I will sing..... (manuscript)
I will sing..was commissioned by Katrina Mothershaw and the St. Aidan's Anglican Girls' School Concert Band (Brisbane, Australia) in honor of the school's 80th anniversary.
When Katrina Mothershaw asked me to compose a work for concert band and female choir in honor of the 80th anniversary of St. Aidan's Anglican Girls' School, the first step was settling on a text that would be meaningful for all involved. Ideally, I wanted to write something that would be personally significant for the girls in the ensemble, but would also reflect the celebratory nature of the occasion.
As I searched for what might be meaningful for the girls, I reflected on recent experiences. Only a few months before the commission, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting several of them at a convention in the United States, so I knew something of the personality of the girls. As I discussed the piece further with Miss Mothershaw, she mentioned how wonderfully musical the band was and how successfully they conveyed emotion through their playing. Based on these experiences, I knew that I wanted to write a piece that would be emotional in a personal way.
Next I considered the anniversary itself. I began to reflect upon the values of St. Aidan's as possible inspiration and came across a phrase in the school's literature which stated that St. Aidan's sees their focus as 'preparing a place for God in our own hearts and minds, within our school community, and in the world in which we live.' Communicating this idea eventually became a significant focus for the piece.
Miss Mothershaw and I discussed several ideas for the text, beginning first with some excerpts from the psalms, then considering the possibility of writing original text. In the end, however, I returned to the psalms, discovering Psalm 13 from the King James version, which appeared to be perfect in every way. The psalm seems to reflect an individual's emotional journey, through questioning and doubt to a sense of trust and rejoicing, in other words, truly 'preparing a place for God.' The fact that the climactic line of the psalm begins with the words "I will sing unto the Lord" made it even more perfect for the ensemble and the occasion!
Performance by the St. Aidan's Anglican Girls' School Concert Band and Choir, Katrina Mothershaw, conductor