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Voices Plus

Program Notes

Zion's Walls

Aaron Copland (1900-1990)/arr. Glenn Koponen (1943-2021)

Aaron Copland, known as the Dean of American Composers, was a critic, writer, teacher and conductor in addition to being a composer. The open, slowly changing harmonies of much of his music are considered typical of the sound of American music, evoking the American landscape and pioneer spirit. In the early 1920’s, Copland went to France where he studied piano and composition at Fontainbleau with Isidor Philipp and Paul Vidal, respectively. At the suggestion of a fellow student, he switched composition teachers becoming a student of Nadia Boulanger.  

 

"Zion's Walls" is a revivalist song first arranged for solo voice and piano in 1958. Many of these songs have been arranged for SATB chorus with two others on today’s program.

 

Come fathers and mothers, Come sisters and brothers, 
Come join us in singing the praises of Zion.
O fathers don’t you feel determined to meet within the walls of Zion.
We’ll shout and go round the walls of Zion.

The Storm Is Passing Over

Charles A. Tindley (1851-1933)/arr. Barbara W. Baker

Charles Tindley was an American Methodist Episcopal minister and composer of gospel music. Tindley’s best-known composition became the basis for the Civil Rights anthem "We Shall Overcome." He served churches in New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. He qualified for ordination by examination without holding a degree.  

 

"The Storm is Passing Over" was originally published as a hymn in 1905. It did not gain significant popularity until it was arranged by Donald Vails for his 1976 album In Deep Water.  Barbara W. Baker is an internationally noted conductor and educator. Baker holds degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Teachers College, Columbia University, and the University of Maryland.

Have courage my soul and let us journey on.
Though the night is dark and I am far from home.
Thanks be to God the morning light appears.
The storm is passing over Hallelu.

At the River

Aaron Copland/arr. R Wilding-White

"At the River" is an arrangement of Robert Lowry's hymn "Shall We Gather at the River?" Lowry  (1826-1899) composed this hymn in 1864. He was a Baptist minister serving Hanson Place Baptist Church in Brooklyn where the name of the hymn tune is derived. Aaron Copland included his arrangement in Set 2 of Old American Songs (1952).

Shall we gather by the river, where bright angel’s feet have trod,
With its crystal tide forever flowing by the throne of God.
Yes we’ll gather by the river, the beautiful river that flows by the throne of God.
Soon we’ll reach the shining river, soon our pilgrimage with cease,
soon our happy hearts will quiver with the melody of peace.

Banks of Doon

Donna Gartman Schultz

Shadwa Mussad, Violin

"Banks of Doon" is a song written by Scottish poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796), in 1791. Burns set the lyrics to an air called The Caledonian Hunt's Delight. The song was inspired by the story of Margaret (Peggy) Kennedy (1766-1795), who was seduced and then abandoned by Andrew McDouall, the son of a wealthy family. 

Donna Gartman Schultz is a composer and pianist. A native of Louisiana, Schultz earned a degree in piano performance from Louisiana State University before pursuing graduate degrees in theory and composition at Michigan State University. She has served on the faculties of Michigan State University and Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. Shultz now devotes her professional time to composition of both choral and instrumental music.

Ye flow'ry banks of bonie Doon, how can ye bloom so fair?
How can ye chant ye little birds, and I so full of care?
Thou will break my heart, you bonie bird, that sings upon the bough:
Thou minds me of the happy days when my false love was true.
Thou'll break my heart, you bonie bird, that sings beside thy mate:
For so I sat, and so I sang, and knew not of my fate.
Oft have I roved by bonie Doon to see the woodbine twine, 
and ev'ry bird sang of its love, and so did I of mine.
With lightsome heart I pulled a rose from off its thorny tree,
And my false lover stole my rose, but left the thorn with me.
Ye flow'ry banks of bonie Doon, stone my rose but left the thorn with me.

I Bought Me a Cat

Aaron Copland/arr. Irving Fine (1914-1962)

"I Bought Me a Cat" is a cumulative song about farm animals, originating in the British Isles. In the first verse, the narrator tells of buying a cat, duck, goose, and other animals, feeding them under a tree and the call each animal makes.

Aaron Copland arranged this version for solo voice and piano is 1950 song cycle Old American Songs.


I bought me a cat, my cat pleased me. I fed my cat under yonder tree. My cat says fiddle eye fee.
I bought me a duck, my duck pleased me. I fed my duck under yonder tree.
My duck says "Quaa, quaa," My cat says fiddle eye fee.
I bought me a good, My goose pleased me, I fed my goose under yonder tree.
My goose says "Quaw, quaw," My duck says "Quaa, quaa," My cat says fiddle eye fee.
I bought me a hen, my hen pleased me, I fed my hen under yonder tree.
My hen says, "Shimmy shack, shimmy shack," My goose says "Quaw, quaw,"
My duck says "Quaa, quaa," My cat says fiddle eye fee.
I bought me a pig, my pig please me. I fed my pig under yonder tree.
My pig says, "Griffey, griffey," My hen says, "Shimmy shack, shimmy shack,"
My goose says "Quaw, quaw," My duck says "Quaa, quaa," My cat says fiddle eye fee.
I bought me a cow, My cow pleased me. I fed my cow under yonder tree.
My cow says, "Baw, baw," My pig says, "Griffey, griffey,"
My hen says, "Shimmy shack, shimmy shack,"
My goose says "Quaw, quaw," My duck says "Quaa, quaa," My cat says fiddle eye fee.
I bought me a horse, My horse pleased me. I fed my horse under yonder tree.
My horse says, "Neigh, neigh," My cow says, "Baw, baw,"
My pig says, "Griffey, griffey," My hen says, "Shimmy shack, shimmy shack,"
My goose says "Quaw, quaw," My duck says "Quaa, quaa," My cat says fiddle eye fee.
I got me a wife, My wife pleased me. I fed my wife under yonder tree.
My wife says, "Honey, honey," My horse says, "Neigh, neigh,"
My cow says, "Baw, baw," My pig says, "Griffey, griffey,"
My hen says, "Shimmy shack, shimmy shack,"
My goose says "Quaw, quaw," My duck says "Quaa, quaa," My cat says fiddle eye fee.

It Takes a Village

Joan Szymko (b. 1957)

Erin Garrard, Marianna Fuller, Darrell Curren, Regina Myers, Soloists

    
Joan Szymko is a composer and choral conductor who has been active in the Pacific Northwest for over twenty-five years. Szymko is especially known for her contribution to the body of choral literature for women's voices.

 

Szymko adapted the West African saying, "It takes a village to raise a child," seeking to embody the cultural concept behind this proverb—that it is truly ALL the individual parts linked and working together that create a support the whole.  The four vocal rhythms in the main portion of the work, each with its own character and function, are essential to creating the unique energy and movements of "Village." Only when they are sung together does a truly joyful spirit arise. (Notes from the composer included in the score.)

 

It takes a whole village to raise our children
It takes a whole village to raise one child
We all every one must share the burden
We all every one will share the joy.

O Love

Elaine Hagenberg (b. 1979)

Shadwa Mussad, Violin

Elaine Hagenberg's award-winning compositions are performed frequently at music conferences, All-state festivals, and in concert halls around the world. In addition to composing, Elaine actively engages as a guest artist and featured clinician for professional conferences and festivals. Her composition "I Am the Wind" was named the winner of the 2020 American Choral Directors Association Brock Competition for Professional Composers.

 

George Matheson (1842-1906) was a Scottish minister and hymn writer, and prolific author, who was blind from the age of seventeen. Matheson was educated at Glasgow Academy and the University of Glasgow, where he studied classics, logic, and philosophy. 

 

O Love, that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe, that in thy ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.
O joy that seeks me through the pain, I cannot close my hear to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain, and feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.

Three Madrigals

Emma Lou Diemer (b. 1927)

I. O Mistress mine, where are you roaming?
II. Take, O take those lips away
III. Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more!

Emma Lou Diemer is an American composer from Kansas City, Missouri. She received her B.M. and M.M. degree from Yale School of Music. She studied composition in Brussels on a Fulbright Scholarship from 1952 to 1953. After returning to the United States, she received her Ph. D. from the Eastman School of Music (1960). She served on the faculty of at the University of Maryland (1965-1970), and join the faculty of the University of California-Santa Barbara in 1971.

I. O mistress mine, where are you roaming? Oh, stay and hear!
Your true love's coming, that can sing both high and low.
Trip no further, pretty sweeting; journeys end in lovers meeting,
Every wise man's son doth know. What is love? ‘Tis not here after; 
Present mirth hath present laughter; What's to come is still unsure:
In delay there lies no plenty, then come kiss me sweet and twenty!
Youth's a stuff will not endure.

(Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare)

II. Take, oh take those lips away that so sweetly were forsworn;
and those eyes, the break of day, lights that do mislead the morn.
But my kisses bring again, seals of love, but sealed in vain.
(
Measure for Measure, William Shakespeare)

III. Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more, no more!
Men were deceivers ever, one foot in sea, and one on shore;
To one thing constant never. Then sigh not so, but let them go,
and be you blithe and bonny, converting your sounds of woe
into hey nonny nonny hey!
Sing no more ditties, sing no moe, of dumps so dull and heavy!
Fraud of men was ever so, sing summer first was leavy.
Then sigh not so, but let them go,
and be you blithe and bonny, converting your sounds of woe
into hey nonny nonny hey!
(
Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare)

Light of a Clear Blue Morning

Dolly Parton (b. 1946)/arr. Craig Hella Johnson (b. 1962)

Marianna Fuller, Erin Garrard, Soloists 
Trio: Akirah Renee, Marianna Fuller, Regina Myers
Shadwa Mussad, Violin

"Light of a Clear Blue Morning" was written and recorded by Dolly Parton in 1977. Parton wrote the song as she was emerging from a long and difficult break with musical and business partner Porter Wagner. Parton has recorded the song three times changing the lyrics of verse two for the 1992 recording. 

It's been a long, dark night, and I've been waiting for the morning.
It's been a long, hard fight, but I see a brand new day a-dawning.
I've been looking for the sunshine cause I ain't see it in so long.
Ev'ry thing's gonna work out fine. Ev'ry thing's gonna be alright, it's gonna be okay.
I can see the light of a clear blue morning.
I can see the light of a brand new day.

Long Time Ago

Aaron Copland/arr. Irving Fine

"Long Time Ago" is a setting of a lyrical nostalgic ballad discovered by Copland in the Harris Collection at Brown University. Copland included his arrangement in Set 1 of his song cycle Old American Songs.

On the lake where droop'd the willow, long time ago,
Where the rock threw back the billow, brighter than snow.
Dwelt a maid beloved and cherish'd high and low.
But with autumn leaf she perish'd, long time ago.
Rock and trees and flowing water, long time ago, 
Bird and bee and blossom taught her love's spell to know.
While to my fond words she listen'd murmuring low
Tenderly her blue eyes glisten'd long time ago.

You Do Not Walk Alone

Elaine Hagenberg

"You Do Not Walk Alone" is a setting of a traditional Irish blessing. Hagenberg used Celtic styling within the melody woven throughout the vocal texture.

May you see God's light on the pat ahead when the road your walk is dark.
May you always hear, even in your hour of sorrow, the gentle singing of the lark.
When times are hard may hardness never turn your heart to stone,
May you always remember when the shadows fall you do not walk alone.

I'll Be On My Way

Shawn Kirchner (b. 1970)

Keith Walker, Soloist


Shawn Kirchner is a composer, arranger, and songwriter based in Los Angeles. He has had a long relationship with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, serving as composer in residence from 2012-2015. Kirchner's music finds a middle ground between classical choral and instrumental traditions and the inheritance of the folk, carol, and hymn traditions. 

 

When I am gone, don't you cry for me, don't you pity my sorry soul.
What pain there might have been will now be past and my spirit will be whole.
I'll be on my way. I'll have left my feet of clay upon the ground. 
I will be glory bound. I'll be on my way.
When I am gone, please forgive the wrongs that I might have done to you;
There'll be no room for regrets up there, high above, way beyond the blue.
I'll be on my way. I'll have laid my frown and all my burdens down,
I'll be puttin' on my crown, I'll be on my way.
When I am gone, don't you look for me in the places I have been;
I'll be alive, but somewhere else, I'll be on my way again!
I'll be on my way, I will lift my wings and soar into the air,
there'll be glory ev'rywhere, I'll be on my way.
I will be glory bound. I'll be on my way
.

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