Skip to content

Program Booklet Addendum

Master Singers of Worcester

Staff Biographies
2023/24 Members

A Woman’s Voice
Saturday, November 18, 2023

Gennifer Dorgan will present a pre-concert lecture on Hildegard von Bingen.  Gennifer is a PhD candidate at UMass Amherst and Latin and German adjunct at Assumption University.  She holds an MA in Medieval Studies from the University of Connecticut.  Her doctoral research focuses on the interdependence of Latin and vernacular literary traditions in High Medieval German literature.

Texts, Translations, and Notes

Laus Trinitati
Hildegard von Bingen & Faith Zimmer

Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) was Benedictine Abbess fluent in composition, poetry, philosophy, medicine, and science (most notably, botany).  She is the most prolific writer of sacred monophony (chant), and her Ordo Virtutum, a morality play comprising 82 songs, is thought to be one of the first full-length musical compositions.  Hildegard was granted sainthood in 2012, and even has a minor planet (asteroid) named after her.
Faith Zimmer (born 1997) studied composition and choral music at Missouri State University, and was a Melodious Accord Fellow under Alice Parker.  She is currently a private music teacher and a visual artist.

Laus Trinitati
Que sonus et vita
Ac creatrix omnium
In vita ipsorum est,
Et que laus angelice turbe
Et mirus splendor archanorum,
Que hominibus ignota sunt, est,
Et que in omnibus vita est.

Praise to the Trinity,
She who is the sound and the life
and the creator
of every last thing in life,
She who is the glory of the angelic host
and the astounding splendor of the mysteries
which are unknown to humanity;
She who is in the life of all creation.

Lockung, from Gartenlieder
Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel

Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (1805-1847) composed nearly 400 works, although most of them were not published during her lifetime, due largely to her family’s (and society’s) ambivalence toward publishing pieces written by women.  Six of her lieder were published under the name of her younger brother, Felix, and her Easter Cantata was originally credited to him as well.  In addition to her own composition, Fanny was the strongest guiding force in the compositional output of brother Felix, and he referred to her as “Minerva,” after the Roman goddess of wisdom.

Hörst du nicht die Bäume rauschen
Draußen durch die stille Rund?
Lockt’s dich nicht, hinabzulauschen
Von dem Söller in den Grund,
Wo die vielen Bäche gehen,
Wunderbar in Mondenschein,
Und die stillen Burgen sehen
In den Fluß vom hohen Stein?

Kennst du noch die süssen Lieder
Aus der alten, schönen Zeit?
Sie erwachen alle wieder
Nachts in Waldeseinsamkeit,
Wenn die Bäume träumend lauschen,
Und der Flieder duftet schwül
Und im Fluß die Nixen rauschen,
Komm herab, hier ist’s so kühl.

Don’t you hear the trees rustling
through the stillness outside?
Doesn’t it entice you to listen
from your height down to the depths,
where many brooks flow
so marvelously in the moonlight,
and the silent castles look down
into the river from the rocks below?

Do you still remember the sweet songs
from the old, wonderful time?
They all awaken again
at night in the solitude of the forest,
when the dreaming trees listen,
and the lilac smells so sweet,
and the nymphs listen in the river –
Come down; it’s so cool here.

Pour les Funerailles d’un Soldat
Lili Boulanger
Translation by Lorraine Cote

Marie-Juliette Olga “Lili” Boulanger (1893-1918), was the first woman to win the coveted Prix de Rome composition prize.  She studied at the Paris Conservatory under many master teachers, including Gabriel Fauré, who often brought her scores to play and study.  Her compositional output, only 24 completed works, shows influences of both Fauré and Debussy, and was an influence on the works of Arthur Honneger.  Lili was hampered by illness from a very young age, and she died at the age of 25 from intestinal tuberculosis.

Qu’on voile les tambours,
que le prêtre s’avance.
A genoux, compagnons,
tête nue et silence.
Qu’on dise devant nous la prière des morts.
Nous voulons au tombeau porter le capitaine.
Il est mort en soldat, sur la terre chrétienne.
L’âme appartient à Dieu;
l’armée aura le corps.

Si ces rideaux de pourpre et ces ardents nuages,
Que chasse dans l’éther le souffle des orages,
Sont des guerriers couchés dans leurs armures d’or,
Penche-toi, noble cœur, sur ces vertes collines,
Et vois tes compagnons briser leurs javelines
Sur cette froide terre, où ton corps est resté!

Let the drums be veiled,
let the priest come forward.
On your knees comrades,
bare heads and silence.
Let the prayer for the dead be said before us.
We want to carry the captain to the grave.
He died as a soldier, on Christian soil.
The soul belongs to God,
the army will have the body.

If these purple curtains, and these fiery clouds,
Which the breath of storms chases into the ether,
Are warriors lying in their golden armor,
Lean, noble heart over these green hills,
And witness your comrades break their javelins
On this cold earth, where your body remained.

Praise the Lord
Florence B. Price

Florence Beatrice Price (1887-1953) composed over 300 works, and was instrumental in the Chicago artistic circles for nearly 30 years.  She was the first woman to ever have a symphonic work performed by a major symphony orchestra.  Although overshadowed during her lifetime by male composers like Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein, she was nonetheless equally responsible for creating what we now recognize as the School of American Classicism.

Praise the Lord, All ye nations;  Praise the Lord, All ye people.
Praise the Lord for His merciful kindness is great toward us;
And the truth of the Lord endureth forever.

Secret and Glass Gardens
Jennifer Higdon

“A journey of wonder and discovery, this secret garden reflects the paths of our hearts. It is a place of magical colors and brightly hued glass, where all is in view. The plants that grow there are like no other, in color and shape, and every turn of a corner brings new discoveries. The garden sweeps the viewer along amidst small, delicate details and full, grand shapes, carrying magic through all corners and at every step.” – Jennifer Higdon

I Dreamed of Rain
Jan Garrett

Jan Garrett (born 1945) is a jazz singer and songwriter who has performed with Steve Martin, John Denver, and The Dirt Band, and has been featured on The Tonight Show and in Rolling Stone Magazine. Her motto is, “The chance of a lifetime is to be yourself.”

I dreamed of rain and the rains came, soft and easy, sweet and clear.
I dreamed of rain and the rains came, and peace spread over the land.

I dreamed of summer and the winds changed, and the green was easy and the rivers ran clear.
I dreamed of summer and the winds changed, and peace spread over the land.

And the flowers bloomed in the desert, and the air is fresh and clear.
I dreamed of rain and the rains came, and peace spread over the land.

I dreamed of freedom and the moon rose, and the way was easy and the path was clear.
I dreamed of freedom and the moon rose, and peace spread over the land.

And the guardian stars are shining, and the night is bright and clear.
I dreamed of freedom and the moon rose, and peace spread over the land.

I dreamed of heaven and the earth sang, and the sound was easy, the song was clear.
I dreamed of heaven and the earth sang, and peace spread over the land.

And the ancient pain is forgotten, and the fathers’ debts are clear.
I dreamed of heaven and the earth sang, and peace spread over the land.

Solstice Song
Jan Garrett

Deep in the darkest winter night, here with my candle burning.
Cozy and warm inside the light, Now that the year is turning.
What does the future hold in store?  Where has our journey bright us?
How can we learn from what’s gone before?  What has experience taught us?

Heart of creation, Lover of shadow and light.
Sing us the songs of a billion stars silently all through the night.
Friendship will light the darkest hours.  True love will hold the vision
Peace and good will on earth is ours.  Let it be our decision.

Now Is the Time
Cecilia McDowell

Cecilia McDowell (born 1951) holds a Masters degree in composition from the Trinity College of Music, London, and won the British Composer Award in 2014.  “Now Is The Time,” was written for the 2016 “Requiem to Cancer” benefit, a 24-hour sing-a-thon of Requiem masses and movements to raise money for cancer research.  To date, these  benefits have raised over $125,000.  The text of this work is a quote from Marie Curie.

Life is not easy for any of us, but what of that?
We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves.
We must believe that we are gifted in something,
and that this thing must be attained.

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.
Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

She Walks in Beauty
Gwyneth Walker

Gwyneth Walker (born 1947), a native of New Canaan, CT, taught at the Hartt School of Music, the Hartford Conservatory, and Oberlin College, before moving to a dairy farm in Vermont and becoming a full-time composer.  Her body of work ranges from instrumental concertos, to choral suites to solo song cycles.

She walks in beauty like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies.
And all that’s best of dark and bright meet in her aspect and her eyes.
She walks in beauty like the night.

He walks in courage as the day, with certain step and knowing pace,
To follow his heart in every way, to show a kindness in his face.
Love, love as the day.

And on that cheek and o’er that brow, so soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
A mind at peace with all below, and heart whose love is innocent.
They walk in beauty, O love!

Set me as a seal upon your heart.  Set me as a seal upon your arm.
For love is strong as death.  Many waters cannot quench love.
For faith abides.  Love, faith, and hope abide.  And love shall live forever.

The Sounds I Hear
Ellen Gilson Voth

Ellen Gilson Voth (born 1972) is the current Artistic Director of The Farmington Valley Chorale, a professional singer with CONCORA, and the Visiting Conductor for the Wesleyan University Concert Choir.  She is the 2022 winner of The American Prize for Choral Composition.

Can you hear the sounds, the choruses around?

When the wind draws the leaves in rustling and laughter,
When the oceans roar over the secrets in the deep,
When the sun through the clouds shines as it sings…

All the choruses in the world abound, around me here –
Sweet choruses I hear! (Can you hear?)

And when the sounds subsides,
And silence sits still in the air,
The space that music leaves behind
Is just as beautiful as the space it fills.

When the last note is played, and song drifts away, it yet lingers on.

Music – all around, outside, within – 
Would we only be still, And listen.

She Sings…
Amy Bernon

Amy Bernon, a native of Syracuse, NY, earned her degrees from the Hartt School and the Yale University School of Music.  She is the founder of the Alamanda Women’s Choir, has taught and accompanied throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts, and was active as an R&S Chair for Connecticut ACDA.

Far away in a far-off land lives a child who loves to sing.
She opens up her fragile heart, and her song, it takes wing.
She sings…

On the grass, on the cool, green grass that was hers since she could run,
She lies with hair open like a fan in the warmth of summer sun.
She sings…

She cries for light when the day is done.  She fears what night may bring.
She cries for those who have never loved, and for those who never sing.

My God Is A Rock
Alice Parker

Alice Parker (born 1925) earned performance and composition degrees from Smith College and Julliard before becoming the arranger for The Robert Shaw Chorale.  Her body of work extends to over 500 compositions, including operas, cantatas, and song cycles.  She is the founder of Melodious Accord, who’s Fellowship Program brings young professional musicians from around the world to work directly with her.

My God is a rock in weary land.  Shelter in a time of storm.

Stop and let me tell you ‘bout the Chapter One, When the Lord God’s work was just begun.
Stop and let me tell you ‘bout the Chapter Two, When the Lord God’s written his Bible through.
Stop and let me tell you ‘bout the Chapter Three, When the Lord God died on Calvary.

Stop and let me tell you ‘bout the Chapter Four, When the Lord God visit among the poor.
Stop and let me tell you ‘bout the Chapter Five, When the Lord God brought the dead alive.
Stop and let me tell you ‘bout the Chapter Six, He went in Jerusalem and healed the sick.

Stop and let me tell you ‘bout the Chapter Seven, Died and risen and went to heaven.
Stop and let me tell you ‘bout the Chapter Eight, John seen Him standing at the Golden Gate.
Stop and let me tell you ‘bout the Chapter Nine, Lord God turned the water to wine.

Stop and let me tell you ‘bout the Chapter Ten, John says He’s coming in the world again!

Still I Rise
Rosephanye Powell

Rosephanye Powell has earned degrees in music from Florida State University, Westminster Choir College, and Alabama State University.  She is currently a Professor of Voice at Auburn University, and in great demand as a composer and arranger.

Though I have been wounded: aching heart full of pain. Still I rise, yes, still I rise.
Just like a budding rose, my bloom is nourished by rain. Still I rise, yes, still I rise.
Haven’t time to wonder why, though fearful I strive. Still I rise, yes, still I rise.
My prayer and faith uphold me ‘til my courage arrives. Still I rise, yes, still I rise.

Still I rise like an eagle, soaring above every fear.
With each day I succeed, I grow strong and believe,
That it’s all within my reach.  I’m reaching for the skies.
Bolstered by courage, Yes, still I rise.

As my heart grows heavy, and my confidence dies. Still I rise, yes, still I rise.
Pure strength is in my tears and healing rains in my cries. Still I rise, yes, still I rise.
Plunging depths of anguish, I determine to strive. Still I rise, yes, still I rise.
My prayer and faith uphold me ‘til my courage arrives. Still I rise, yes, still I rise.

Though you see me slump with heartache; heart so heavy that it breaks.
Be not deceived – I fly on birds’ wings, rising sun, its healing rays.
Look at me.  I’m getting stronger; I’m determined to survive.
Though I get tired and I get weary, I won’t give up. I’m still alive!