Songs of Joy and Refuge
SATB (div.) young adult or adult choir a cappella
Clerestory and the Young Women's Chorus of San Francisco
Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir
Inkjar Publishing Company
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Songs of Joy and Refuge was commissioned to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir (Robert Geary, Artistic Director). When Bob approached me with this project, I immediately thought of the exhilaration of singing and sought to find texts that captured this feeling. In my search, I found two lovely poems by the 20th Century American poet Sara Teasdale (1884-1933), each of which illustrates a different aspect of singing. In Joy, Teasdale expresses happiness through the action of singing, whereas in Refuge, Teasdale relies on singing to lift her spirits. Together, these two poems perfectly express to me why we sing.
I am wild, I will sing to the trees,
I will sing to the stars in the sky,
I love, I am loved, he is mine,
Now at last I can die!
I am sandaled with wind and with flame,
I have heart-fire and singing to give,
I can tread on the grass or the stars,
Now at last I can live!
From my spirit's gray defeat,
From my pulse's flagging beat,
From my hopes that turned to sand
Sifting through my close-clenched hand,
From my own fault's slavery,
If I can sing, I still am free.
For with my singing I can make
A refuge for my spirit's sake,
A house of shining words, to be
My fragile immortality.