In a world torn apart by chaos and conflict, this song follows a doctor through her day:
She sits beside her daughter, listening to her breathe in the early morning.
She prepares for work, donning her protective gear and gathering her courage.
She watches the news, terrible violence repeated over and over.
She sits beside her patient's bed, willing her to fight. Willing her to keep breathing.
The pantoum-inspired lyrics by Oregon writer E.M. Lewis feature a repeated line that shifts in placement and meaning in the verses as we follow the doctor through her day with a musical mixture of major and minor modes in triple and quadruple rhythms, mirroring her unsettled emotions. The sonorous, versatile voice of the cello adds depth and harmonic richness to the vocal lines, as well as the sound of heartbeats and the beeping of hospital machines. The breath of the singers, so fundamental to singing and so dangerous in the pandemic, creates its own texture, meaning, and reaction to each new situation, as all the scenes in this doctor's day are connected by breath. So what does it mean to be "Breathing in This Moment?" It means literally breathing, keep breathing. And it means figuratively breathing in and experiencing in all the emotions of the time, perhaps in a deeper way that we ever have before in connection, determination, fear, horror, empathy, strength, and hope.
Finalist for the American Choral Directors Association Genesis Prize, 2020.
Commissioned by the choral consortium of:
West Linn High School Symphonic Choir
Jesuit High School Chamber Choir
Lake Oswego High School A Cappella Choir
Rex Putnam High School A Cappella Choir
Wilsonville High School Choir.
Breathing in This Moment
Scores for this new piece will be available for purchase and immediate download after the exclusive commission premiere window ends on October 15, 2021.