Today I had the delightful opportunity to chat on the phone with the young men in the Upper Division Choir at St. Mark’s Episcopal School in Dallas.  They commissioned a new piece and took it out for its first test drive today.  After sending me the recording, their director (and my dear friend) Tinsley Silcox asked if I could chat with them on the phone.

The students asked wonderfully difficult and insightful questions.  I can always tell when the questions are good if I have a difficult time answering them.  This is my second “Composer Q&A” this month.  I find them to be extremely stimulating, and I strive not to give easy answers.  I think I’ll do a series of blog posts on that subject soon.

One of the things that excites me most about this project is the work of Tinsley Silcox.  He has not had this choir for very long, and it is safe to say that he is in a building phase at the school.  This should serve as an inspiration for conductors who complain about not having resources.  This choir is composed of 4 freshman, 7 juniors, and 1 senior.  Tins has the boys striving to sing expressively, working to tune, and above all, they are listening to each other.

I have reprinted the text by San Juan de la Cruz and the lovely translation by my friend Dr. Colleen Baade below.

La blanca palomica
    al arca con el ramo se ha tornado
    y ya la tortolica
    al socio deseado
    en las riberas verdes ha hallado.

En soledad vivía,
    y en soledad ha puesto ya su nido,
    y en soledad la guía
    a solas su querido,
    también en soledad de amor herido.

The little white dove has returned with the branch to the ark; and now the sweet turtledove has found her longed-for mate upon the green riverbank.

She lived in solitude, and in solitude she now has built her nest; and in solitude, her beloved guides her alone, likewise in solitude wounded by love.