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Lines of Reflection

for SSAATB

Text by Richard Barnes

premiered November 11, 2001

Pomona College Choir
Donna M. Di Grazia, conductor
Bridges Hall, Claremont, California


Soprano I
Taryn Catherine Benarroch
Pamela Burge
Valerie Dawley
Elsbeth H. Escher
Jen Goslee
Gina Moty
Elana Muchnik
Andrea Reese
Elizabeth Siegel
Jennifer Sorenson

Soprano II
Sarah Drewniak
Emiliana Duarte
Jennifer Hardee
Kumiko Kawasa
Robin Letostak
Anna Motschenbacher
Joy Osborne
Emily Petrick
Abbey Pope
Jocelyn Robson
Christine Speidel
Candice Tewell
Susan Wallach

 

Alto I
Meghan Askins
Toby Branz
Isabel Daniels
Laurel Ecke
Saffron Hunter
Ashley Kent
Jennifer Locke
Alison Mathes
Meghan McFarlane
Lisa Molle
Audra Nemir

 

Alto II
Kaili Palmer
Lynn Sarf
Emily Sherman
Cathy Smith
Adeline Veillet
C. Elizabeth Williams
Alto II
Sarah Bernthal
Laura Bowles
Jocelyn Burke
Emily de Ayora
Alison Ellsworth
Vicki George
Paula Goldsmid
Ariana Klitzner
Laurence Meloty-Kapella
Anjuli Kurtz-Paroo
Barbara Suminski
G. Caroline Tancaktiong
Rebecca Taylor
Julia Wells

 

Tenor
Daniel Chen
Ryan Dugger
Bryan Hedlind
Jonathan Hung
Will Jeck
Timothy Karp
Mary Lawrence
Andrew Miller
Sandor Prater
Krishnan Rangarajan
Jared Roscoe
Timothy H. Sachs
Laura Staum
Ari Sommer
Matt Zay

 

Bass
Robert Beahrs
David Goldsheft
Hans Hassell
Aaron Hayes-Roth
Jake Oken-berg
Perry Rutter
Wayne Steinmetz
Nick Villalon
Mark Wolfmeyer
Steve Young
Samuel Belcher
Christopher M.Billingham
ZacharyBryant
Chad Edmund Foerster
Drew Harrison Foerster
Forest Day Himmelfarb
Ian MacMillen
Drew Orr
Martin Rutkowski
Amar Shah
Jacob Sloane
Adam Campbell Strauss
Genji Torihara
Will Trevor

Lines of Reflection was inspired by correspondence between two Pomona College colleagues. Professors Richard Loucks and Richard Barnes were both students here, they both spent their entire teaching careers here, and they both spent many hours in Bridges Hall of Music over the course of nearly half a century.

Richard Loucks’ connections to Pomona and to Bridges predate his student days as an undergraduate. His father wrote the alma mater. Professor Loucks taught music theory in the Music Department for over 40 years, during the course of which he attended countless concerts in Bridges and participated in many as a performer or vicariously, as a maker of keyboard instruments featured in concerts.

Richard Barnes taught in the English Department for nearly 40 years, and displayed an avid interest in music, active as the rhythm section of many jazz ensembles and as a listener of a wide range of music. He was very supportive of musical activities on the campus, and could often be seen in Bridges Hall, listening to students, faculty, and invited guests, or performing.

Facing a difficult illness in 1993, Professor Loucks commissioned a poem from Professor Barnes:

"Do you accept commissions? I need a poem to help me through some problems. Would you make me one? Ten or twelve lines would do. If you are willing, fill it with lovely words; include the phrase "The earth is so beautiful . . ." I can feel this poem inside me sometimes, but I cannot find it. Despite the above you are under no constraint to use those suggestions, nor is its purpose to alleviate anything. I am just asking for a poem to memorize, and contemplate - - like a tree or a beautiful dog.

The older I become the more the beauty of the earth fills me with joy and peace and amazement that everything I look at is in some way beautiful. I cannot get over wondering how it happened.

I can not converse about this. My voice fails me when I need it."

Professor Barnes responded with the poem you will hear tonight, and invited me to set it. Professor Loucks passed away in 1993, and Professor Barnes in 2000. This second concert in a series celebrating the reopening of Bridges Hall seemed the ideal event to present this setting of Professor Barnes’ beautiful poem.

 

He said, "So beautiful, this earth, that . . ."
then he stopped. Who could complete
a thought like that? That what?

Heaven surrounds us - - every night and day
we see the unimaginably far away
then turn to see the blue, our own blue sky

That isn't anywhere but in our mind
here on our own blue speck that is answering the sky.
If that true blue is here, then where can beauty be?

Waiting like blue, to be here if we are?
Or like the sky, whether blue or jeweled with stars?
Like God, whose gaze will pierce us from afar?

Yes, like God, who gently does look back
when we look out or in, away from our grief and lack.

-Richard Barnes

Lines of Reflection is dedicated to Donna Di Grazia and the Pomona Colege Glee Club.

score excerpt

 

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