3 1/2 min.
SATB Chorus and Piano or Organ with Optional Flute, and Optional Violoncello
TextWalt Whitman : Leaves of Grass
Of Equality was commissioned by the Connecticut Children’s Choir of The Hartt School
Community Division (Noah Glynn, Director). I originally came across the main text for the work—
a brief fragment by Walt Whitman—in the summer of 2015 when I was looking for poetry to set in
a different composition. I originally thought I might include that short poem in a set of songs about
social issues, but Whitman’s words captivated me so much that I ended up using only that one, short
text for the entire piece, which is about thirteen minutes long. That wasn’t enough, though! I kept
hearing the text sung by a choir in my head, so I approached the administration of the Community
Division about a possible collaboration with the Connecticut Children’s Choir.
I wanted to go beyond just setting the words to music and really engage with the students
about the issue of equality. The composition thus includes not only Whitman’s poem but also
additional text inspired by discussions with members of the Prelude, Canticum, and Concert Choirs.
Their words and ideas shaped the piece, and I am so thankful I was given the opportunity to work
with these bright, talented young singers!