The Song We Sing was commissioned by the Arts Chorale of Winchester (Virginia) to honor founding artistic director Michael Main and his husband, accompanist Richard McPherson upon their retirement from the ensemble after 19 years. Scored for SATB chorus and piano four-hands, the score sets three new poems by Robert Bode, himself a well-known choral conductor as well as a poet.
- Let's Move to the Sea
- The Song We Sing
- Morning Dance
“Let’s Move to the Sea” (#1) references Michael’s and Richard’s plan to relocate from Virginia to the seaside resort of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The music is marked “Brightly” and is highly rhythmic and dancelike. Robert Bode’s poem is in three verses, and the music follows this layout, with three clearly related sections.
The poem “The Song We Sing” (#2) is a quiet, and rather profound, meditation on the underlying meaning of choral singing—the deeper sense of what it means to sing together. It underscores the fact that choirs often create a feeling of community where individuals are accepted for themselves without prejudice as they come together to make music.
Like the first movement, “Morning Dance” (#3) is rhythmic and playful. The poem is organized into four verses, each followed by a refrain. The music, similarly, is written in four sections that are based on closely-related musical materials, each followed by a refrain of almost identical music. Everything culminates in the poem’s ecstatic final line, “Lift your arms to the sun, and dance!”
The Missouri State University Chorale is the flagship choral ensemble at Missouri State University. Made up of a diverse group of singers from a variety of backgrounds, this renowned ensemble performs at an incredibly high level and enjoys an international reputation. The MSU Chorale has performed regularly at conferences of the American Choral Directors Association, Missouri Music Educators Association, the National Association for Music Education, and has toured throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Cameron F. LaBarr is director of choral studies at Missouri State University, where he leads a comprehensive choral program including eight choirs and a graduate program in choral conducting. He holds a Bachelor of Music from Missouri State University and earned a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of North Texas. Additionally, Dr. LaBarr has completed further study in choral music and conducting with Simon Carrington and Alice Parker. Dr. LaBarr has worked as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia, recently at the China International Chorus Festival, the Bali International Choir Festival, and the Limerick Sings International Choral Festival (Ireland).