Vocal Compositions

One Land: An American Tapestry | Congressional Chorus
Artistic Director: David Simmons | Soloist: Rhea Walker, Soporano

14:30 | SATB, soprano soloist, piano, drum kit, alto flute or flute, clarinet; with optional trumpet, horn, trombone, violins 1 and 2, viola, cello, string bass, timpani

This is a tonal and melodic score comprising musical portraits of American immigrant stories. The perspective shifts throughout; there is a Native American-influenced introduction that leads to a universal chorus, then musical looks at Native American, Spanish, English/Northern European, African-American, Chinese, and Ellis Island experiences. The piece concludes with a rousing gospel portrayal of the United States as an eternally young land, imperfect but striving to be a better place.

The musical elements directly emphasize the various cultures, often reflecting recognizable genres such as blues, gospel and klezmer, with hints of Gershwin and Ellington, the quintessential American composers. Despite using so many musical segments, in what is essentially an overture style, One Land: An American Tapestry maintains musical flow and dramatic narrative within a unified structure.

The piece was commissioned by Louise Buchanan for the 20th Anniversary of the Congressional Chorus, in honor of founding artistic director Michael Patterson. First premiered at the Kennedy Center in 2007, it was extensively revised in 2011 to celebrate the Chorus' 25th anniversary season.

Concert footage, audio and choir photos of the performance were provided by Christian Amonson, Arts Laureate. Video editing by John J. Thomas, TrustPoiint Communication, LLC.