Choral score

$5.00 for one copy of the cycle (you are buying a digital license)
$1.60 for individual movements available by clicking on the title

Paper Cranes (2010) - TBB, piano
Twenty Questions (2010) - 2-part treble voices, piano
Before We Get Dusty (2010) - SSA, piano
Where Beauty Comes From (2010) - SATB, piano


In 2010, poet Julia Klatt Singer and I were offered the opportunity to visit with the patients of Children’s Hospital of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Our task was to listen to their stories and turn them into music. As one reads the poems, the line between Julia’s poetic voice and the actual words and ideas of the children is wonderfully blurred. The poems are artfully cohesive, yet as I read them I can identify many different patients found hidden in the words.

- Timothy C. Takach


Paper Cranes
Wings made of paper, wishes made of air
One sits by the window, so quiet
The world out there
Made of buses, made of clouds
Made of steel, made of cranes.

One sits by the window
Listens to the dreams
we dream, hears the hum
of each machine,
knows that
If you could see
the way my mind moves
You’d hear the music in me.

In my head, an endless number,
A bear with no name.
Some things will always be here
Do not need a name or end
Some things we’ll never
Ever understand.

Blue’s my favorite color
Ruby and Rose, my favorite names
The day after we’re born
Is when our real life begins.

How does the crane carry
my wish on its wings?
How does the star rising,
hold my handprint
In its blaze?

A thousand cranes tied together,
left hanging cloud to cloud,
until tattered by the breeze,
and when they are broken
our wish begins.

Twenty Questions
When you’re in a hospital bed
There’s not much to do
So you study the numbers,
follows the tubes,
ask yourself questions, like

Do elephants have belly buttons?
Do pandas like peanuts?
Do you think I’ll lose my smile,
when I’m a grown up?

The nurses keep going
home every day.
Just stay for one,
then a new one comes.

Twenty questions, it’s just a game
It says it can read my mind
But it doesn’t even know
what I’m talking about.

Don’t want to think about
all the things I’m missing,
all the time I’m spending here.
Don’t want to think, so instead

How many flavors of ice cream
Are there in the world?
What would a red whale look like,
in a red sea?

When you’re in a hospital bed
There’s not much to do
So you memorize your arm band,
the tune the I.V. sings.

Daddy ate a birthday candle
Just for fun.
Mom tells me she’s seen me
do the bravest things.

You ask me if it’s hard
to be here in this bed. I tell you
life is hard, no matter
where you’re living it.

I do know this
No game can prove me wrong
There is so much happy
and sad, so all of a sudden
& there isn’t anything
we wouldn’t do
for each other.

Before We Get Dusty
I wish I had some bubble wrap
To pop with my feet
Want to jump, poke holes in paper
When it’s you, visiting me.

Feeling shy and thank you
Did you know my insides glow?
I swim like a fish, I dance like the wind
In the banana tree leaves.

I like pushing things
I like fighting and watching tv
I wish right now I was a bug
Climbing up your knee.

We’ll leave before we get dusty
We’ll run and climb every tree
Maybe tomorrow we’ll find some
Maybe we’ll all turn into bees.

I like to laugh and play with my grandpa,
I like ants in my p.j.s.
Do you wish you were a ball,
could roll and bounce off the walls with me?

I wish I was a builder
I’d build a house we’d decorate
With books and tickets, with money and dogs
With stickers and popsicle sticks.

On the ceiling we’ll find thoughts
Drifting and changing like the day,
We’ll lie on our backs and watch them
gather and carry our fears away.

We’ll leave before we get dusty
We’ll run and climb every tree
Maybe tomorrow we’ll find some answers
Maybe tomorrow we’ll leave.
Maybe tomorrow.

Where Beauty Comes From
Lying on our backs, somewhere
a guitar plays
we sing along, no words,
just a song all our own.

Sometimes the only thing moving
are your eyes,
to the beat of a drum.
What song do you see?
A darting bird? The sun’s hello?
Where beauty comes from?

We flicker like fireflies, we shine
Stars to guide us above,
we all want to matter, just want
To be loved.

Breathe in and hold it
breathe out and let it go
Sometimes we’ve got to improvise,
just sing a song all our own.

sometimes I’ve got to back away
sometimes I need to hear you say
this with me

sometimes my life’s
an uncertainty
but one day I’ll make all
the difference, you will see
in the world
you will see

close your eyes now, imagine
how this world could spin
open them and tell me
where beauty comes from

breathe in
and hold it
breathe out...

- All poems by Julia Klatt Singer (2010)