My choral work for SATB and 2-part children’s choir, May Day, premiered Saturday April 18th, 2015 by The Crossing and a choir of 4th- and 5th-graders from the John Story Jenks School in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia. It’s a 10-minute setting of a beautiful poem by Ryan Eckes.
They performed this in a special concert put together by the school, the Friends of Jenks, the Chestnut Hill Community Fund, and the Presser Foundation. Donald Nally conducted.
My thanks to them, managing director Steven Gearhart, Renee Warnick and Haviva Goldman of the Friends of Jenks, music teacher Steve Kell, and principal Mary Lynskey, who made this all happen.
Four singers from The Crossing—Steven Bradshaw, Maren Brehm, Veronica Chapman-Smith, and Daniel Spratlan—worked with the students throughout the year; we could not have dome this without their hard work! Ryan and I met with the students at the end of last year a few times to open them up to our creative processes.
I had the children repeat the phrase “what will i eat,” with the SATB choir haltingly doling out the images. The highpoint of the piece comes at the phrase that struck me the first time I read the poem: “i will eat from your hands.”
I’ll be arranging this for a divided SATB choir, also. Let me know if you’d like to see the entire score, or if you’d like to hear it.
what is may day bail paid in limes behind wal-mart the cat colony jukes broken tracks apples hearts rolling in mud small wolves in chernobyl woven awake in marsh lush green their crib an old potato cellar their mother looks out of your house what is change what is change without erasing yourself what will i eat i will eat from your hands where villages once stood i will eat from the ground your bison’s last breath i will trace the cold earth i will trace the cold earth