert Bruce Scott, Paul Radecki)

A Klingon does not delay a matter of honor!  And neither does a composer!

As I’m recording guide tracks for the rest of the members of my Klingon band (surely any reader of this blog knows I have a Klingon band, right?) for our soundtrack to Commedia Beauregard’s production of “A Klingon Christmas Carol” I’m actually coning up with vocal lines in my head to fill (or amplify) the melodic gap(s).

This is an infinitely rewarding process, and I really have no idea if other composers feel this way, but being able to create a score in a very particular style is first, a challenge; and second, invigorating as I actually have to create (using what feeble resources for this style of music exist) something in a style that Klingons would actually use or do.

There are actually quite a variety of examples and precedents for this, and none of them particularly consistent (if we’re strictly speaking of ‘canon’ material from the series and movies in the franchise).  How to make sense of the pluralistic enterprise that constitutes Klingon music is at best an ad hoc affair as Mark Okrand (the ultimate canon source) has said very little about Klingon Music that is particularly helpful in re-constructing it.


At the same time, I think my musical instincts are particularly sharp for this kind of work, if only because I have a healthy knowledge of the variety of sources I can draw from all over the world.  Whether it be Western Classical, or Azerbijani Mugham, or Chinese Opera, or American Experimental and Noise, I’ve done them all to some degree.  In some cases I’ve “composed” (or at least am moderately proficient in improvising) within these disparate genres.

While there may exist plenty of other examples of this music outside of canon (Stovokor, The Klingon Terran Research Ensemble, Kosmic Horror), I’ve found so much of that material ‘missing the point’ and would like to think that I don’t do that.  I hope to turn all of these tunes for into actual vocal tunes for a possible CD release in the near future, but for the play they will be primarily instrumentals.

I don’t really want to make this a long post, but wanted to make it a point to post a blog post every day this month as I believe it is National Writer’s Month.  Though I did miss the first day, I hope to continue this streak for every day of the month of November.  As it is a busy month for me, I think that won’t be a problem to do!