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Two Toy Miniatures for Five Instruments (2021)
Commissioned by fivebyfive


Two Toy Miniatures was the result of a project collaboration with the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester and fivebyfive. For this project, miniature pieces were written for toys that been inducted into their toy hall of fame- designed with young kids in mind. I chose to represent two toys that were dear to me in my childhood: 1) The Rubber Duck and 2) jacks (jax).

The Rubber Duck (incuducted 2013), has been recognized as the quintessential bathtub toy since 1970 when Ernie, the cheerful orange Muppet on Sesame Street, first sang the catchy ditty “Rubber Duckie” to his best bath buddy. Musically, I created a surreal evocation of a rubber duck gingerly floating by in the vast ocean in lieu of a bathtub. With the ship docking at harbor, and the atmospheric noises of nature the scene morphs even more surreally into an apparition of Sesame Street’s most iconic song on the toy.

Jax/Jacks (inducted 2000), is one of the oldest and most widespread games in the world. In this game of skill, almost any collection of small objects will work—beans, rocks, stones, and even bones. Musically, I took a more literal approach; recreating the game being played. All jax games share a strategy: toss a ball in the air and scoop up pieces before the ball bounces. one by one, two by two, all the way to all at once. Also special tricks such as throwing all jacks up and catching them on the back of the hand and flipping the hand to catch them again, and spinning the jax like gigs (aka. spinning top, whirligig, teetotum).

Duration: approx. 3 mins. 


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