What Are We Becoming | SATB Chorus & Organ | 20'
What Are We Becoming was commissioned by Choral Chameleon (Vince Peterson, conductor) for a concert of secular music for chorus and organ titled Deus ex Machina.
The two texts for this piece ask us to consider: even in a world where a god-like figure could potentially swoop in and right every wrong, would it even be possible to find an immediate resolution for huge issues like climate change or mass shootings?
Abigail Welhouse's poem “What Is” asks us to consider our own accountability, asking “what else could we be.” Lynn Ungar's “The Last Good Days” emphasizes that any answers we do find will be “complex” and “demanding,” then encourages us to wake up, give thanks, and sing while we live out these answers.
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I. WHAT IS
What is a balm
What is this place
We've been here before
What is a salve
What is it that opens
What have we become
What is a human
What is a wound
What are we becoming
What else could we be
II. THE LAST GOOD DAYS
What will you do with the last good days?
Before the seas rise and the skies close in,
before the terrible bill
for all our thoughtless wanting
finally comes due?
What will you do
with the last fresh morning,
filled with the watermelon scent
of cut grass and the insistent
bird calling sweet sweet
across the shining day?
Crops are dying, economies failing,
men crazy with the lust for power and fame
are shooting up movie theaters and
engineering the profits of banks.
It is entirely possible
it only gets worse from here.
How can you leave your heart
open to such a vast, pervasive sadness?
How can you close your eyes
to the riot of joy and beauty
The solutions, if there are any
to be had, are complex, detailed,
demanding. The answers
are immediate and small.
Wake up. Give thanks. Sing.
early drafts & composing notes
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