Michael and Pamela Runyan are a Nashville-based composer/arranger team that have been collaborating for decades on teaching pieces, concert choral anthems, show choir arrangements, and orchestral works. Both have composition degrees from Brigham Young University; Michael has advanced degrees from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Michael is also a pianist, synthesist, conductor, music engraver, and concert harmonicist. Pamela is also an accomplished pianist and organist, as well as a certified water aerobics instructor and personal trainer.
1. Please describe your basic setup. (Your technical setup as well as the physical space that you work in.)
Room and setup:
We share one window-abundant office for our two workstations. We use Mac systems with large dual-monitors. Sound output is through basic, but nice-sounding amp-and-monitor systems or headphones. My (Mike) station is on a 32” high Ikea table, under which our 88-key controller will roll. Pam’s station is an L-shaped office desk that our shared controller can roll next to. We also have a grand piano in a separate room.
We write with Finale. For take-downs, we use Transcribe!; for audio production, Logic Pro X and Audacity. For Finale power tools, we use TGTools, Keyboard Maestro, JW Plugins, JW Lua, and Jetstream Finale Controller.
2. What is your process for brainstorming or inspiration-seeking as you start a new arrangement?
We start with the parameters the choir director and choreographer give us. Once we’ve lived with a song for a while (usually accomplished during transcription), we look for things we can do that will give the chart a little something special. For band, we take time to carefully translate and notate grooves and licks into things the band can play at their level, but that will sound professional.
3. What is your go-to snack and/or drink when arranging?
Sunflower seeds and baby carrots. Water.
4. What is one thing you wish you would have known when you started arranging?
Ha, the answer I want is what is impossible to have at the beginning: knowledge gained through experience.
5. What is your favorite shortcut or time-saving trick in your notation software?
See “Finale power tools” above.
6. What is a favorite arrangement of yours?
We have a warm spot in our hearts for our Like a Prayer that has an original Gregorian chant intro.
7. How can people get ahold of you?
Our showchoir catalog is handled by breezetunes. For other inquiries, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.