Join us Sunday December 10 at 10:00 a.m.
Music Sunday: Like Dust I Rise
This Sunday, we celebrate Music Sunday as the Unicantors and guest musicians present Like Dust I Rise, a choral song cycle based on the poetry of Maya Angelou by composer Mark Hayes. The four movements incorporate selections from some of Angelou’s best-loved poems masterfully set to music. The poetry beautifully conveys Angelou’s convictions about the importance of courage and personal fortitude in the pursuit of social justice. The first movement is based on “On the Pulse of Morning,” recited by Angelou at the 1993 inauguration of President Bill Clinton, urging hearers to embrace the challenge of realizing our dreams for a better world. The second movement takes inspiration from one of Angelou’s most famous poems, “Caged Bird,” comparing the life of the free bird to one who waits for freedom. As Angelou maintains, the caged bird is not resigned, but rather sings a song of “things unknown but longed for still” in response to its captivity. The third movement is a setting of “Equality,” Angelou’s clear and unwavering denunciation of oppression and call for equal rights. The final movement is a celebration of triumph over adversity, as expressed in the poem “Still I Rise.” The text provides a fitting end to the choral cycle as an exhortation to all to be strong, courageous, and determined as we fight for social justice in our world.
When I first discovered these pieces a few months ago, I knew that they would provide just the right tone for our exploration of the theme of hope this December. Last week, Matthew preached on the importance of grounded optimism for the future. These texts, so beautifully set to music, reinforce that message by reminding us that even in the face of great adversity and gross inequality, we do best to sing out our values and share our vision of a better, more just world. To paraphrase Angelou, the caged bird sings not because it has the answers, but rather because it has a song in its heart. May we take inspiration from Angelou’s poetry as we work to realize our hope for a better world for all. - Tim Anderson
More information about Maya Angelou and her poetry can be found at www.mayaangelou.com .
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