Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Blog #3, First Public Performances of Bill of Rights

In the middle of August I was interviewed extensively by New York Times writer Brian Wise, in preparation for a feature article for the Sunday Times Connecticut section. The article appeared yesterday (September 4, 2005). For obvious copyright reasons I can’t reproduce Brian’s fine summary of my most recent choral composition (and the career of its composer) here, or link readers to it. However, I can tell you about it, and you can look it up on your own.

The same goes for the excellent piece which Matt Erikson wrote for the Hartford Courant about “The Bill of Rights.” Check it out—it appeared on July 4, 2005.

I have been invited to talk about this piece to a sixth-grade social studies class in West Hartford. I’m more than happy to visit other classes, far and wide. Contact me directly at:


As many of you will know, Congress, late in 2004, passed a bill which establishes September 17 as Constitution Day. On this date in 1787 the final signatures were added to the Constitution (including of course the Bill of Rights) and copies were sent to the States for ratification. If the 17th falls on a Saturday (as it does this year) the holiday is to be celebrated on the 16th. Wesleyan has planned various events to celebrate Constitution Day on Thursday and Friday (15 and 16), including a lecture by Paul Finkleman, professor of law at the University of Tulsa, who will speak on the separation of church and state at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday in Olin Library.

Featured will be the FIRST PUBLIC PERFORMANCES of my setting of the Bill of Rights. (The event at South Church on July 10 was a public reading, not really a performance.) I have assembled a group of area singers (professional, semi-professional and amateur), including students and colleagues at Wesleyan, to sing under my direction. For those of you reading this blog who are in the area and want to come, here’s more information:

What: The first complete performances of "The Bill of Rights"
When: Thursday September 15 at 1:10 p.m.
Where: The Lobby of OLIN LIBRARY on the Wesleyan University campus

When: Friday September 16 at 12:10 p.m.
Where: Wesleyan Memorial Chapel

The performance on Thursday in the library is in honor of the founding of the new Wesleyan Pre-Law Society. (I expect it will be sung by a smaller group of voices—many people can’t be around the Wesleyan campus in the middle of the day two days in a row, though some have told me that they are clever about masking their absence from work and wouldn’t miss it for love nor money.) The Friday performance is the opening event in the new Wesleyan Music Department/Center for the Arts series of informal Friday noon concerts in the Chapel. Area residents take note!

News of the Friday performance has attracted singers who will be coming from as far away as Washington DC and Albany NY, and others from Massachusetts and Vermont are planning to participate. If you would like to join in this historic event there are rehearsals on Sunday night the 11th from 7:00 to 9:30, Thursday at noon for an hour, and Friday morning at 10:30, these rehearsals just before the two performances. Contact me directly at the Email address above for details of location, getting the music, or any questions you may have.

On other matters pertaining to this setting of this text: people all over the United States and the territories continue to download the music for the First Amendment. However, there are no new states represented. I need to get working on that aspect of this project. In my second blog I expressed a desire to have at least one download in all of the fifty states before Thanksgiving. That is still quite possible, of course, but I have to get the word out more efficiently and much more broadly. Help and suggestions are more than welcome.