The music and lyrics of Songs of Hope in Strange Times: In Times of Hibernation was written during the COVID-19 global pandemic of 2020 and was commissioned by SACRA/PROFANA Choir. The overall song cycle is five movements long, with each movement reflecting on how to find hope and meaning during strange and unknown times of life. After the first scary and frenetic days in March, 2020 when the severity of COVID-19 started to become apparent in the USA, the world then seemed to enter a deeper state of hibernating and waiting, but it was not always clear exactly what was being waited for. In this second movement, In Times of Hibernation, the text asks whether we can find meaning in times of deep hibernation and seemingly-endless waiting. The answer may be that we have to simply wait and hold our breath along with time as the events unfold. It may be that the deepest meaning may be found during the quietest of times.

Commissioned & Remotely Recorded by: SACRA/PROFANA
Conductor: Juan Carlos Acosta
Audio & Video Editing by Rumley Music & Audio Production

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Light Up (the first movement of the Light Cycle suite), commissioned by Jennifer Gaderlund for the Graham Middle School Choirs, sets the beautiful poem by Rhoda Gordon, the composer’s late grandmother, for SA (Opt. SSA) Choir and Piano. The Piano features a constant rhythmic motor, representing our hopefully constant dancing throughout life. The Sopranos and Altos begin in unison and then break into harmony as the texture unfolds. The middle section contains a round between the Sopranos and Altos, with the Altos offset by two beats. A third (optional) descant part sings above the round between the Sopranos and Altos. The opening material returns with the repeated text “Think light rays” but develops the material further with a few moments of divisi. The piece dramatically builds as the choir repeats the word “glow”, finally resolving with the call to “glow and dance”. The Piano’s rhythmic motor finally comes to a rest at the last measure.

This piece is suitable for any Treble-voiced ensemble. It may be performed as a stand-alone piece or paired with I Celebrate Life as the complete Light Cycle suite. The round in the middle section is a great way for any Treble-voiced ensemble to explore polyphony and part independence. The descant and divisi parts may be included or omitted depending on the needs of the ensemble.

Light Cycle will receive its premiere on December 12, 2019 by the Graham Middle School Choirs conducted by Jennifer Gaderlund in Mountain View, CA.

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Light Cycle is a two-movement suite for Intermediate to Advanced Treble ensembles. The suite, commissioned by Jennifer Gaderlund for the Graham Middle School Choirs, sets two beautiful poems by Rhoda Gordon (Light Up and I Celebrate Life), the composer’s late grandmother, for SA (SSA divisi) Choir and Piano.

Light Up is the first movement of the Light Cycle suite. The Piano features a constant rhythmic motor, representing our hopefully constant dancing throughout life. The Sopranos and Altos begin in unison and then break into harmony as the texture unfolds. The middle section contains a round between the Sopranos and Altos, with the Altos offset by two beats. A third (optional) descant part sings above the round between the Sopranos and Altos. The opening material returns with the repeated text “Think light rays” but develops the material further with a few moments of divisi. The piece dramatically builds as the choir repeats the word “glow”, finally resolving with the call to “glow and dance”. The Piano’s rhythmic motor finally comes to a rest at the last measure.

I Celebrate Life is the second and last movement of the Light Cycle suite. The piece opens with an excited yet hushed ostinato in the Piano. The choir sings the first four lines of the poem by repeating the beginning line and adding the next line until it is complete, utilizing the modern technique of additive processes popular in Minimalism. In the more pensive middle section, the ostinato transforms into a more poignant texture as the Choir “realizes the joy of being through seeing the glorious creation” they are a part of. The ostinato then speeds up and returns to the hushed excitement heard in the opening. The piece concludes with the Choir building up to the most important line of the text: “The most powerful light to celebrate by is love.”

Light Cycle is suitable for any Treble-voiced ensemble. The pieces may be may be performed together or as stand-alone pieces. Both pieces explore imitative polyphony and would be a great way for any Treble- voiced ensemble to explore polyphony and part independence. The SSA divisi may be included or omitted as suited to the needs of the ensemble.

Light Cycle will receive its premiere on December 12, 2019 by the Graham Middle School Choirs conducted by Jennifer Gaderlund in Mountain View, CA.

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Light in the Darkness, commissioned by and dedicated to Dr. Mary Breden, sets the Christmas poem “Light in the Darkness” by poet Norval Clyne (1817-1888). The bright and bell-like piano accompaniment, although sometimes also quiet and pensive, reflects the simultaneous darkness of winter and the shining hope that the Savior’s birth brings the world on Christmas morning. Steadily building in intensity throughout the piece, the choir proclaims the coming great Light that is about to shine. The piece also features surprising modal shifts, harmonic progressions, and modulations.

This carol would fit well in any holiday-themed concert, Festival of Lessons and Carols, or sacred Christmas and/or Epiphany service.

The piece was premiered by the LMU Concert Choir, conducted by Dr. Mary Breden, on December 6th and 8th, 2018 at Sacred Heart Chapel at Loyola Marymount University.

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