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Commissioned by the American Choral Directors Association, Eastern Division for the 2018 Eastern Division Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Premiered by the Women Composers Repertoire Honor Choir, Sharon J. Paul, conductor, on March 10, 2018
This is a song of hope -- of building a bridge of peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. They are all children of Abraham. They do not want to be each other's oppressors. Their trees (Jaffa Orange in Israel, Olive on Arab lands) reach out their branches as hands across the sky.
The musical setting presents the opening verses in dialogue between women's and men's voices. Each verse rises with the beautiful phrase:
And hold human hands high -- full of free stars of twinkling peace.
A combative middle section introduces words such as oppressor and jailor. Reference is made to poisoned gases and scud missiles.
And then the music heals. There is a shift to the major tonality. The voices soar with the phrases let us build a strong bridge of jasmine understanding, where each shall sit with her child. And none shall make them afraid.
Notes by the composer