I. April II. Extending the Range III. Fiddlehead IV. Juncos V. Walking the Marsh
SATB chorus, string quartet or piano
Commissioned by the Alaska Chamber Singers, David Hagen, conductor, in commemoration of their 25th Anniversary Season
April 21, 2012 by the Alaska Chamber Singers, Anton Armstrong, conductor, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Anchorage, AK
Libby Larsen Publishing
David Hagen, director of the Alaska Chamber Singers, contacted me with the idea to commission a work for their 25th Anniversary concert. I was delighted and we set about discussing possible texts. David suggested that I look at the poetry of Tom Sexton, Poet Laureate of Alaska. Being a child of the North Country myself, I resonated deeply with his imagery—still, frozen ground, tender spring plants spiraling towards the light, ravens, juncos, hares, mastodons, trumpeter swans, bears, snowy owls, hummingbirds, ladyslippers, fiddlehead ferns, lichen, insects in bark—hardy and delicate messengers of what has been survived and what is to come, always in the cycles of time and nature. Their message is of hope and persistence in the midst of adversity.
I chose five poems from his volume For the Sake of the Light: New and Selected Poems: “April,”
“Extending the Range,” “Fiddlehead,” “Juncos,” and “Walking the Marsh.” Each poem has its own distinct character, yet the five poems are intertwined through their shared imagery of nature in the grip of northern cold.