This Light

SSATB or SATB with Treble Choir, with piano and (opt. string quartet)

With music and words expressing determination to find a way forward after challenges, this piece reminds us that we “know what hope feels like inside,” and encourages us to move into the future “with purpose, with grace, the sun in my soul, golden light on my face.” It can be done with SSATB choirs, or a combined Treble and SATB choir, with piano and optional string quartet. Commissioned in celebration of Rainier Youth Choirs’ 15th Anniversary Season, Leora Schwitters, Founder and Artistic Director. Click here to learn more about poet Jordan Chaney.

this light

from the
mouth of the earth
like gold on fire

the sun speaks and
spills its secrets of life
of light

then sings them to me

I know what hope
feels like inside

a light in the spirit
a place not too distant

past shadows
and dimness

this light
I feel it

it shines
it shines
and brighter

waxing away
still making a way

sorrow became faith
woke up the next day
with purpose
with grace

the sun in my soul
golden light on my face

~Jordan Chaney
10 December 2021

A Little Song of Life

Upper Voices, Lower Voices, or Mixed Voices with piano

“Glad that I live, am I!” This setting of Lizette Woodworth Reese’s poem is full of joy, hope, and positive energy, to lift up and inspire both your singers and audiences. A particularly effective piece for festivals and festival choirs. It is now available for Upper Voices, Lower Voices, and Mixed voices with Piano.





The energy, hope and positive energy in the poem is reinforced by the layered rhythms and syncopations in both the piano and voice parts. The poem is divided into three parts. The first part is an expression of the feeling of the joy of the natural world. The middle section explores in simple terms the cyclical nature of natural systems. When the musical material returns, it is both recognizable and developed a little more each time. The third section introduces the last lines of the poems as a mantra, repeated back and forth between two parts while a descant group soars above them.

A Little Song of Life

Glad that I live am I;
That the sky is blue;
Glad for the country lanes,
And the fall of dew.
After the sun the rain,
After the rain the sun;
This is the way of life,
Till the work be done.
All that we need to do,
Be we low or high,
Is to see that we grow
Nearer the sky.

by Lizette Woodworth Reese

Here, Bullet

Song Cycle for Tenor, Piano, and optional Mixed Chorus

Seven songs from poet Brian Turner’s book “Here, Bullet,” poems written during his service in Iraq. More information about the poet and the the book “Here, Bullet” can be found on his website.

The cycle can be performed by voice and piano alone or with chorus. In the choral version, 3. Sadiq is sung by the chorus alone, and two others (2. Ashbah and 5. Jameel) are sung with soloist, chorus, and piano. The full score contains both versions, and the choral score contains just the three songs they sing.

Also available is the third song, Sadiq, which may be performed alone by chorus.

Five of the seven songs premiered in Salem, Oregon, on Veteran’s Day, 2013. The complete cycle premiered February 23, 2014 by tenor Les Green, pianist Tara Pegasus, and the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers, Justin Raffa, Artistic Director.

Here is a score video of the last song, sung and played by the composer, followed by recordings of the complete cycle.

Full Score
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Choral Score: Ashbah, Sadiq, Jameel
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