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Concert Programs

NC State Choirs: Dreams and Inspirations

April 21, 2023 | 7:30 p.m. | Stewart Theatre

The NC State
Department of Performing Arts and Technology


NC State Choirs
Dreams and Inspirations

University Singers
Chamber Singers
State Chorale
The Lyricosa Quartet

Dr. Nathan Leaf, conductor
Ariadna Nacianceno, piano


Welcome to the performance.
Our concert tonight features singing from all three of our choral ensembles, including world premieres of sparkling new compositions by two illustrious composers, NC State faculty member, Peter Askim, and Raleigh-based composer, Pepper Choplin.


State Chorale
with the Lyricosa Quartet

To The Hands
Caroline Shaw (b. 1982)

  • I. Prelude
  • II. in medio
  • III. Her beacon-hand beckons
  • IV. ever, ever, ever
  • V. Litany of the displaced
  • VI. I will hold you

The first work on the program, Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw’s To The Hands, was commissioned as a response to Ad manus from Dieterich Buxtehude’s 17th century masterpiece, Membra Jesu Nostri. It begins inside the 17th century sound of Buxtehude. It expands and colors and breaks this language, as the piece’s core considerations, of the suffering of those around the world seeking refuge, and of our role and responsibility in these global and local crises, gradually come into focus.

The prelude turns the tune of Ad manus into a wordless plainchant melody, punctured later by the strings’ introduction of an unsettling pattern. The second movement fragments Buxtehude’s choral setting of the central question, “quid sunt plagae istae in medio manuum tuarum,” or “what are these wounds in the midst of your hands.” It settles finally on an inversion of the question, so that we reflect, “What are these wounds in the midst of our hands?” We notice what may have been done to us, but we also question what we have done and what our role has been in these wounds we see before us.

The text that follows in the third movement is a riff on Emma Lazarus’ sonnet The New Colossus, famous for its engraving at the base of the Statue of Liberty. The poem’s lines “Give me your tired, your poor,/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” and its reference to the statue’s “beacon-hand” present a very different image of a hand — one that is open, beckoning, and strong. No wounds are to be found there — only comfort for those caught in a dangerous and complex environment. While third movement operates in broad strokes from a distance, the fourth zooms in on the map so far that we see the intimate scene of an old woman in her home, maybe setting the table for dinner alone. Who is she, where has she been, whose lives has she left? This simple image melts into a meditation on the words in caverna from the Song of Solomon, found in Buxtehude’s fourth section, Ad latus.

In the fifth movement the harmony is passed around from one string instrument to another, overlapping only briefly, while numerical figures are spoken by the choir. These are global figures of internally displaced persons, by country, sourced from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) data reported in May 2015 (accessed on 20/03/2016 at www.internal-displacement.org). Sometimes data is the cruelest and most honest poetry.

The sixth and final movement unfolds the words in caverna into the tumbling and comforting promise of “ever ever” — “ever ever will I hold you, ever ever will I enfold you”. They could be the words of Christ, or of a parent or friend or lover, or even of a nation.

quid sunt plagae istae in medio manuum tuarum
what are those wounds in the midst of your hands
quid sunt plagae istae in medio manuum nostrarum
what are those wounds in the midst of our hands

Her beacon-hand beckons:
give to me
those yearning to breathe free
tempest-tossed they cannot see
what lies beyond the olive tree
whose branch was lost amid the pleas
for mercy, mercy

give to me
your tired fighters feeing flying
from the
let them
i will be your refuge
i will be
we will be your refuge

ever ever ever
in the window sills or
the beveled edges
of the aging wooden frames that hold
old photographs
hands folded
gently in her lap

ever ever
in the crevices

the never-ending efforts of
the grandmother’s tendons tending
to her bread and empty chairs
left for Elijahs
where are they now

in caverna
in the hollows

The choir speaks numbers sourced from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre as of 01/03/2016. These are the numbers of internally displaced persons by country, in ascending order. These are people, some of whom may have legal refugee status, who have been displaced within their own country due to armed conflict, situations of generalized violence or violations of human rights.

i would hold you
ever ever will i hold you
ever ever will i enfold you
in medio

in the midst
in medio manuum tuarum
in the midst of your hands

***Brief Intermission***

Chamber Singers

Three Madrigals
Emma Lou Diemer (b. 1927)

  • I. O Mistress Mine, where are you roaming
  • II. Take, O Take those lips away
  • III. Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more!

Trois Chansons de Charles d’Orléans
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)

  • I. Dieu! Qu’il la fait bon regarder
  • II. Quant j’ai ouy le tabourin
  • III. Yver, vous n’estes qu’un villain

Trois Chanson de Charles d’Orléans
Text by Charles d’Orléans (1394-1465)

Dieu! qu’il la fait bon regarder
God, what a vision she is;
la gracieuse bonne et belle;
one imbued with grace, true and beautiful!
pour les grans biens que sont en elle
For all the virtues that are hers
chascun est prest de la loüer.
everyone is quick to praise her.
Qui se pourrait d’elle lasser?
Who could tire of her?
Toujours sa beauté renouvelle.
Her beauty constantly renews itself;
Par de ça, ne de là, la mer
On neither side of the ocean
ne scay dame ne damoiselle
do I know any girl or woman
qui soit en tous bien parfais telle.
who is in all virtues so perfect;
C’est un songe que d’y penser:
it’s a dream even to think of her;
Dieu! qu’il la fait bon regarder.
God, what a vision she is.

Quant j’ai ouy le tabourin
When I heard the tambourine
Sonner, pour s’en aller au may
call us to go a-Maying,
En mon lit n’en ay fait affray
I did not let it frighten me in my bed,
Ne levé mon chief du coissin
or lift my head from my pillow,
En disant: il est trop matin
saying “It is too early,
Ung peu je me rendormirai:
I’ll just sleep a little bit more.“
Jeunes gens partent leur butin:
Young people share their loot.
De non cha loir m’accointeray
I will casually acquaint myself with it
A lui je m’a butineray
clinging to it like a bee to nectar,
Trouvé l’ay plus prouchain voisin;
only to discover my nearest neighbor.

Yver, vous n’estes qu’un villain;
Winter, you are naught but a rouge.
Esté est plaisant et gentil
Summer is pleasant and kind
En témoing de may et d’ávril
as we see from May and April
Qui l’accompaignent soir et main.
which accompany it evening and morning.
Esté revet champs, bois et fleurs
Summer, by nature’s order, clothes
De sa livrée de verdure
fields, woods, and flowers
Et de maintes autres couleurs
with its livery of green
Par l’ordonnance de nature.
and many other hues.
Mais vous Yver, trop estes plein
But you, Winter, are too full of
De nège, vert, pluye et grézil.
snow, wind, rain, and sleet.
On vous deust banir en évil.
We must send you into exile.
Sans point flater je parle plein,
With no flattery, I speak my mind;
Yver, vous n’estes qu’un villain
Winter, you are naught but a rouge.

Two Jazz Classics

  • Georgia on my Mind
    Hoagy Carmichael, arr. Puerling
  • Blue Skies
    Irving Berlin, arr. Zegree

University Singers

Z. Randall Stroope (b. 1953)

She Lingers On
Zanaida Robles (b. 1970)

Look! Be: leap;
Libby Larsen (b. 1950)

Where We Find Ourselves
Michael Bussewitz-Quarm (b. 1971)

  • III. Would you know me by my work?
  • V. Memento Vivere

*Co-commissioned by the NC State Department of Music in 2020

Over My Head
Spiritual, arr. Podd

Nothin’ Gonna Stumble My Feet
Greg Gilpin (b. 1964)

State Chorale

Peter Askim (b. 1971, NC State faculty)
*World Premiere

Text by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.

Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels.

This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.

The Mountains Are Calling
Pepper Choplin (b. 1957)
*World Premiere

Based on the writings of John Muir (1838-1914)

The mountains are calling, and I must go.

I will break away and go there to wash my spirit clean,
I will listen to the music of trees and the flowing stream,
Every one of us needs beauty and bread to make us whole,
For Nature comes to heal us, giving strength to body and soul.

The wild world is beautiful wherever I may go,
To the mountains of the lowlands where the woodland streams will flow.
By God’s eternal love and beauty our deepest souls are blessed,
In nature’s sacred chambers there is peace and quiet rest.

The mountains are calling, and I must go.

Music of Dreams

  • To Sit and Dream
    Rosephanye Powell (b. 1962)
  • I Dream a World
    André J. Thomas (b. 1952)
  • Flight Song
    Kim André Arnesen (b. 1980)
  • Leonardo Dreams of his Flying Machine
    Eric Whitacre (b. 1970)

The Road Home
Stephen Paulus (1949-2014)


Chamber Singers


Rone Roux
Maddie Martin
Anna Muchukot
Jade Vogelsong


Kathryn Adams
Francesca Balestrieri
Sammie Graff
Claire Heins
Charmaine Pereira


Devon Olds
Dylan Magistrado
Michael Clark


Justin Farmer
Oscar Herrera
Landon Perry
Yi Chen

University Singers


Janet Brock
Kat Caughron
Abby Dayton
Katie Farrell
Emma Johnson
Natascha Kraus Feld
Kaitlyn Lincoln
Alicia Marrero
Mya Parker
Julia Reinbold
Rone Roux
Olivia Smith
Chloe Tacket
Emily Vera
Ash Whiteside


Michaela Abraham
Alyssa Allen
Nicole Berkin
Tessa Bowers
Kira Brown
Laura Carter
Kara Cushman
Rachel Falkowski
Alex Fountain
Gracie Hudson
Dani Huston
Kenna Matheney
Chloe Orchard
Anna Russell
Cecilia Shaw
Eva Vestal
Allie Wagner
Ruthie Wainwright
Carynne White


Charles Cser
Oscar Herrera
Howard Jacobs
Adam Malik
Ian Livengood
Jack Medlock
Bennett Perry
Kyle Setzer
Ty Smoak
Logan Tyler
Amar Woodrow

State Chorale


Lindsey Cox
Patricia Costes
Evelyn Del Campo
Sam Hayes
Sloane Hovey
Izzy Humphreys
Sofia Leander
Maddie Martin
Anna Muchukot
Mollie Powell
Sharanya Ravi Kumar
Kaitlyn Riley
Mary Schrader
Jade Vogelsong


Kathryn Adams
Francesca Balestrieri
Kellie Boykin
Lily Campbell
Preethi Coulter
Sammie Graff
Lucy Grindstaff
Kira Hageness
Katherine Hunt
Charmaine Pereira
Anna Powell
Zoë Smith
Day Steed
Sara Trimesh


Nick Abbate
Michael Clark
Oscar Herrera
James Kinsella
Dylan Magistrado
Jack Medlock
Devon Olds
Mason Sluder
Samuel Tucker


Kevin Ballesteros
Jack Bishop
Yi Chen
Coltan Compton
Heath Dyer
Ryan Faucette
Trevor Libner
James Marlowe
Ian McGregor
Justin Montalvo
Noel Osagie
Graham Otten
Landon Perry
Benjamin Radspinner
Ben Rutledge

Lyricosa Quartet

Carol Chung, violin
Lucas Scalamogna, violin
Simon Ertz, viola
Lauren Dunseath, cello
With Emily Rupp Buccola, bass

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