Lyrics by Marian Partee
Music by Christina Whitten Thomas
Middlebury College in Vermont commissioned and premiered this piece to celebrate Su Lian Tan’s twenty-five years of teaching excellence. Kenyon College Chamber Singers performed it in Gambier, Ohio. The work won first place in the Edwin Fissinger Choral Competition at North Dakota State University’s Chalet School of Music, where their choir will perform it this spring.
Listen to the piece performed by the Middlebury College Choir under the direction of Jeff Buettner:
Once I did not speak above a whisper.
My voice was held prisoner beneath my skin.
I stood alone.
I held my breath…
Afraid to be mocked as a fool.
You broke the silence with your song,
A melody succulent and rare,
Enticing me to raise my voice with yours.
I drank deep breath.
I felt my pulse.
My murmurs became music.
New voices joined in our refrain,
A chorus of trav’lers side by side,
Embracing me in all my fears and doubts.
We breathed as one.
Our chords aligned.
Our discord became harmony.
When I lost my voice,
You taught me how to rest
Until my song returned to me.
We stand together on the hill.
Tomorrow blossoms beneath our gaze,
Inviting us to use our voices well:
To tell the truth.
To call for justice,
To speak for those who have been silenced.
When I journey on a winter path alone,
I shall warm myself by your flame within,
And I shall sing.