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19770686
19770686
19770686

Fighting Over What We Believe (Youth and Adult Choirs)

By Elizabeth Alexander

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SAB (youth choir), SATB (adult choir) and piano - Moderate
Composed by Elizabeth Alexander. Octavo. With Text language: English. Duration 4 minutes. Published by Seafarer Press (SF.SEA-099-00).

Item Number: SF.SEA-099-00

Lyrics by Elizabeth Alexander.

A bold meditation on conflict, communication and compromise, served up with a touch of hip-hop cadence, a "call to action" refrain, and solid choral craftsmanship. This innovative song calls for the youth choir to sing in dialogue with the adult choir, reflecting the dynamic relationship necessary for all difficult and important conversations.

Commissioned by Mayflower United Church of Christ; Nancy Grundah conductor. (Minneapolis, MN) Commissioned in honor of Nancy Grundahl, Dorothy Williams and Dana Blanck
Composer's Note: This commission from Mayflower United Church of Christ came with an exciting and irresitable mission: To compose a piece which had social justice at its core, and to score it for combined youth and adult choirs. The music directors knew me and my work already, so they had to suspect that this prospect would have me chomping at the bit. And because I already knew something about Mayflower's passion and commitment to unflinching dialogue and bold actions, I knew the church would welcome the hard edges and difficult questions that I poured into this song.

Text: Talking left, talking right, talking far into the night, Splitting hairs, splitting up, splitting off, Less and more, rich and poor, what to address, what to ignore, What is our mission statement for? Persuade, coerce, Convene, disperse, Accept or curse? Deny, confess, Condemn or bless? Who lives? Who dies? My truth, your lies. Bring in, shut out, what's that all about? Who gives out retribution and grace? What to keep, what to spend, What to give and what to lend? Some have not, some have a lot. Tell me how we're gonna split the pot? I see us fighting over what we believe, how to love and how to pray. We begin with hope and resolve and dreams, and end up fighting over what we believe. I see us fighting over what we believe, leaving spirits poor and lonely. I want to use my fighting spirit in a different way instead of fighting over what we believe. I want to wrestle with the angel 'til the light of dawn, And struggle with my need for pride. I want to take on my tendency to turn my head, And grapple with why it feels so hard to gently lay our differences aside. (Day, night, wrong, right, no end in sight.) ADULTS: We all believe in justice... / YOUTH: Let's talk about what that looks like. ADULTS: And we believe in compassion... / YOUTH: Let's look at what that really means. ALL: We believe in the holy work of listening, to every voice. Let's start our conversation there... Instead of fighting over what we believe. It wears us down and wears us out. We have eyes to see, we have ears to hear, we have hands that long to give and receive. I see us fighting over what we believe, leaving spirits poor and lonely. I want to use my fighting spirit in a different way instead of fighting over what we believe. (Divide, unite, exclude, invite, day, night, wrong, right, no end in sight.) We all believe in justice. Let's talk about what that looks like. COpyright 2011 by Elizabeth Alexander. All rights reserved.

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