The program we share with you today, “Contemporary”, celebrates the modern voice of women and features exclusively music of living female composers. This voice is sometimes celebratory and hopeful, while other times it cries out for change and equality.
Featured on our program are two world premieres. In While I Breathe, I Hope commissioned by Cal Poly Cantabile, Jocelyn Hagen sets the hopeful Latin motto “dum spiro spero” (I breath I hope) to souring and tuneful chords and melodic passages. In contrast, I Pastured My Wolves by Meredith Brammeier explores themes of irony and deception. Things are not always what they seem and people are not always what they appear to be on the surface.
Never One Thing (Corrie Brown) is a choral setting of a pop/folk melody that celebrates the diversity that is found inside each person. In a similar manner, Sound-Bite from Beijing (Ysaye Barnwell) lists off the many things that women are and can be, while crying out for respect and equality in modern day China.
The concert concludes with Let the Life I’ve Lived Speak for Me by Gwyneth Walker. This simple and traditional text is set with open and transparent harmony and is a call for action. To live a life of meaning and love is the greatest gift we can leave behind.
We thank you for allowing us to share this music with you this evening.
THIS IS ME
The “This is Me” National Choral Festival for LGBTQ+ students and allies began in March of 2019 at The College of New Jersey under the direction of Artistic Director and Founder, Dr. Nicholas McBride (he/him), Associate Professor & Coordinator of Music Education at The College of New Jersey. The mission of the event is to empower students and teachers of all sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions through choral music, music education, and shared artistic endeavor. Our goal is to provide a safe, welcoming, and affirming space for students to make music, make friends, celebrate community, and build a positive sense of self in an environment that champions diversity, respect, and inclusion through the arts. Presented by National Concerts and in partnership with The College of New Jersey, we are thrilled to welcome soloist and Artist-in-Residence, Deon’te Goodman from the cast of Hamilton on Broadway, and guest conductor, Dr. J.D. Burnett, from the University of Texas at Austin, to “This is Me” 2023 at Lincoln Center.
All of the repertoire programmed for this evening’s performance is either composed/arranged by members of the LGBTQ+ community, or features themes of acceptance, love, and inclusion that resonate with the spirit and mission of the festival. While serving as Composer-in-Residence at Texas State University in 2011, Andrew Lippa, recognized for composing the music for Broadway’s The Addams Family and The Wild Party, wrote the piece “It Gets Better” as a work of “affirmation and inclusion to anyone who has ever been bullied or felt out of place.” The “It Gets Better Project” was founded by gay activist, author, and journalist Dan Savage in September 2010 as an anti-bullying campaign in response to the outbreak of teenage suicides among the LGBTQ+ community. In addition to two pieces by the well-known American songwriting duo of Pasek and Paul, “This is Me” from the film, The Greatest Showman and “You will be found” from the Tony-Award winning Broadway Musical, Dear Evan Hansen, tonight’s program features a newly commissioned work, also titled, “This is Me”, by composer Melanie Stapleton (she/her). Using original text, Stapleton’s words and music focus on themes of authenticity, acceptance, and self-love in what she describes as, “ideas or sentiments that I wish I had felt as trans kid.” We are honored to perform the world-premiere of this important piece.
CAL POLY SAN LUIS OBISPO CANTABILE
SCOTT GLYSSON, Director
MEREDITH BRAMMEIER, Collaborative Pianist
MAY ERLEWINE Never One Thing, arr. Corie Brown
KELLEY FREDRICKSON, Student Conductor
MEREDITH BRAMMEIER I Pastured My Wolves (World Premiere)
YSAYE BARNWELL Sound-Bite from Beijing
JOCELYN HAGEN While I Breathe, I Hope (World Premiere)
GWYNETH WALKER Let the Life I’ve Lived Speak for Me
THIS IS ME
NATIONAL CONCERT CHORUS
NICHOLAS MCBRIDE, Artistic Director
J.D. BURNETT, Guest Conductor
ANTHONY RAFANIELLO, Collaborative Pianist
ANDREW LIPPA It Gets Better
VICTOR C. JOHNSON Stars I Shall Find
MELANIE STAPLETON This Is Me (World Premiere)
BENJ PASEK & JUSTIN PAUL You Will Be Found (from “Dear Evan Hansen”), arr. Mac Huff
JOSH LAUDE, Drummer
CRAIG HELLA JOHNSON The Innocence (from “Considering Matthew Shepherd”)
BRANDON BAKER, Tenor
BENJ PASEK & JUSTIN PAUL This Is Me (from “The Greatest Showman”), arr. Mac Huff
DEON’TE GOODMAN, Soloist
JOSH LAUDE, Drummer