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Here We Can Dream

SATB chorus, tenor solo, opt. percussion–5′

A song about finding home in a strange land.

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SKU: No. 7369 (ECS) Categories: ,

Description

Here We Can Dream (2007)

SATB chorus, unaccompanied, tenor solo, with optional percussion
5′ duration
Text: Anne Goetz, based on an interview with Mohamed Hadi
Commissioned by the Minnesota Chorale, Kathy Saltzman Romey, Artistic Director, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Target Foundation.
Premiere—2007, by the choir of Saint Paul Central High School, Martha Graber, cond. as part of Bridges 2007: Sing Me a Home.
Published by ECS. Distributed by Canticle.


Program note

I was a member of the Minnesota Chorale, the symphonic chorus of the Minnesota Orchestra, from 1997 to 2005, and sang Britten’s War Requiem and Elijah with Shaw, Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion with Rilling, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with Bicket, Mahler VIII with Zinman, and many performances of Messiah under various conductors. But the Chorale’s mission extends beyond the orchestral literature. Artistic director Kathy Saltzman Romey conceived the Bridges program to “build musical and social bridges to diverse populations” through choral music. Bridges 2007 was a landmark collaboration with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, using music to explore the idea of “home” and to deepen awareness of issues relating to affordable housing and poverty.

As part of the Chorale’s 2007 Bridges project, Sing Me a Home, I was commissioned to write a work with an unusual triple purpose: to write for unaccompanied high school chorus; to tell the story of a Somali immigrant family; and to set the text of a high-school poet. I was fortunate to be paired with Anne Goetz, a perceptive and talented writer. Mentored by Heid Erdrich, Anne fashioned the story of Mohamed Hadi’s journey from Mogadishu to Minneapolis into a poem, and I adapted her words into three verses and a chorus.

Read Karl Gehrke’s Minnesota Public Radio story and listen to the audio here.

Notes for performance

Sing the opening wordless chorus confidently. It may be louder than the indicated piano dynamic.
In measure 15, each soprano should feel like a soloist.
The first appearance of “kani waa gurigii” (“this was home”) in m. 34-36 should stand out.
The second-verse tenor solo can be strong, almost pop-style.
Don’t neglect the [p] of “hope” in m. 59.
The peak of the coda, m. 132, should bubble vigorously.

Text

The warm sun in the deep-dyed azure sky
Traveled evenly each day, constant as the way
We welcomed foreigners with open arms.
This was home. Kani waa gurigii.*

But one day I came home from work to see the children
All holding guns. Each night I heard the fighting getting closer
And I knew we had to leave.

But here we can dream, here we have hope.
Here we can open our doors to those still waiting in the cold,
And our home becomes their home, too.
This is home.

The sky is bleached to gray;
A bitter wind tears leaves from the trees.
Dark swallows up the day.

But here we can dream, here we have hope.
Here we can open our doors to those still waiting in the cold,
And our home becomes their home, too.
This is home. Kani waa gurigii.

*”This is (or was) home” in the Somali language.

-Anne Goetz, based on an interview with Mohamed Hadi. Used by permission of the author.

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