Listening for what comes next

This spring, early in the extended moment of suspension and threat that we are still living through, and waiting for the uncertain end of, I was approached by Edmonton Opera about the possibility of collaborating with a local composer on a song responding to the pandemic. We knew the song would be released–maybe digitally, maybe in person–this fall, but of course we had no idea what the fall would look like. From the beginning of our work, the future into which the song would arrive was uncertain, the context for the song’s reception was unclear. Even before we began officially working on the project in July, I started walking with the question of what could be said–or, more specifically, what could be sung–about this time, what words could possibly accompany another person in some way, or be of some use, or consolation.

Thanks to the support of the Edmonton Arts Council and the incredible work of local composer Jennifer McMillan–as well as the vision and generosity and expertise of everyone at the Edmonton Opera–the song that grew from this seed of walking and wondering had its digital premiere last week.

You can listen to it here–and, if you like, you can also listen to me talk about the process of writing the words for this piece.

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