top of page

How to Go On | 35'
SSAATTBB Chorus a cappella with soloists

"A crushingly deep dive into grief that feels unbearably light." —The Washington Post

This piece is now available for solo voice.

Following the death of a loved one, poet Barbara Crooker asks, "How can we go on, knowing the end of the story?" Secular requiem How to Go On answers this question in eight movements that range from questioning and doubt (“How”) to introspection (“Relinquishment”) to an acceptance of mortality (“When at Last”).


Threading solo voices in and out of the choral texture, How to Go On asks how we confront our own mortality after a loss, and how, in the face of that knowledge, we bring quiet grace back into our daily lives. Ultimately, this work finds beauty, catharsis, and solace in the words of three living poets: Crooker, Amy Fleury, and Laura Foley.

How to Go On was commissioned by Choral Arts Initiative (Brandon Elliott, director) and premiered on July 16, 2016 in Anaheim, California. This piece is recorded on Choral Arts Initiative's debut album How to Go On: The Choral Works of Dale Trumbore, which also features Trumbore's works In the Middle, Lodestar, and After the Storm Passes. A rave review from Textura called the album "remarkable," noting that "the pristine clarity of the group's singing is a constant source of joy." 

Since its premiere, How to Go On has been performed by ensembles including Cantori, The Esoterics, the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, Los Angeles Master Chorale, and The Singers - Minnesota Choral Artists. The piece was awarded a 2017 ASCAP Morton Gould Award.


The score for How to Go On, along with scores for each individual movement, are available through Graphite Marketplace. The movements of this piece were designed to be programmed in a flexible order, and How to Go On can also be performed in single- or multi-movement excerpts.

movements (in recording order)

1. How

2. However Difficult

3. To See It

4. Relinquishment

5. Requiescat

6. Knowing the End

7. Sometimes Peace Comes

8. When at Last

learn more

Read the full lyrics for How to Go On or view Dr. Stuart Dameron's doctoral thesis, A Conductor's Guide to Dale Trumbore's How to Go On.

Learn about the process behind How to Go On in interviews with Dale Trumbore.

How to Go On Album Cover
bottom of page