A Different Kind of Flight | SSATTB Chorus a cappella | 14'

The libretto for A Different Kind of Flight was written by five members of this ensemble—Sonja Bontrager, Jennifer Hayman, Rebekah Reddi, Zachary Sigafoes, and Caroline Winschel—in celebration of the group's tenth anniversary season. The five sections of this piece celebrate the varied experiences we find in singing together: a sense of community, a respite from daily life, and transcendent beauty. All are linked together by a repeating refrain: “I could feel this comfort I hadn’t felt in a long time.”

 

A Different Kind of Flight was commissioned by and is dedicated to the Chestnut Street Singers, a Philadelphia-based cooperative chamber choir. The premiere recording of this piece features soprano soloist Caroline Winschel and is conducted by Kevin Vondrak.

 

Want to program this piece? Preview or purchase A Different Kind of Flight here.

text

The world is chaos.

There seems to be more to fight against and less to be proud of.

 

So much life happens,

and yet the singing continues.

We allow ourselves to be vulnerable. It is not easy.

 

And yet, this is singing of the human condition: Of loss. Of home, or of loss of home.

Of searching, with greater and lesser success. Of love, in its many forms.

 

We are not alone.*

 

I could feel this comfort I haven't felt in a long time,

a real sense of belonging.**

 

I’m a writer, a coworker, a sometimes painter, A friend, a colleague, a boss, a neighbor.

But thanks to Mondays, I’m a singer.

On Mondays, I’m a singer first.

 

I plan dinners, wash dishes, do laundry;

Change diapers, wipe tears, read stories;

Call clients, make changes, meet deadlines.

Manage money, manage time, manage feelings,

Misplace a sock, forget the milk, lose my patience.

 

But thanks to Mondays,

I misplace my worries,

I forget my stress.

I may lose my place.

I may miss a note, a beat, or an entrance.

But thanks to Mondays, I’m a singer.

On Mondays, I’m a singer first.***

 

I could feel this comfort I haven't felt in a long time,

a real sense of belonging.**

 

Dear little one,

 

Here is what we know: Scientists say singing in a choir is good for the brain, like crossword puzzles and meditation.

 

In all these years, I never asked your mother why she wanted a choir. I stood close enough that we breathed the same sleeve of air, close enough that I could hear the humming of her thoughts. It was so much more than what the scientists say!

 

I think a choir is more like flying trapeze than crosswords. We time our flight against the limits of breath and the relief of consonance. We still catch you every time you launch; I’m learning again to trust my own flight.^

 

There was a nest

we each had left,

not exactly fledglings,

but eager

for some different kind of flight.

 

I don’t know who was first —

we opened our mouths

to tell our stories,

sketching out worlds between worlds,

remaking old patterns we learned,

inventing new nests we would build,

healing our bones with the songs we sang

Together.

 

More voices joined— others, too,

who had fallen or jumped

or wished

or despaired

 

to tell a new story

to rejoice in the discovery of hope.^^

 

I could feel this comfort I haven't felt in a long time.

And though I move and travel,

I would lay down most anything

to feel this way again.**

 

 

The texts for A Different Kind of Flight were written by the following current and former members of the Chestnut Street Singers:

 

*Jen Hayman, Reflections on Rumi

**Zachary Sigafoes, from Belonging

***Rebekah Reddi, from Thanks to Mondays

^Caroline Winschel, from Dear Simon

^^Sonja Bontrager, from Two Bluebirds

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