Concert Order

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Program Notes

A Note from Professor Brad Dumont, Director of Choral Activities

Welcome back to the Chapel of the Holy Spirit!

We are grateful to be in this space today presenting this important work, Considering Matthew Shepard, at Assumption University.  

Four years ago on this day, I had the ability to perform this work as a singer for the first time with New Hampshire Master Chorale after almost two years of planning. (If you'd like to read a beautiful program note from that performance which includes an interview with Matthew's mother, Judy, you can find it here.) In that process, the choir undertook a series of reflections which considered Matt's life, the texts of this work, the music, and where we were when the murder of Matthew Shepard transpired. Everyone in the choir at the time had been alive when it happened, I was seven at the time and I still remember hearing about the news stories and the aftermath of it. 

We are at a generational gap where the story of Matthew Shepard is now separated from the lived experience of our youth. The singers performing today do not have this direct connection, and this is one of the many reasons that we are telling this story. In the note from Prof. Carl Keyes included below, you will see a series of remarks that he made on Tuesday evening at the AU Allies Visibility event in which he mentions the trope, "it could never happen here" which is often said in reference to these kinds of major national tragedies. But we know that anywhere can become the epicenter of the next 'here' when hate, stigma, stereotyping, and bullying are left unchecked. 

 

The reason we tell our story today is to remind ourselves (or to learn for the first time) that we have in fact been 'here' before in our communities and in our nation. The death of Matthew Shepard was not a first and it was also not the last. We say this even more specifically during this National Week of Trans Visibility and tomorrow's Transgender Day of Remembrance. 

The students have been on an incredible journey with this piece: considering personal viewpoints and identity, grappling with nuances of language, exploring how to present challenging conversations to a public audience as well as in private with each other, what the function of art in society might look like, and more. Their tenacity in our conversations and their compassion for each other this semester has been a testament to their identities, work ethic, and growth. 

We hope that today's performance calls all of our attention to the continued need to say that we must stand against hate in our communities, something which all of the collaborators on this project have engaged with and discussed. 

These partners throughout the semester have included the students of AU Allies and their advisor Prof. Carl Keyes, Campus Ministry and Deacon Paul Covino, a guest discussion panel of LGBTQIA+ identifying musicians from around the country who spoke to our students: Mike Leonard, Nicky Manlove, & Jenny Cooper, as well as our pianist Brett Maguire. 

We hope that you engage with this performance and reflect with your classmates and students about what this event and process has meant to them and to you. That is where the real work of this art will take place. We hope you can join us after the concert to begin that process with a short reflection in the Lauring Community Room. 

Thank you for joining us, 

Brad Dumont

bt.dumont@assumption.edu

A Note from Professor Carl Robert Keyes, Professor of History and AU Allies Advisor

Remarks given to students on November 15, 2022 at AU Allies Visibility Event

When the AU Allies executives and I first discussed the possibility of organizing this panel, we originally thought that we wanted it to take place in October to correspond with National Coming Out Day on October 11.  When we learned that the Assumption University Choirs planned to perform “Considering Matthew Shepard” in November, however, we decided that it made a lot of sense to interweave our stories with the story that Chorale and Voce will tell about the murder of Matthew Shepard in October 1998 and the national reckoning that followed.  We saw an opportunity to examine how much progress has been made for the LGBTQIA+ community in the last quarter century … and how much work remains to be done to achieve equality, equity, and safety for the LGBTQIA+ community, on campus, across the nation, and around the world. 

Let’s start with one indicator of some of the progress made in the past twenty-four years.  Please raise your hand if someone in your family identifies as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.  Keep your hands up.  Everyone else, raise your hand if you know someone who identifies as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.  Looking around, I think it is safe to conclude that this informal survey suggests that LGBTQIA+ people have achieved a certain level of visibility in American society.  Believe me, if I had asked these questions in 1998, not nearly as many people would have raised their hands. 

LGBTQIA+ people did not have nearly as much visibility when Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, was beaten, tortured, and left to die near Laramie, Wyoming, on October 6, 1998.  Two young men, both in their twenties, offered Shepard a ride home from a bar, but instead took him to a remote area where they pistol-whipped him, severely fracturing his skull, and tied him to a barbed wire fence before leaving him to die.  Eighteen hours later, a cyclist discovered Shepard, at first mistaking his body tied to a fence for a scarecrow.  Rescue units transported Shepard to a hospital in Laramie.  He was later moved to an advanced trauma ward in Fort Collins, Colorado, where he died of his injuries on October 12.  The brutality of the attack, as well as Shepard’s sexual orientation, made the story national news. 

At the time, I was in my first year of graduate school at The American University in Washington, DC.  I remember that one of my friends had an interview for a job in a senator’s office.  During my friend’s visit to Capitol Hill for the interview, a staffer remarked, “That gay kid in Wyoming went and got himself killed.”  …  “That gay kid in Wyoming went and got himself killed.”  That’s some real “blame the victim” energy right there.  As investigations unfolded, some people suggested that it was a robbery gone bad, that Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson had no intention of beating Matthew Shepard, much less killing him, but the young gay man made advances at them before realizing that they were not driving him home.  It was only when their masculinity was threatened and their own sexual orientation called into question that McKinney and Henderson tied Shepard to a fence, beat him, and left him for dead.  That narrative, suggesting that Shepard had it coming because of his actions, was more of the same “blame the victim” energy while also perpetuating stereotypes about gay men being promiscuous and attracted to every man they encounter. 

Since then, the murder of Matthew Shepard and the aftermath have both been examined in depth in various media, including in “Considering Matthew Shepard,” the piece that the Assumption University Choirs will perform on Saturday.  Several years after the murder, I managed the fortitude to watch a documentary about it.  I remember one interview in which a local couple expressed their dismay about what had happened.  “Things that like do not happen in Laramie,” they exclaimed … and they were wrong.  Things like that did happen in Laramie.  The beating and murder of Matthew Shepard happened in Laramie, facilitated by a culture in which LGBTQIA+ people were demonized while they led their lives and blamed for their own murders when they were beaten and killed by bigots who could not recognize the grace and dignity that resides within every person. 

“Things like that do not happen here.”  It’s an easy refrain to repeat and even to believe, as long as you do not look too closely.  “Things like that do not happen here,” we like to think about a progressive city like Worcester in a progressive state like Massachusetts with a governor-elect who is a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, yet my husband and I know from experience that all we have to do to be subject to harassment is be seen walking together on a sidewalk somewhere in Worcester.  We never know when a car or truck is going to slow down and someone is going to yell an anti-gay slur out the window before speeding away, leaving us to feel both imperiled and humiliated by a bigot who lacked the courage to taunt us to our faces.  Fortunately, we have never been attacked physically, but this sort of intimidation is part and parcel of a larger culture that condones and encourages violence against LGBTQIA+ people. 

“Things like that do not happen here,” we like to think about our own campus, yet LGBTQIA+ students have many stories to tell about harassment directed at them in the dorms, in the dining hall, other locations around campus, and, I’m sad to say, even in the classroom, as well as stories about inadequate responses from administrators, staff, and faculty who should be working to create a welcoming, inclusive, and safe campus for all members of the Assumption community, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, regardless of their race or ethnicity, regardless of their sex, regardless of their religion, regardless of anything else that marks them as unique or different … because every individual on this campus deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. 

It may be easy to say, “But I don’t harass LGBTQIA+ people and I certainly don’t assault them.”  I challenge you, however, to think about how that is just another way of saying, “Things like that do not happen here.”  Rather than focusing on what you are not doing when it comes to ridiculing or threatening LGBTQIA+ people, instead ask yourself what you could and should be doing to help to create a welcoming, inclusive, and safe campus for LGBTQIA+ people.  After we hear from tonight’s panelists, you’ll have a chance to sign a banner pledging to work toward a welcoming, inclusive, and safe campus, but achieving that goal requires more from you than signing your name on the banner.  Now is a good time to start thinking about what you will do the next time you encounter some form of anti-LGBTQIA+ harassment on campus. 

Creating a welcoming, inclusive, and safe campus includes recognizing that LGBTQIA+ people are indeed part of our community.  Visibility matters.  To help make our LGBTQIA+ community and their experiences more visible, this evening four members of AU Allies, myself and three students, will share our “coming out” stories.  Collectively, we represent diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, yet this panel of four individuals does not represent every sexual orientation or gender identity, nor does any one member represent every person who happens to share their sexual orientation or gender identity.  Our stories are illustrative, but not exhaustive.  There are many, many more stories from members of the Assumption community that could be and should be told on this campus. 

When I became the advisor for AU Allies, I told the members that I have experience living as a gay man in a straight world so I’ve been through some of what they’re going through.  But I also noted that I happen to be male, I happen to be white, I happen to be middle class, I happen to be Christian, I happen to be cisgender, I happen to be well-educated, and I happen to be middle-aged (as much as I do not like to call attention to that one) and with those aspects of my identity I have experienced and exercised a lot of privilege.  As a result, many of my experiences as a white cisgender gay man do not neatly overlap with those of members of the LGBTQIA+ community who are female or who are people of color or who are from another socio-economic status or who are transgender or non-binary or who are younger.  Accordingly, I have a lot to learn from students in AU Allies even as I serve as an advisor and mentor.  I hope that you will see that you also have something to learn from each panelist who shares their story this evening. 

I’d like to offer one last observation before we hear the “coming out” stories.  A lot of people think that it is easier to come out as LGBTQIA+ today than it was a generation ago or two generations ago.  My informal poll about how many people know someone who is a member of the LGBTQIA+ community a few minutes ago might suggest that is true … but even though the LGBTQIA+ community has achieved greater visibility in the past couple of decades, that does not change the fact that coming out is an incredibly individual process.  Whether or not it is “easier” to come out today depends on a variety of factors, including whether people anticipate support from their family members and what kinds of attitudes they have encountered among their friends and community.  Quite simply, geography also matters.  Coming out in Worcester, Massachusetts, for instance, is quite different than coming out in, say, a small town in a “red state.”  Regardless of their home towns or their relationships with family and friends, each of our student panelists has demonstrated incredible courage in coming out and in sharing their stories in this public forum.  Please do not underestimate how much courage it takes to share these coming out stories on our campus at Assumption University. 

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Other information

Donations Welcome!

The University Choirs operate as an academic ensemble and as a community organization for our wide cross-section of students. Donations to the choir help support scholarships for students on tour, group meals and social gatherings during the year, transportation and tickets to special events like the Boston Symphony, guest artists like tonight's string quartet, and more.

Donations are welcome through our Venmo: @auchoirs  https://account.venmo.com/u/auchoirs

Upcoming Concerts & Events

Members of Chorale: Saturday, December 3 - Holiday Pops Concert with Mass. Symphony in Clinton, MA
VOCE: Monday, December 5 - Assumption University Lessons & Carols 
Members of Chorale: Saturday, December 10 - Holiday Pops Concert with Mass Sympony at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA

March 18 & 19 - Carmina Burana in collaboration with Salisbury Singers
March 26 - Molly Torres Senior Recital
April 1 - VOCE in Collaboration with VOICES 21C
May 7 - Commencement
May 9-16 - Canada Tour

Canada Tour - May 2023

In May, members of the Assumption University Choirs will travel to Quebec City and Montreal on a cultural and musical tour and exchange. While on tour, singers will collaborate with local organizations, sing in a large group masterclass, perform high school workshops in New Hampshire & Vermont, see the local art and culture, and eat lots of food!

Interested in joining us? Deposits are due December 15.  Ask your student for details!

About the Choirs

The ASSUMPTION UNIVERSITY CHORALE is an academic concert choir comprised of artists who are studying for professions in all walks of life and who share an interest in the joy of choral singing and the community that comes with it. The Chorale performs music from across generations and styles, using music as a tool to explore and communicate more effectively. In University Chorale, we all contribute fully to the process of learning and creative expression by engaging in a process-oriented experience where the performances are a byproduct of the learning that takes place in the rehearsal room. VOCE is a select group of singers who have identified themselves as artists willing to commit more time to preparing advanced music, staging, improvising, and community outreach.

Find us on Instagram, Facebook, & TikTok!

Learn more about becoming a Vocal Scholar here. Incoming students can earn $2,500-$10,000 scholarships renewable each year for committing to the choirs. 

Special Thanks

   AU Allies & Prof. Carl Robert Keyes
   Campus Ministry Students & Deacon Paul Covino
   Tori Richardson & Emma Wilburn for writing narrations
   Brett Maguire (collaborative pianist)
   Chorale Student Leadership
   Dean Dr. Michelle Graveline
   Dr. Toby Norris (Chair of Art & Music) 
   Dr. Peter Clemente (Chair of Music) 
   Assumption University Music Faculty
   Panelists: Jenny Cooper, Nicky Manlove, Mike Leonard 
   Guest Pianist: Dan Perkins 
   and all others who contributed to today's event.

Acknowledgement of Land

The land upon which we sit, stand, and live is the land that we have been accustomed to thinking as our land. However, we are all on the original unceded, inalienable homelands of tribal nations whose languages, musics, and cultures we have systematically erased. We acknowledge the painful history of forced removal of indigenous people from this territory and the territories of all settler nations and we honor and respect the many diverse indigenous peoples who remain connected to their lands.
 
Here in Worcester, MA, we are living and working on the traditional and unceded territory of the Nipmuc peoples.
 

Texts & Translations

Esto les Digo

VOCE Chamber Ensemble

Laura Goyette, soloist

Esto les digo, si dos de ustedes de ponen

De acuerdo aquí en la tierra para pedir

Algo en oración, mi Padre que está en los Cielos se lo dará.

Porque donde dos o tres Se reúnen en mi nombre, allí estoy yo.

I tell you that if two of you on earth agree

about anything you ask for,

it will be done for you by my Father on heaven.

For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.

Prelude in C Major

Laura Goyette, pianist

Recitation I

Victoria Richardson, speaker

Matthew Wayne Shepard is a name that may strike many of you in the soul.

Others know him as Matt

But some of you may not know him at all 

 

And that is ok, today we are sharing his story. 

 

For those of you who may not know him, Matthew was a victim of an anti-gay hate crime in 1998 while attending the University of Wyoming. Although he was not the first, or the last, to suffer at the hands of hatred, today we are focusing on Matthew’s story.

 

This work is a chant of life. 

There is no word to sing that could express the true significance of how we wind through all these hoops of earth and mind, knowing that no one work will ever cover the true depth of a person’s humanity. 

 

So let’s open up our hearts in this conversation about Matthew. 

 

Let’s talk about Matt.

 

Ordinary Boy

Molly Torres, Emma Wilburn, Brenna Aylward, William D'Avino, Lorilei Jones; soloists

 

Ordinary boy, ordinary boy, ordinary boy . . . 

Born in December in Casper, Wyoming 

to a father, Dennis and a mother, Judy 

Then came a younger brother, Logan 

His name was Matthew Wayne Shepard.

 

And one day his name came to be known around the world. But as his mother said: 

"You knew him as Matthew. To us he was Matt."

 

He went camping, he went fishing, even hunting for a moose 

He read plays and he read stories and especially Dr. Seuss

He wrote poems with illustrations for the neighbors on the street 

And he left them in each mailbox till he learned it was illegal

He made friends and he wore braces and his frame was rather small 

He sang songs his father taught him 

 

Frère Jacques . . . 

Row Row Row Your Boat . . . 

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star . . . 

 

Judy: He was my son, my first-born, and more. 

He was my friend, my confidant, my constant reminder of how good life can be—

and how hurtful. 

 

How good life can be, how good life can be

 

Judy: Matt’s laugh, his wonderful hugs, his stories . . . 

 

Matt writes about himself in a notebook: 

 

I am funny, sometimes forgetful and messy and lazy. I am not a lazy person though.

I am giving and understanding. And formal and polite.

I am sensitive. I am honest. I am sincere. And I am not a pest. 

I am my own person. I am warm. 

I want my life to be happy and I want to be clearer about things.

I want to feel good. 

 

I love Wyoming . . . 

I love Wyoming very much . . . 

 

I love theatre 

I love good friends 

I love succeeding 

I love pasta 

I love jogging 

I love walking and feeling good 

 

I love Europe and driving and music and helping and smiling and Charlie and Jeopardy 

I love movies and eating and positive people and pasta and driving and walking and jogging and kissing and learning and airports and music and smiling and hugging and being myself 

I love theatre! I love theatre! 

And I love to be on stage! 

 

Such an ordinary boy living ordinary days 

In an ordinary life so worth living 

He felt ordinary yearning and ordinary fears 

With an ordinary hope for belonging 

 

He felt ordinary yearning and ordinary fears 

With an ordinary hope for belonging 

(Born to live this ordinary life) 

Just an ordinary boy living ordinary days with extraordinary kindness

extraordinary laughter extraordinary shining 

extraordinary light and joy 

Joy and light. 

We Tell Each Other Stories

Molly Torres, Maria Lepak, Emma Wilburn, Victoria Richardson; soloists

We tell each other stories so that we will remember 

Try and find the meaning in the living of our days 

Always telling stories, wanting to remember 

Where and whom we came from 

Who we are 

Sometimes there’s a story that’s painful to remember 

One that breaks the heart of us all 

Still we tell the story 

We’re listening and confessing 

What we have forgotten 

In the story of us all 

We tell each other stories so that we will remember 

Trying to find the meaning . . . 

I am open to hear this story about a boy, an ordinary boy 

Who never had expected his life would be this story, (could be any boy) 

I am open to hear a story 

Open, listen. 

All. 

 

RECITATION II

Ellie Chaclas, speaker - AU Allies

 

Tuesday night. Matthew attended a meeting of the University of Wyoming’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Association, then joined others for coffee at the College Inn. Around 10:30, he went to the Fireside Bar, where he later met Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson. Near midnight, they drove him to a remote area, tied him to a buck and rail fence, beat him horribly and left him to die in the cold of night.

The Fence (that night) 

Most noble evergreen with your roots in the sun: 

you shine in the cloudless sky of a sphere no earthly eminence can grasp, 

You blush like the dawn, you burn like a flame of the sun.

 

RECITATION III 

Grace Crowley, speaker - AU Allies

The next morning, Matthew was found by a cyclist, a fellow student, who at first thought he was a scarecrow. After several days in a coma and on life support, Matthew Shepard died on Monday, October 12, at 12:53 a.m. At the funeral, which took place on Friday, October 16, at St Mark’s Episcopal Church in Casper, Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church, an extremist organization, protested outside. Protestors held signs with homophobic slurs and rhetoric, yelling at the family. As a way to show that homophobia and hate will never be tolerated, counter-protestors blocked the signs by wearing angel’s wings. Today we continue to feel called to these kinds of actions of love over hate.

Stray Birds

Stray birds of summer come to my window to sing and fly away. 

And yellow leaves of autumn which have no songs flutter and fall there with a sigh. 

Once we dreamt that we were strangers. 

We wake up to find that we were dear to each other.

 

RECITATION IV

Eric Lachapelle, speaker

National media began to broadcast the story. As the news began to spread, many people across the country gathered together in candlelight vigils, moved to (silently) speak for life over death, love over hate, light over darkness.

We Are All Sons

We are all sons of fathers and mothers 

We are all sons 

 

Sometimes no home for us here on the earth 

No place to lay our heads 

We are all sons of fathers and mothers 

 

If you could know for one moment 

How it is to live in our bodies 

Within the world 

 

If you could know 

You ask too much of us 

You ask too little

 

The Innocence

Nicholas Dulling, Christian Cotton, Lorilei Jones, Thomas McGowan, Joey Sawicki, Mitchel Hurley, William D'Avino; soloists

When I think of all the times the world was ours for dreaming, 

When I think of all the times the earth seemed like our home

Every heart alive with its own longing, 

Every future we could ever hope to hold. 

All the times our laughter rang in summer, 

All the times the rivers sang our tune

Was there already sadness in the sunlight? 

Some stormy story waiting to be told? 

Where, O where has the innocence gone? 

Where, O where has it gone? 

Rains rolling down wash away my memory; 

Where, O where has it gone? 

When I think of all the joys, the wonders we remember 

All the treasures we believed we’d never ever lose. 

Too many days gone by without their meaning, 

Too many darkened hours without their peace. 

Where, O where has the innocence gone? 

Where, O where has it gone? 

Vows we once swore, now it’s just this letting go, 

Where, O where has it gone?

 

RECITATION V

William D'Avino, speaker

Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson were arrested shortly after the attack and charged with murder, kidnapping, and aggravated robbery. The first of two trials began on October 26, 1999; both were convicted of the murder and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences. 

 

Matthew’s father made his statement to the court on November 5, 1999.

STARS --- RECITATION VI

Mitchel Hurley, speaker

VOCE Ensemble

By the end of the beating, his body was just trying to survive. You left him out there by himself, but he wasn’t alone. There were his lifelong friends with him—friends that he had grown up with. You’re probably wondering who these friends were. First, he had the beautiful night sky with the same stars and moon that we used to look at through a telescope. Then, he had the daylight and the sun to shine on him one more time—one more cool, wonderful autumn day in Wyoming. His last day alive in Wyoming. His last day alive in the state that he always proudly called home. And through it all he was breathing in for the last time the smell of Wyoming sagebrush and the scent of pine trees from the snowy range. He heard the wind—the everpresent Wyoming wind—for the last time. He had one more friend with him. One he grew to know through his time in Sunday school and as an acolyte at St. Mark’s in Casper as well as through his visits to St. Matthew’s in Laramie. I feel better knowing he wasn’t alone.

(The placement of text in graphic poem below is intentionally offset.) 

                                          Stars 

                             across 

scattered 

                                                                        the 

                           sky 

 

in

                              blinking 

                                                  dismay 

          unable

 

being 

             to help

                                           light 

                          years 

                                                             away

 

RECITATION VII

Ellie Chaclas, speaker

 

Sheriff’s Deputy, Reggie Fluty, the first to report to the scene, told Judy Shepard that as she ran to the fence she saw a large doe lying near Matt—as if the deer had been keeping him company all through the night.

 

Deer Song

Laura Goyette, Molly Torres, Brenna Aylward; soloists

Deer: 

A mist is over the mountain, 

The stars in their meadows upon the air, 

Your people are waiting below them, 

And you know there’s a gathering there. 

All night I lay there beside you, 

I cradled your pain in my care, 

We move through creation together, 

And we know there’s a welcoming there. 

Welcome, welcome, sounds the song, 

Calling, calling clear; 

Always with us, evergreen heart, 

Where can we be but there? 

 

Matthew: 

I’ll find all the love I have longed for, 

The home that's been calling my heart so long 

So soon I'll be cleansed in those waters, 

My fevers forever be gone; 

Where else on earth but these waters? 

No more, no more to be torn; 

My own ones, my dearest, are waiting ̶ 

And I'll weep to be where I belong. 

Welcome, welcome, sounds the song, 

Calling, calling clear; 

Always with me, evergreen heart, 

Where can I be but here?

 

Recitation VIII

Shaeleigh Boynton, speaker

Matthew was left tied to the fence for almost eighteen hours. In the days and weeks after his death, many people came to the fence to pay homage and pray and grieve. Eventually, the fence was torn down. The land was sold and a new fence now stands. People still come to pay their respects. 

Pilgrimage

VOCE Ensemble

Laura Goyette, Brian Leger, Andrew Leger, Thomas McGowan, Leah Scontras, William D'Avino, Emily Brill, Molly Torres, Maria Lepak, Emma Wilburn, & Victoria Richardson; soloists

 

I walk to the fence with beauty before me 

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want 

 

I walk to the fence with beauty behind me 

Yit’gadal v'yit’ kadash (may his great name grow)

 

I walk to the fence with beauty above me 

Om Mani Padme Ham (Om! the jewel in the lotus, hm!) 

 

I walk to the fence with beauty below me 

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit 

 

I reach the fence surrounded by beauty 

wail of wind, cry of hawk 

 

I leave the fence surrounded by beauty 

sigh of sagebrush, hush of stone 

 

(Beauty above me, beauty below me 

By beauty surrounded) 

 

Still still still...

 

Recitation IX

Grace Crowley, speaker

Still… Do you feel that? Yes, that weight on your shoulders my friend. The burdens and sorrows you carry, you can lay them down. Come, meet me here. 

 

Please meet us here

 

Take a deep breath, let the air pass through peacefully. Yes, the same Wyoming Wind that passes through the mountains and wisps between your clothes as you dance. Let yourself be surrounded by this beauty.

 

Surrounded by this long-lasting beauty

 

I want you to imagine yourself in this spot, where you and those who are also lost on this journey come to endlessly dance. In the spot where the horizon begins and the old fence ends. He is waiting for you to continue this journey. His beauty will capture the twinkle in your eyes and the shimmer of your soul.

 

But first, I want you to close your eyes and let this song be your starting point. As you reenter the world, remember that love is more than hate. Let this song be your light. Let this song be your home. Meet us here, so we can go forth and let the work begin. 

Meet Me Here

Maria Lepak, Emma Wilburn, Laura Goyette, Victoria Richardson, Sara Flayhan; soloists

Meet me here 

Won’t you meet me here 

Where the old fence ends and the horizon begins 

There’s a balm in the silence

Like an understanding air 

Where the old fence ends and the horizon begins 

 

We’ve been walking through the darkness 

On this long, hard climb 

Carried ancestral sorrow 

For too long a time 

Will you lay down your burden 

Lay it down, come with me 

It will never be forgotten 

Held in love, so tenderly 

 

Meet me here 

Won’t you meet me here 

Where the old fence ends and the horizon begins 

There’s a joy in the singing 

Like an understanding air 

Where the fence ends and the horizon begins. 

 

Then we’ll come to the mountain 

We’ll go bounding to see 

That great circle of dancing 

And we’ll dance endlessly 

And we’ll dance with the all the children 

Who’ve been lost along the way 

We will welcome each other 

Coming home, this glorious day 

 

We are home in the mountain 

And we’ll gently understand 

That we’ve been friends forever 

That we’ve never been alone 

We’ll sing on through any darkness 

And our Song will be our sight 

We can learn to offer praise again 

Coming home to the light . . .

 

All of Us

Molly Torres, Laura Goyette, Leah Scontras; soloists

What could be the song? 

Where begin again? 

Who could meet us there? 

Where might we begin? 

From the shadows climb, 

Rise to sing again; 

Where could be the joy? 

How do we begin? 

 

Never our despair, 

Never the least of us, 

Never turn away, 

Never hide our face; 

Ordinary boy, 

Only all of us, 

Free us from our fear, 

Only all of us. 

 

What could be the song? 

Where begin again? 

Who could meet us there? 

Where might we begin? 

From the shadows climb, 

Rise to sing again; 

Where could be the joy? 

How do we begin? 

 

Never our despair, 

Never the least of us, 

Never turn away, 

Never hide your face; 

Ordinary boy, 

Only all of us, 

Free us from our fear. 

 

Only in the Love, 

Love that lifts us up, 

Clear from out the heart 

From the mountain’s side, 

Come creation come, 

Strong as any stream; 

How can we let go? 

How can we forgive? 

How can we be dream? 

 

Out of heaven, rain, 

Rain to wash us free; 

Rivers flowing on, 

Ever to the sea; 

Bind up every wound, 

Every cause to grieve; 

Always to forgive, 

Only to believe. 

 

Most noble Light, Creation’s face, 

How should we live but joined in you, 

Remain within your saving grace 

Through all we say and do 

And know we are the Love that moves 

The sun and all the stars? 

O Love that dwells, O Love that burns 

In every human heart. 

 

(Only in the Love, Love that lifts us up!) 

 

This evergreen, this heart, this soul, 

Now moves us to remake our world, 

Reminds us how we are to be 

Your people born to dream; 

How old this joy, how strong this call, 

To sing your radiant care 

With every voice, in cloudless hope 

Of our belonging here. 

 

Only in the Love . . . 

Only all of us . . . 

 

(Heaven: Wash me . . .) 

 

All of us, only all of us. 

 

What could be the song? 

Where do we begin? 

Only in the Love, Love that lifts us up. 

 

All Of Us 

 

All.