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“Quaker Meeting” is part of Songs from a Quaker Heart, commissioned and premiered by the Arlington-Belmont Chamber Chorus in 2016.
In “Quaker Meeting” the key thought of the poem is quiet serenity. Its long introduction establishes the quiet mood. In addition to the poem’s words, Marian provided a paragraph of text about the awesome experience of a Quaker meeting. This is what the singers whisper. My challenge was shaping a musical climax, in the middle of the quiet, for the brief, transcendent line of “like the spirit, free to come in”.
The text is from an unpublished manuscript:
Before (The) After
by Marian Kaplun Shapiro
Door open. Bird sings.
Bird sings. Tree
Consider the leaf,
you say, that’s blown
through the door. Like
the spirit, free to come in.
The Arlington-Belmont Chamber Chorus, directed by Barry Singer, sings this May 2017 performance.