Composer Shawn Kirchner to share his Middle Earth guide to daily creativity with his MU alma mater

“It’s about the ability to see big possibilities in small things.”

Each individual approaches the creative process from a unique perspective, says 1992 Manchester grad Shawn Kirchner, who models his musical productions on personalities from Lord of the Rings.

“I call it a ‘Middle Earth’ schedule, because my day is divided into hobbit time, elf time, dwarf time and human time,” explains Kirchner, who also provided vocals for box office hits Avatar, The Lorax, Frozen and X-Men First Class.

The songwriter/composer will talk about his unconventional process and perform his music for Manchester University students on Monday, April 28 in the Jo Young Switzer Center (upper union) on the North Manchester campus. The free lecture begins at 7 p.m.; reservations are not necessary.

Kirchner’s choral compositions are performed throughout the United States and abroad in concert halls, churches, schools, and on radio, television and YouTube. His compositions combine emotional warmth with carefully crafted lyrics, written in a range of styles including bluegrass, folk, country, gospel and jazz. He is best known for his arrangement of the Kenyan song Wana Baraka. He currently is the Swan Family Composer in Residence for the Los Angeles Master Chorale.

While a student at Manchester, Kirchner fully engaged in peace studies, serving as the first intern for the department. He co-founded and performed in the Manchester College Peace Choir and studied abroad in China. He earned a master’s degree in choral conducting at the University of Iowa.
Visit his website at

April 2014

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