a blue true dream of sky

Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church
Sunday, June 2nd, 2024 at 3:00pm
Saturday, June 8th, 2024 at 7:00pm

Song List

Prologue: Mother Earth
Okâwîmâw Askiy Sherryl Sewepagaham (b. 1972)

Part I: teach me humility…
We Bloomed in Spring Edie Hill (b. 1962)

O süsser Mai Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

In beauty may I walk Jonathan Dove (b. 1959)
…as blossoms are humble with beginnings

Part II: teach me courage…
Mata del anima sola Antonio Estevez (1916-1988)
Neal Eaden, soloist
Hotaru koi arr. Rō Ogura (1916-1990)

i thank You God Gwyneth Walker (b. 1947)
…as the tree that stands alone


Part III: teach me renewal…
TaReKiTa Reena Esmail (b. 1983)

Sure on this shining night Samuel Barber (1910-1981)

Earth Song Frank Ticheli (b. 1958)
…as the seed that rises in spring

Part IV: teach me quiet…
Earth Teach Me Quiet Ēriks Ešenvalds (b. 1977)
Kyle Gough, marimba

Loch Lomond arr. Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
Adam Brown, Ethan Roday, Ben Rider, soloists

The Road Home Stephen Paulus (1949-2014)
…as the grasses are still with light

Epilogue: on and on
again (changed return) David Lang (b. 1957)

Director’s Note

Of Nature and Cycles
Our final concerts of the season, “a blue true dream of sky,” bring our cyclical season to a close, but rather like our season opener, they represent an ending that brings a new beginning. A program sparkling with color, full of spring exuberance and of plaintive reflection. Prayers and music, full of the rich diversity of joy, sorrow, and the bounty of life.

A pair of pieces anchor our sensibility for this program: first, our prologue, Sherryl Sewepagaham’s Okâwîmâw Askiy, with its direct poetry: “Mother Earth / We are your children / We love you.” A composer of Cree-Dene ancestry, Sherryl writes that “the Elders teach us that as Cree people, we have a reciprocal relationship with Mother Earth. She teaches us many things and our responsibility is to protect and care for her.” In a similar vein, the structure of the concert is built around an Indigenous prayer of the Ute people, whose “Earth Teach Me Quiet” implores us to delve even deeper into how we can learn from the natural world around us. Each of the four sections takes its name from a phrase in the prayer, which will later be heard in musical form, set by Ēriks Ešenvalds.

In part one, we ask for humility: music and texts that function as blossoms, humble with beginnings. Edie Hill’s “We Bloomed In Spring” is exactly that—a piece that begins from nothing, and blossoms into an extraordinary statement of trust and faith, musically and textually. Johannes Brahms writes about “sweet May” in a simple 3-part structure (ABA), which represents the duality of a fervent and peaceful May, that effortlessly floats into the sky. Third, we hear from Jonathan Dove, who sets a Navajo prayer in his typical post-minimalist aesthetic; nearly the entire piece is structured around the opening motive heard in the tenors and basses.

We trade humility for courage in part two—exploring the louder, more demonstrative lessons of the Earth. Antonio Estevez’s “Mata del anima sola” imitates a band in the llanero tradition of his native Venezuela, complete with onomatopoetic strums of the cuatro and percussive effects. Next, the treble voices buzz as fireflies chase each other in an arrangement of a classic Japanese children’s song/game by Ro Ogura, “Hotaru koi.” The first half closes with the piece and poem which give our concert its name, “i thank You God,” by Gwyneth Walker, with a text by the incomparable e.e. cummings. Gwyneth sensitively sets the poem in a rhapsodic romp of delight and wonder, highlighting the joy and reverence in cummings’s text.

In part three, we seek renewal, our reminder in spring that seeds rise, and life persists despite its winter hibernation. Reena Esmail’s “TaReKiTa” fuses the Hindustani and Western classical music traditions in which she was raised, and hums with rhythmic vitality and excitement to create a musical bridge between cultures. In “Sure on this shining night,” James Agee and Samuel Barber view a summer night as something that heals us, that holds us, and might make us “weep for wonder.” Frank Ticheli’s “Earth Song” serves as his plea to keep our refuges always within reach, by offering four simple instructions: “Sing. Be. Live. See.”

To close the concert, we ask for that which can be the most revealing: “quiet”. Ešenvalds’s gorgeous, layered setting of the entire prayer elucidates so many ways we can learn; we find an entire lifetime within these 9 minutes. In Ralph Vaughan Williams’s charming arrangement of “Loch Lomond” for low voices, the loch provides a place for us to reminisce about love, our past, and the things that remain in our memory. We see that through the lens of returning with Stephen Paulus’s “Road Home,” which we’ve “left” and “lost,” but hearing a voice that “will lead [us] home.”

And for us, on this program, and this season, home is David Lang’s “again (changed return).” We started our season with this piece which, at its core, it has a simple message: “what happened before will happen again.” For that reason, it serves as the frame for our season, “Of Nature & Cycles;” to borrow from David’s program notes, though, “this is not an ordinary repeat. We are changed by the experiences we have, sometimes in ways so small or subtle that we are not even aware of them ourselves.”

We hope that this concert, and this season, have changed you in some way—imperceptible or obvious. We hope that your time spent with us made it possible to see something differently, to consider something profound, to hear something new. May you walk among the beauty and explore the apparent seasons of life and death; seek out more humility and courage, quiet and renewal. Be present to the Earth and each other and discover where that might lead you.

Jeremy Edelstein
Artistic Director

Texts and Translations

Okâwîmâw Askiy – Sherryl Sewepegaham
Mother Earth
We are your children
We love you
—vocables with Cree words added

We Bloomed in Spring – Edie Hill
bloomed in Spring.
Our bodies
are the leaves of God.
The apparent seasons of life and death
our eyes can suffer;
but our souls, dear. I will just say this forthright:
they are God
we will never perish
unless He
—translation by Daniel Ladinsky (b. 1948)
Words of St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), from Love Poems from God

O süsser Mai – Johannes Brahms
O sweet May,
streaming freely,
I stand close-mouthed,
my eyes querulous.
I see neither your green array,
your colorfully blossoming splendour,
nor your blue skies;
to the earth I gaze.
O sweet May,
release me
like a song
along the dark hedge.
—Ludwig Achim von Arnim (1781-1831)

In beauty may I walk – Jonathan Dove
In beauty may I walk.
All day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons may I walk.
Beautifully will I possess again.
Beautifully joyful birds.
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.
With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk.
With dew about my feet may I walk.
With beauty before me.
With beauty behind me.
With beauty above me.
With beauty all around me.
It is finished in beauty.
—Navajo prayer, translation by Jerome K. Rothenberg (1931-2024)

Mata del anima sola – Antonio Estevez
Tree of the lonely soul,
wide opening of the riverside—
now you will be able to say:
Here slept Cantaclaro.
pilin, pilin, pilin…

With the whistle and the sting
of the twisting wind,
the dappled and violet dusk
quietly entered the corral.

The night, tired mare,
shakes her mane and black tail
above the riverside;
and, in its silence,
your ghostly heart is filled with awe.
—Alberto Arvelo Torrealba (1905-1971)

Hotaru koi – arr. Ro Ogura
Ho, firefly, come, there’s some water that’s bitter to taste,
come, here’s some water that’s sweet to your taste;
ho, firefly, ho, up this mountain path.
Firefly’s daddy struck it rich, so he’s got lots of dough,
no wonder that his rear end sparkles in the dark.
Ho, firefly, up this mountain path.
In the daytime hiding ‘mongst the dewy blades of grass,
but when it’s night, his lantern burns bright.
Even though we’ve flown all the way from India, zoom!
and those sparrows swarm to swallow us.
Ho, firefly, come, there’s some water that’s bitter to taste,
come, here’s some water that’s sweet to the taste;
Ho, firefly, up this mountain path,
look! see a thousand lanterns sparkling in the dark, ho, up this mountain path.
—trad. Japanese children’s song, freely translated by David Larson

i thank you God – Gwyneth Walker
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
—e.e. cummings (1894-1962)

TaReKiTa – Reena Esmail
no translation – vocables

Sure on this shining night – Samuel Barber
Sure on this shining night
Of starmade shadows round,
Kindness must watch for me
This side the ground.

The late year lies down the north.
All is healed, all is health.
High summer holds the earth.
Hearts all whole.

Sure on this shining night I weep for wonder wandering far alone
Of shadows on the stars.
—James Agee (1909-1955)

Earth Song – Frank Ticheli
Sing, Be, Live, See.
This dark stormy hour,
The wind, it stirs.
The scorched earth
Cries out in vain:
O war and power,
You blind and blur,
The torn heart
Cries out in pain.
But music and singing
Have been my refuge,
And music and singing
Shall be my light.
A light of song
Shining strong: Alleluia!
Through darkness, pain, and strife, I′ll
Sing, Be, Live, See…
—Frank Ticheli (b. 1958)

Earth Teach Me Quiet – Ēriks Ešenvalds
Earth teach me quiet – as the grasses are still with light.
Earth teach me suffering – as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility – as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring – as mothers nurture their young.
Earth teach me courage – as the tree that stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation – as the ant that crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom – as the eagle that soars in the sky.
Earth teach me acceptance – as the leaves that die each fall.
Earth teach me renewal – as the seed that rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself – as the melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness – as dry fields weep with rain.
—from a Ute prayer

Loch Lomond – arr. Ralph Vaughan Williams
By yon bonny banks and yon bonny braes,
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond,
Where me and my true love were ever wont to gae,
On the bonny, bonny banks of Loch Lomond.

O you’ll take the high road and I’ll take the low road
And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye,
But me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonny, bonny banks of Loch Lomond.

‘Twas there that we parted in yon shady glen,
On the steep, steep side of Ben Lomond,
Where deep in purple hue the Highland hills we view,
And the moon coming out in the gloaming.


The wee birdies sing and the wild flow’rs spring,
And in sunshine the waters are sleeping,
But the broken heart it kens nae second spring again
Tho’ the woeful may cease from their greeting.

—traditional Scottish song

The Road Home – Stephen Paulus
Tell me, where is the road
I can call my own,
That I left, that I lost,
So long ago?
All these years I have wandered,
Oh, when will I know
There’s a way, there’s a road
That will lead me home?

After wind, after rain,
When the dark is done.
As I wake from a dream
In the gold of day,
Through the air there’s a calling
From far away,
There’s a voice I can hear
That will lead me home.

Rise up, follow me,
Come away, is the call,
With the love in your heart
As the only song;
There is no such beauty
As where you belong:
Rise up, follow me,
I will lead you home.

—Michael Dennis Browne (b. 1940)

again (changed return) – David Lang

people come and people go – the earth goes on and on
the sun rises, the sun sets – it rushes to where it rises again
the wind blow round, round and round – it stops, it blows again
all the rivers run to the sea, but the sea is never full – from where the rivers run they run again

these things make me so tired – I can’t speak, I can’t see, I can’t hear
what happened before will happen again
I forgot it all before.
I will forget it all again.

(again x12)

—David Lang (b. 1957), after Ecclesiastes

The Northwest Chamber Chorus presents a broad range of classical repertoire in consistently compelling performances. We create, nurture, and uplift a community inspired by a love of choral music. Celebrating its 56th year of bringing great choral music to audiences in the Puget Sound region, the Northwest Chamber Chorus is grateful for enthusiastic audiences and extensive support and praise from the community. During an annual season of six main-stage performances and numerous community outreach appearances, the chorus attracts a loyal audience of music patrons, characterized by a keen interest in classical and contemporary choral music. The Northwest Chamber Chorus has had the pleasure of performing with the Seattle Symphony, Northwest Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Youth Symphony, Cascadia Brass, Spectrum Dance Company, Philharmonia Northwest, Baroque Northwest, ACT Theatre, Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, and The Sound of the Northwest.

Members of the Northwest Chamber Chorus
Jeremy Edelstein, conductor
Youngjin Joo, accompanist
Carly Thornburg, executive director

Dori Baunsgard 
Betsy Brockman 
Sarah Elliott 
Christi Everett 
Joni Hafner ^, ** 
Auralee MacColl
Molly Middaugh 
Dalia Taylor 
Taryn Wagner Jones 
Kaitlin Wick 
Wendy Boeker 
Shireen Deboo 
Nancy Fisher 
Kayla Gerken 
Malerie Henry 
Susan Jenkins 
Decatur Macpherson 
Lauren Sandven** 
Cindy Shultz 
Maggie Smith 
Carly Thornburg 
Alison Walker 
Mike Anthis 
Neal Eaden 
Matt Everett  
Kevin Fansler ^ 
Rachel Flamm ^ 
Pete Jones 
Mark Lee 
Ben Rider ^, ** 

Adam Brown ** 
Michael Hooning
Joshua Horowitz 
Michael Huber 
Matthew Peterson 
Ethan Roday 
Mark Sandstrom 
Chris Shultz
Steve Tanimoto
Matthew Weinstein 

^ Board Member, ** Section Leader

Kyle Gough (marimba) is a music major studying Percussion Performance at Pacific Lutheran University with Dr. Miho Takekawa. He mostly works as a composer and arranger under the pen name “That One Percussionist,” but is always looking forward to live gigs where he can help and play with members of various communities.

Special Thanks To the Following for Their In-Kind Donations and Support:
Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church
7400 Woodlawn
Classical KING FM 98.1
Christi Everett, Librarian
Bill Levey, Via Audio
Christopher Gross, Piano Tuning
Dalia Taylor, NWCC Bio Boards
Walter Zamojski, Livestream
Jennifer Bolton, Auctioneer
Brandon Bolinger and Kasey Shultz
All our concert volunteers
Carly Thornburg and Ben Silver

Thank You to the Generous Donors Who Make Our Music Possible:
Mike Anthis ◦ Håkan Axelsson ◦ Dori Baunsgard and Mark Lee ◦ Brandon Bolinger ◦ Karen Spotts & Michael Bonner ◦ Betsy & Michael Brockman ◦ Kayo Brown ◦ David Middaugh & Mary Rae Bruns Eli Burnham & Jill Douglas ◦ Auralee MacColl Carter ◦ Michael Cassarino ◦ Keith Cook Preeyel Dalal ◦ Gwen Daugs ◦ Dayna Dealy ◦ Dhun Deboo ◦ Ann DeLancey ◦ Gerardo Edelstein Miriam Espeseth ◦ Christi & Matt Everett ◦ Kevin Fansler ◦ Jean Feagin ◦ Nancy Fisher ◦ Lola Flamm Rachel Flamm ◦ Kayla Gerken ◦ Mary Gerken ◦ Ellie & Arye Gittleman ◦ Will Hafner Jane Harradine ◦ Andrew Haskell ◦ Edward Hausken ◦ Malerie Henry ◦ Laura & Michael Hooning Richard Isaac ◦ Susan Jenkins & Steve Herndon ◦ Craig Johnson ◦ Taryn Jones ◦ Pete & Jill Jones Daniel Kaplan ◦ Evan Kentop ◦ Darrell Kirk ◦ Mark Kloepper ◦ Robert Lindsey & Sam James Decatur Macpherson ◦ Donna McCampbell ◦ Susan McGeary ◦ Sophia Mehl & Tyler Emsky Meitsu Chuang-Mendel & Fraser Mendel ◦ Steve Merrill ◦ Lynn Montgomery ◦Ronald & Sharon Morfick ◦ Dina Myers ◦ Kimberly Orr ◦ Kim Orr ◦ Mark Osloe ◦ Helene Paroff ◦ Clifford Perry Matthew Peterson ◦ Brian Myers & Megan Piehler ◦ Ben Rider ◦ Laura Panfili & Ethan Roday Wendy & Alan Roedell ◦ Sarah Van Sanden ◦ Mark Sandstrom ◦ Matthew Eng & Lauren Sandven Adam Saul ◦ John Hushagen & Jan Schurman ◦ Misty Shock Rule ◦ Chris Shultz ◦ Kurt Shultz Brent Shultz ◦ Sue Silver ◦ Lizzie Simon ◦ Maggie Smith ◦ Steve Smith ◦ Muskal Tamar Steve Tanimoto ◦ Cara Tanis ◦ Dalia Taylor ◦ Dalia Taylor ◦ Ruth Thornburg ◦ L. Tremaine Molly West & Garry Vandekieft ◦ Sandra Walker ◦ Katie Wear ◦ Matthew Weinstein Marie West-Johnson ◦ Kaitlin Wick ◦ Diane and Randel Williams ◦ Joan Williams Amy & Thomas Wimmer ◦ American Online Giving