"With Soul Serene" is my third work written specifically for younger musicians and was inspired by a poem composed by an American Civil War soldier in 1864. John Worrell Northrop fought for the Union and was captured and sent to Andersonville Prison, about one hundred miles from my hometown. Andersonville was a notoriously cruel and miserable place, but Northrop’s poem reflects a man who remained optimistic in the face of adversity:
I’ve struggled hard for victory, In pride, although in pain, With soul sereneand spirit free, And so I must again. My piece attempts to capture the indomitable spirit of Northrop’s words, while reflecting on the harsh and conflicted past of the Southern United States. Howard Hanson’s Chorale and Alleluia served as a guide for the form of this piece and the “alleluia” motive is quoted liberally in the second half of my work. Ultimately, I hope my composition leaves listeners with a sense of optimism for the future, despite the many tensions that pester our present day.
Commission Consortium Membership
Lee Newman, Norcross High School (lead commissioner) Brett Bawcum, University of Georgia Josh Byrd, University of West Georgia Ashley Floyd, Elbert County High School Laura Stanley, Brookwood High School Nathan Groves, Duluth High School William Owens, Mountain View High School Blake Unger, Peachtree Ridge High School