Category:   HIGH SCHOOL CHOIRS
Composer:   Lydia Adams
Arranger:   NA
Publisher:   McGroarty Music Publishing
Edition:   MMP-09M
Voicing:   SSA
Setting:   A Cappella

Reviewer:   

Michael Tamte-Horan
St. Cloud State University 2004
R&R Chair High School Choirs

Treble choir, hand drum, sounds from nature

This is a hauntingly beautiful and effective piece. The non-traditional score initially looks a bit frightening but in fact is quite easy to interpret. The work essentially consists of a continuously held 11-part, half-tone cluster (built one half-step at a time, both ascending and descending), sounds from nature produced by performers (the wind, loons, birds, an owl, a wolf and a chipmunk), and a simple seven-bar chant sung in unison and canon. The chant is a traditional chant of the Mi’kmaq peoples of Eastern Canada honoring their Creator. The work can be heard in performance by the Elmer Isler Singers on a website recording of the 2002 World Choral Symposium (Program 1, Part 2) at americanpublicmedia.us/programs/world_choral/. If the notion of having your choristers sing half-tone clusters concerns you, consider reinforcing them with vibraphone and/or bells using soft mallets. The use of instruments would not impinge on the intended effect of the work and would allow your singers to experience this wonderful multicultural piece. In addition to the sound of the wind produced by choir members on “shh,” you might also consider using ocean drums. The work is intended to be sung with the performers surrounding the audience and will surely be a favorite of your listeners.