The music and lyrics of Songs of Hope in Strange Times: In Times of Rising was written during the COVID-19 global pandemic of 2020-onwards and was commissioned by Loyola Marymount University, directed by T.J. Harper. 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. In Times of Rising, the fifth and final movement of the song cycle, celebrates our return to life, being together, and finding joy once again. It explores how the world around us seems so different once we have gone through difficult experiences. This feeling of seeing things in a different light can apply to so many transformative periods in our lives, including relationships, birth, death, and personal journeys. The hope with this movement and the entire Songs of Hope in Strange Times cycle is to provide a framework in which to process powerful experiences, heal from tremendous loss, and arrive at the other side with wiser minds and hearts.

This movement could be performed as a stand-alone piece or as part of the entire Songs of Hope in Strange Times song cycle.

See other movements:

I. In Times of Descent
II. In Times of Hibernation
III. In Times of Stasis
IV. In Times of Re-Emergence

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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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