Secular

Choral score

$10.50 per copy (you are buying a digital license)

This is How You Love.jpg

Premiere Performance

The Esoterics, Feb. 9-11, 2018


Text:

1. Vow

I’ll love you until stars fall. Can this be
So sure, so lasting as my heart demands
Of one, whose slightest touch upon my hands
Is like the wind inside an aspen tree?

I am in doubt of this frail thing I hold
So sworn to constancy, and this is why:
Too often I have watched a burnt-blue sky
Where slipping stars spilled scarlet and grew cold.

- Florence Hynes Wilette, used with permission 

2. Disclosure #1

Voice 1: Here is my happiness; I’m turning it all over to you. 
Choir: What do you feel?
Voice 1: Here’s my future well-being. I’m entrusting my life to you. Treat me gently, because I’m all in your hands. Choir: What do you feel?
Voice 1: Scared. I’m giving you my future. Part of me feels elated and part of me feels scared. I’m excited by the possibilities, but I’m also scared. I might goof it up, and I’d have only me to blame.

- Couples therapy session, Dr. Ellyn Bader,
used with permission


3. 3:29 a.m.

Leave the lights off.
Leave only sound.
Leave only skin.
Leave only you,
each rib, for counting.

- Julia Klatt Singer, used with permission

I don’t
Need magic,
I need your arms around me
At 3:29 a.m. when
The dark
Is too much, I
Need you to be real
When nothing
Else is.

- a.r. asher, used with permission

4. the love song of empty spaces 

We commit to memory the sound of ice
melting in a glass, the amber glow
of a streetlight and the darkness
just out of its reach

Tucked neatly behind your folded arms
lie all the secrets this land has buried
truths you promise to tell me when
the wind is right.

There is no need for words with this still
life between us. We can see our future
in this fading sky, can read each other’s
minds in the scent of late summer rain.

- Julia Klatt Singer , used with permission

5. Disclosure #2

Voice 1: I miss the closeness. I don’t like the emptiness. I’ll do what I can to be close again.
Voice 2: I’m touched.
Voice 1: I’m just being a romantic.
Voice 2: You’ll do that?
Voice 1: Sure.

- Couples therapy session, Dr. Ellyn Bader,
used with permission


6. Hungry (composed by Timothy C. Takach)

Pulled hot from the dryer,
the flannel sheets turn our bed

into a cocoon, a refuge
where hungry bodies blend.

See how the years together
have turned us softer, and sweet.

And still, there is the keen blade
of our desire, that constant heat.

When our twin bodies meet
under the blankets,

we recognize one another
in a world beyond language,

hand to hand, mouth to mouth,
pressed tightly together as we sleep.

We’re much alike, yet still unique. 
When we share a bed, we sing.

- William Reichard, used with permission

7. Disclosure #3

Voice 1: Are you angry at me?
Voice 2: I’m getting there.
Voice 1: Tell me what you’re angry about.
Voice 2: That my wanting to spend time with you is somehow wrong. It seems like that should be positive, not negative. Are you angry at me?
Voice 1: I’m angry that getting you to do anything outside our cozy little home is like pulling teeth. You don’t want to grow anymore. That frustration makes me angry. I feel like you are holding me back. That I am holding myself back.

- Couples therapy session, Dr. Ellyn Bader,
used with permission


8. Endurance

We have endured
a distance of continents

We have endured
A distance of words

We have endured
A drought

We have endured
A rainstorm

We have endured
Conflict and boredom
Burnt toast, daycare, laundry, tuition and not answering the phone

We have endured

Adjustment
Obligation
Promise
Vow

We have endured 
Our love
And our fear.

We will endure.

- Jorges Arenas, used with permission

9. Disclosure #4 (composed by Timothy C. Takach)

Voice 1: I miss the way we were. I’m afraid the future you want is less and less of something that matters to me. Do you know what I mean?
Voice 2: I understand, but how else are you going to grow and change if you don’t do new things and have new experiences?
Voice 1: There are a lot of things you can find inside, too. I think we want the same thing.
Voice 2: Me too.

- Couples therapy session, Dr. Ellyn Bader,
used with permission


10. needle & thread (composed by Jocelyn Hagen)

you the 
brought needle
& I brought the thread.
we meant to mend our
two broken hearts,
but we ended up
stitching them
togeth
er

- Amanda Lovelace, used with permission

11. Love/Light

Even after all these years,
the Sun never says
to the Earth
“You owe Me.”
Look what happens—
with a Love
like that,
it lights
the whole
sky.

- Hafiz, trans. Ladinsky, “The Sun Never Says” from The Gift, copyright 1999 by Daniel Ladinsky, and used with permission.

yours is the light by which my spirit’s born:
yours is the darkness of my soul’s return
you are my sun, my moon, and all my stars.

- E. E. Cummings, “silently if, out of not knowable” from COMPLETE POEMS: 1904-1962, by E. E. Cummings, Edited by George J. Firmage, is used with the permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation. Copyright (c) 1963, 1991 by the Trustees for the E. E. Cummings Trust.

12. Disclosure #5 (composed by Jocelyn Hagen)

Voice 1: It was a very hard time but it forced us to find new ways. We had to find new ways to be, to live, and to work together as a family, and we did. We all found some new ways.
Voice 2: I feel a relief, a release to some feelings I didn’t even know I was still carrying.
Voice 1: I feel happy that we’ve had a chance to share this experience together.

- Couples therapy session, Dr. Ellyn Bader, 
used with permission


13. Anniversary

Maybe it wasn’t strange to find
drums and cymbals where
there might have been violins, maybe
we couldn’t have known; besides,
would it have mattered?
Look at this hand, this arm:
the thick scar across the knuckles,
another in the palm, a ragged one
running along the forearm.
And you:
I know your scars at midnight
by touch.

Everything we’ve learned, we’ve picked up
by ear, a pidgin language
of the heart, just
enough to get by on:
we know the value of cacophony; how to measure
with a broken yardstick;
what to do with bruised fruit;
reading torn maps, we always
make it home, riding
on empty.

And whatever this thing is–palace?
cottage?–we remember
putting it up, every beam,
sighting it skew, making it plumb
eventually; and here it stands,
stone over rock, and on the simple hearth
is our own cricket; and in the walls
there are secret passages
leading to music
nobody else can hear; and somewhere
in a room that’s not yet finished
there are volumes in our own hand, telling
troubled tales, promises kept, and
promises
still to keep.

- Philip Appleman, used with permission