We are packing up our kids and our bags and heading up to Idaho for 4 days.
The occasion? The Idaho premiere of my sacred cantata The Good Shepherd.
You can watch a live stream of the concert on Tuesday night, the 20th, at 7:30pm, mountain time. Use the link below to tune in.
It's the first time in almost exactly 10 years that we are visiting Rexburg. Janae and I met there, fell in love, there, went to school there, had our first two children there, I taught there for 2 years, became a composer and a conductor there, and then we left there in 2007 to go to graduate school in Cincinnati.
I have to admit, I'm feeling pretty nervous about going back.
I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe something to do with all that's happened in the past 10 years? Possibly the worry of dragging up old buried fears, worries, and emotions? I'm not sure.
I am pretty sure I was an arrogant little sod while I was there. Maybe I'm worried about that? Who knows.
What I am excited about is hearing the fine BYU-Idaho Collegiate Singers and Orchestra perform a piece that is very near and dear to my heart. Especially the middle movement, my dark and brooding, then eventual redeeming setting of Psalm 23 with a large chorus, and in the wonderful Barrus Concert Hall.
I've pasted my program note below so you can get a little preview and some back story about the piece.
You can also watch the premiere performance from last year at St. Thomas Episcopal Church. Use the link below.
Well, wish me luck!
'The Good Shepherd' -- Composer’s Note:
Tucked away on the forested outskirts of Cincinnati, OH is a beautiful old German church, St. Thomas Episcopal Church. It has been my pleasure to serve there these past 5 years as composer-in- residence. Each month, the Bach Ensemble at St. Thomas--an ensemble of Bach loving musicians from the Cincinnati Symphony and other local professionals--presents one of Bach's 200 existing church cantatas in its natural habitat; not the concert hall, but in a worship service.
I began writing a cantata of my own each year to stand alongside or take the place of the Bach cantata of the month. Phyllis Wocher (LDS poet and author) and I compile the texts for these cantatas from the Bible and LDS scripture, together with new poems and hymn texts of our own design. The Good Shepherd is the 4th in this series and was jointly commissioned by St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Fairfax United Methodist Church in Virginia, and BYU-Idaho.
The Good Shepherd is the story of the lost sheep in all of us who sometimes strays from the fold and ends up trapped on a steep and slippery slope. Finding himself in dire straits, he remembers the Shepherd and cries for help. Hoping his feeble bleating will be heard and the search party will find him, he comes to himself and realizes that it was his own neglect of the Shepherd's voice that brought him to “the valley of the shadow of death." When the Shepherd comes at last to the rescue, He lovingly binds the sheep's wounds and carries him on his shoulders back to the fold. The sheep's eyes are opened and he learns a profound truth. The Shepherd became who He is by giving His life for the sheep. Only by taking up his own cross and becoming an under-shepherd can the sheep truly dwell in the house of the Lord and find eternal pasture.