Journey Home


Journey Home

November 7, 2021

4:00 PM

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
Trenton, N.J.

Journey Home

November 7, 2021

4:00 PM

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
Trenton, N.J.


It’s so good to be with you all this afternoon. After a year and a half spending more time in our physical homes than ever before, we’ve never been more homesick for our musical home: the concert hall. Zoom and its grids of talking heads allowed us to see each other. It made meetings and casual conversation (clumsily) possible. But it didn’t allow us to sing, together, to form an ensemble. The telepathic communication that arises from shared pulse and the unification of energy and intent into a single artistic expression are impossible to achieve via internet-based platforms. Several weeks ago, for the first time since March of 2020, we gathered for in-person rehearsal. The hard but satisfying work of preparing a concert began, animated by our eagerness to be back here. As we journeyed closer and closer to the concert moment, the thirst in the soul quenched only by the release of live, communal performance grew more and more acute. Now on the brink of my first live performance in quite some time, I’m emerging from the pandemic reassured that the laptop will never supplant the concert hall. I’ve never taken the specialness of my musical home for granted, but there’s nothing so effective as a global pandemic’s proscribing its existence to remind you of how precious, and invigorating, it is.

I assembled this program, Journey Home, to remind the singers of Princeton Pro Musica how to sing together and to remind us all why we love to experience choral music in the first place. The various selections shelter us in some sense of home. Excerpted movements from two consoling Requiems and Lauridsen’s Sure on this Shining Night offer us a chance not only to return to the safe haven of familiar repertoire from recent seasons, but also to lighten the sorrow carried by the multitudes who in the course of this global pandemic have lost loved ones, lost cherished ways of being, or languished in the darkness of isolation. Several other selections afforded us the opportunity to learn new repertoire and re-engage the part of the Princeton Pro Musica experience that is exploration.

The first two pieces share a similar inspiration, a type of music often considered the home base or starting point of much of Western classical choral music: chant. Sir John Tavener’s Song for Athene and the Kyrie from Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem trace the contours of the chants of the Orthodox and Catholic churches, respectively. Duruflé’s Kyrie quotes chant directly, first in the choral bass entry and later, in long tones, in the organ. Tavener’s chants alternate between major and minor modes while growing in intensity, reflecting its text, which, in its last line, transforms sorrow into joy: “Weeping at the grave creates the song. Come, enjoy rewards and crowns I have prepared for you.” Where Tavener and Duruflé’s pieces remind us of the essential, vocal quality of melody, Moses Hogan’s arrangement of I Can Tell the World reminds us of the irrepressible joy of melody’s complement, rhythm.

Though he typically writes in response to a commission, John Rutter’s Requiem began as a memorial project for his father: “it was just something I felt I wanted to write…to remember him in music and preferably in a way that he might have enjoyed and appreciated. It was particularly important in this case to write something that could be appreciated by people everywhere.” Rutter certainly succeeded in that endeavor. He notes that the Requiem has “continued to be performed all over the world, including in countries where there’s not a strong Christian tradition, for example in Japan. I think the experience of which the texts speak, of bereavement and loss, of desolation turning into consolation, I think those must touch some sort of a nerve.” I have always admired Rutter’s unabashed attitude about the directness and appeal of his music and deeply respect his superb skill as a melodist, his brilliantly subtle manipulation of harmony, his sincerity with text setting, and his general craftsmanship. The Requiem is perfectly gentle, luminous, and tuneful.

Brahms’s Wie Lieblich, the fourth movement of Ein deutsches Requiem, is the apex, in that work, of a seven-movement arc. Its key, meter, texture, dynamic, and general lilt are meant to elevate it above the earthen sounds at the endpoints of that arc, as though it were accompanying an otherworldly waltz whose dancers spin weightlessly in a state of untroubled blessedness. For a chorus like Pro Musica, deeply experienced in the 19th-century choral-orchestral repertoire, any performance of this movement feels like a return to the comforts of home, and, indeed, our first few passes in rehearsal felt like an out-of-body dance together, as we conjured choreography from the depths of our collective conscience, many not even looking at their scores as the familiar flowed among us once again.

Whereas some of the pieces on today’s program only allude to the comforting, grounding nature of the act of singing, Elaine Hagenberg’s impassioned setting of Sarah Teasdale’s Refuge celebrates it explicitly. The composer says, of her piece: “For me, singing has often been an expression of joy, but also a comfort during times of uncertainty or fear. In ‘Refuge,’ the piano frantically races out of control as the cello becomes the voice of heartache and despair. As the poetry unfolds, the choir sings of crushed dreams, confusion, and a yearning for help. But through singing, we can turn our eyes from the surrounding darkness, and lift our voices to offer comfort, beauty, and hope.” Sarah Brumfield’s arrangement of No Time is born of that most ancient of human homestead gathering places: the campfire. This summer, as it became clear that we might return to rehearsal, I found myself drawn to this piece most of all, as its refrain, “no time to tarry here, for I’m on my journey home,” matched my own alacrity and eagerness for a fall season full of singing. Johnson’s Lift Every Voice and Sing, the Black national anthem beloved, treasured, and well known by millions, proudly reaffirms the community building power of singing, of lifting each and every voice in song.

Our time away from the concert hall gave us time to appreciate in absentia the significance of what we do there. If you’ll abide some philosophizing, I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to claim that the widespread and near-complete shutting down of live communal musical experiences a year and a half ago shut down an essential, elemental part of the human experience. We’ve been building community through musical experiences for millennia. Ancient Greek philosophy and culture appreciated the psychagogic potential of music, which is to say music’s capacity to imitate, represent, or even influence moral qualities via its combination of word, melody, and rhythm. Plato avowed that the harmonic ordering of the universe could be instilled in the soul via music because of the soul’s structural analogies with musical tuning and harmony. In Phaedo, a dialogue on the nature of the soul, he suggests how the soul could thusly be “tuned:”

A man must not suffer the principles in his soul to do each the work of some other and interfere and meddle with one another, but he should dispose well of what in the true sense of the word is properly his own, and having first attained to self-mastery and beautiful order within himself, and having harmonized these three principles, as we usually do with the three boundaries of musical harmony, i.e., the lowest, the highest, and the mean, and all others there may be between them, and having linked and bound all three together and made of himself a unit, one man instead of many, self-controlled and in unison, he should then and then only turn to practice.

To put it another way, the deep satisfaction we feel upon hearing a perfectly tuned chord—in which compatible individual pitches, sung simultaneously, yield a sonority greater and more beautiful than the sum of its parts—echoes a soul in beautiful order resonating with the universe.

From there, with the soul so ordered, society can be ordered in the model of harmonious music making. In a later work, Laws, Plato’s prescription for the legislation and social structure of a new colony on Crete, he advocates for music education as a necessary element in creating an orderly and flourishing society, as, for him, the most effective means for educating and bringing order to society is provided by choreia, the practice among the Greeks of choral singing and dancing in honor of the gods. As he dives into some theoretical fundamentals of education he notes:

Almost without exception, every young creature is incapable of keeping either its body or its tongue quiet, and is always striving to move and to cry, leaping and skipping and delighting in dances and games, and uttering, also, noises of every description. Now, whereas all other creatures are devoid of any perception of the various kinds of order and disorder in movement (which we term rhythm and harmony), to men the very gods, who were given, as we said, to be our fellows in the dance, have granted the pleasurable perception of rhythm and harmony, whereby they cause us to move and lead our choirs, linking us one with another by means of songs and dances; and to the choir they have given its name from the “cheer” implanted therein.

At first I disagreed with Plato about “all other creatures.” Flocks of birds awe us in their graceful, coordinated flight. Schools of fish mesmerize us with their effortlessly synchronized swimming. But as we’ve embarked on this journey home as a group, working hard in rehearsal to be ready to reunite with you, I’ve found myself appreciating, in a visceral way, the unique phenomena at play in a chorus. As Plato notes, it’s deeply pleasurable to perceive rhythm and harmony. But it’s more than that. I’ve been reminded that in an atomized, online work world (especially now), a weekly trip to rehearsal was and is, for many, easily the most social and communal moment of the week. More significantly, it is for some the moment of most profound and determined cooperation with others, of insinuating oneself into a greater whole. In this way, choral singing is a powerful antidote to polarization. Groups of human beings, gathered in song, can find common pulse and purpose, listen to each other, breathe together, and, ultimately, move each other. After hours (and hours) of digital audio editing, I can reassure you that there remains something remarkable and irreplaceable about the power of music to coordinate us. Plato’s point, in Laws and elsewhere, is that there’s something distinctly human, and distinctly valuable, in our ability to perceive and take pleasure in that power.

And that’s where you, our audience, come in. Our own Dee Dee Miles captured the essence of home as ethos, not a structure, when she reminded me: “It’s not home until you can invite someone in.” The actuality most antithetical to the choral art during the pandemic was that our online-only efforts prevented us from directly sharing the fruits of our labors with you, our listeners, our cohabitators, together in our musical home. More than anything, we have yearned to bridge the distance and isolation of this last year and a half by having our music reach your ears directly, not via wi-fi but via real, physical vibrations. While I can’t reasonably expect that our performance will re-order your soul, I sincerely hope that some musical moment experienced today reminds you, palpably, happily, of what a joy it is to be human, alongside others, and what a pleasure it can be to immerse in one of the most meaningful manifestations of humanity: music.

Welcome back. Welcome home.

Ryan James Brandau, Artistic Director
7 November 2021


Song for Athene                                   
John Tavener (1944-2013)

Kyrie from Requiem                             
Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986)           

I Can Tell the World                               
Traditional Spiritual, arr. Moses Hogan (1957-2003)

John Rutter (b. 1945)

I.      Introit
III.    Pie Jesu
IV.   Sanctus
VI.   The Lord is my Shepherd
VII.   Lux Aeterna

Noël McCormick, soprano

Elaine Hagenberg (b. 1987)

Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen   
from Ein Deutsches Requiem       
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Adap. Ryan James Brandau

Sure on This Shining Night
Morten Lauridsen (b. 1943)

No Time                                               
Traditional, arr. Susan Brumfield
Adap. Ryan James Brandau

Lift Every Voice and Sing                       
J. Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954)
Arr. Roland Carter (b. 1942)



John Taverner

Alleluia, alleluia. (Refrain)

May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. (R)

Remember me, O Lord, when you come into your Kingdom. (R)

Give rest, O Lord, to your handmaid who has fallen asleep. (R)

The choirs of saints have found the well-spring of life and door of paradise. (R)

Life: a shadow and a dream. (R)

Weeping at the grave creates the song: Alleluia.

Come enjoy rewards and crowns I have prepared for you.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.



Maurice Durufle

Kyrie eleison.

Christe eleison.

Kyrie eleison.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.



Moses Hogan

I can tell the world, yes, about this,

I can tell the nations, yes, that I’m blessed.

I can tell the world, yes, about this,

I can tell the nations, yes, that I’m blessed.

I can tell the world, yes, about this,

I can tell the nations, yes, that I’m blessed.

Yes, I can tell the world, yes, about this,

I can tell the nations, yes, that I’m blessed.

Tell ’em what my Lord has done,

Tell ’em that the conqueror has come,

And he brought joy, joy, joy to my soul.

My Lord done just what he said.

Yes He did, Oh Lord, yes He did.

He healed the sick and He raised the dead.

Yes He did, Oh Lord, yes He did.

He lifted me when I was down.

Yes He did, Oh Lord, yes He did.

He placed my feet on solid ground.

Yes He did, Oh Lord, yes He did.

I can tell the nations, yes, that I’m blessed.

Tell ’em what my Lord has done,

Tell ’em that the conqueror has come,

And he brought joy, joy,

That mornin’, Hallelujah!

That mornin’, Hallelujah!

Oh Lord, He brought joy that mornin’, when He saved me.

Joy that mornin’, when He blessed me.

I’ll tell it,

How He brought this joy to my soul.


Requiem by John Rutter (1,3,4,6,7)

Requiem aeternam
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine:

et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Te decet hymnus Deus in Sion.

et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem:

exaudit orationem meam,

ad te omnis caro veniet.

Kyrie, eleison,

Christe, eleison,

Kyrie, eleison.

Grant them eternal rest, O Lord,

and may light eternal shine upon them.

It is fitting that a hymn should be raised
unto Thee in Sion

and a vow paid to Thee in Jerusalem:

give ear to my prayer, O Lord,

unto Thee all flesh shall come at last.

Lord, have mercy!

Christ, have mercy!

Lord, have mercy!

Pie Jesu Soprano and Chorus
Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem,

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine

Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem,

sempiternam requiem.

Blessed Lord Jesus, grant them rest,

Grant them eternal rest, Lord

Blessed Lord Jesus, grant them rest,

eternal rest.

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus,

Dominus Deus Sabaoth.

Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.

Hosanna in excelsis.

Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini,

Hosanna in excelsis.

Holy, Holy, Holy,

Lord God of Hosts.

Heaven and Earth are full of thy glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.

The Lord Is My Shepherd
The lord is my shepherd; therefore can I lack nothing.

He shall feed me in a green pasture,

and lead me forth beside the waters of comfort.

He shall convert my soul and bring me forth in the paths of righteousness,

for his Name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;

for thou art with me:

thy rod and thy staff comfort me. Thou shalt prepare a table before me against them that trouble me:

Thou hast anointed my head with oil,

and my cup shall be full.

But thy loving-kindness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Lux Aeterna
I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me.

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord,

for they rest from their labours;

even so saith the Spirit.

Lux æterna luceat eis Domine;

Cum sanctis tuis in æternum, quia pius es.

Requiem æternam dona eis Domine,

et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Let eternal light shine upon them, O Lord;

with Thy saints for ever, for art merciful.

Grant them eternal rest, O Lord,

and may light perpetual shine on them.



Elaine Hagenberg (b.1979)

Poem by Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)

From my spirit’s gray defeat,

From my pulse’s flagging beat,

From my hopes that turned to sand

Sifting through my close-clenched hand,

From my own fault’s slavery,

If I can sing, I still am free.

For with my singing I can make

A refuge for my spirit’s sake,

A house of shining words, to be

My fragile immortality.


Wie Lieblich

from Ein Deutsches Requiem

Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen, Herr Zebaoth!

Meine Seele verlanget und sehnet sich nach den Vorhöfen des Herrn;

mein Leib und Seele freuen sich

in dem lebendigen Gott.

Wohl denen, die in deinem Hause wohnen,

die loben dich immerdar.

How lovely is thy dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!

My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord;

my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.

Blessed are they that dwell in thy house:

they will be still praising thee.


Sure on This Shining Night

Poem by James Agee

Sure on this shining night

Of star made shadows round,

Kindness must watch for me

This side the ground.

The late year lies down the north.

All is healed, all is health.

High summer holds the earth.

Hearts all whole.

Sure on this shining night I weep for wonder wand’ring far alone

Of shadows on the stars.


No Time

Camp Meeting Songs

Arr. Susan Brumfield


Rise, oh fathers, rise.

Let’s go meet ‘em in the skies.

We will hear the angels singing

In that morning.

Oh I really do believe that

Just before the end of time

We will hear the angels singing

In that morning.

Rise, oh mothers, rise, …


No time to tarry here,

No time to wait for you,

No time to tarry here

For I’m on my journey home.

Brothers, oh fare you well,

Brothers, oh fare you well,

Brothers, oh fare you well,

For I’m on my journey home.

No time to tarry here,

No time to wait for you,

No time to tarry here,

For I’m on my journey home.

Sisters, oh fare you well, …


Lift Every Voice and Sing

Song by J. Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson

Arr. Roland Carter

Lift every voice and sing

Till earth and heaven ring,

Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;

Let our rejoicing rise

High as the listening skies,

Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,

Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us,

Facing the rising sun of our new day begun

Let us march on till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod,

Bitter the chastening rod,

Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;

Yet with a steady beat,

Have not our weary feet

Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?

We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,

We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,

Out from the gloomy past,

Till now we stand at last

Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years,

God of our silent tears,

Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;

Thou who has by Thy might Led us into the light,

Keep us forever in the path, we pray.

Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,

Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;

Shadowed beneath Thy hand,

May we forever stand.

True to our God,

True to our native land.


An Irish Blessing

Ryan Brandau

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

the rains fall soft upon your fields,

and until we meet again,

may God hold you in the palm of his hand.


Rose Ananthanayagam, Gail Balog, Stephanie Brown, Rebecca Carroll, Dorothy Cassimatis, Sally Chrisman, Hari Kanta Didi-Ogren, Sandra Black Duffy, Christine Elsner, Angel Gardner, Amelia Gruber, Candus Hedberg, Jan Johnson, Carol Johnston, Kathy Korwin, Maureen Kyle, Teri Lindstrom, Carol K. McCollough, Noel McCormick, Marjorie Morse, Sandra Noyelle, Christina Pantelias, Caroline Phinney, Jody Stebbins, Marilee Thompson, Peggy Waldron, Norah Wasden, Tasneem Yusufali

LaVerna Albury, Erica Townsend Appel, Brenda Berger, Janet Breslin, Elly Sparks Brown, Elaine R. Clisham, Libby Crowley, Lisa Dacuk-Julius, Linda Gardner, Louise Gross, Ellen Harrison, Joyce Irwin, Olga Kronenberg, Carolyn P. Landis, Susan Metz, Dee Dee Miles, Kim Elaine Neighbor, Jean Parsons, Janet Perkins, Fran Perlman, Ellen Petrone, Karen Repka, Susan Sumutka, Ravenna Taylor, Becky Worrell

Samuel Denler, Wolfgang Elsner, Billy Ford, Gary Gregg, Daniel Kanhofer, Jason Matthews, Michael McCormick, Fred Millner, Larry Parker, Dudley Rice, Ralph Slaght, Dan Spira, Martin Wheelwright

Charles Appel, Dennis Balodis, Max Brey, John Couch, Bruce B. Duffy, Richard Farris, Jacques Lebel, Kenny Litvack, Lucien S. Marchand, Bernard J. McMullan, Gerald Metz, Brian Newhouse, Gahan Pandina, Robert Phinney, Michael Stebbins, Charles A.M. Tompkins

Stephanie Brown, Angel Gardner, Mia Gruber, Maureen Kyle, Noël McCormick, Norah Wasden, Brenda Berger, Janet Breslin, Joyce Irwin, Sue Metz, Kim Neighbor, Sam Denler, Mike McCormick, Jason Matthews, Maxwell Brey, Kenny Litvack

Instrumental Ensemble

Flute Mary Schmidt

Oboe & English Horn Karen Birch Blundell

Cello David Heiss

Harp Andre Tarantiles

Piano & Organ Eric Plutz

Timpani William Trigg

Personnel Manager William Trigg


Princeton Pro Musica wishes to thank the following individuals and organizations for providing their special help:

  • Discover Jersey Arts
  • New Jersey State Council on the Arts
  • Princeton Area Community Foundation
  • Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce Princeton Online
  • Vince Gabriel Antonini, VGA music
  • Robert Bullington, Front Row Seat Productions, LLC

Support Staff Volunteers


Janet Breslin


Maureen Kyle


Dee Dee Miles


Dee Dee Miles


Kim Neighbor


Candus Hedberg, soprano

Kim Neighbor, alto

Gary Gregg, tenor

Richard Farris, bass


Carolyn Landis


Box Office: Blessing Agunwamba and Kevin Dziuba

House Manager: Timothy Carpenter

Ushers: Steve Berger, Walter Dixon, Jim McCarthy, Charlie Repka, Jeff Winik, Don Worrell

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