This work is now published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing! Visit their website to learn more and to purchase scores!
The text of A Universal Dream comes from several sources. In putting together the text for this piece I wanted to express a universal message of liberty and freedom. This very idea is what Jane Addams herself wished for the people who came to the Hull-House in Chicago at the beginning of the 20th century. These people were looking for a better life, a chance to be heard, and the very rights promised to them under the Constitution of the United States. Addams provided this opportunity through combining social justice ideals with opportunities for working-class citizens that included education classes for children and adults.
Meta Hellman, a member of the Sister Singers Network, wrote some lovely text inspired by Jane Addams’ speeches and writings. I took some of Meta’s text and combined it with text from the preamble of the Constitution. I felt that Jane Addams own words and the words from this great document could be combined to express this idea of liberty and equality.
At the end of the piece a descant line enters with words in different languages that mean “liberty” or “freedom.” There were so many immigrants in Chicago at the turn of the 20th century, and I thought it fitting to honor the rights they fought to create for the generations to come by letting their own languages be heard in the final moments of the piece.
This piece was commissioned by the Sister Singers Network and will be premiered on July 4th, 2010 – a very fitting day to sing a piece that speaks of liberty and freedom for all. -JB
From the premiere with Jenni conducting and Stephanie Larenas on piano with Jennifer Vannell on Djembe.
Premiered July 4, 2010 in Chicago.
The 2010 SSN Festival, hosted by Artemis Singers, took place from Thursday, July 1 and continued through Sunday, July 4. The event took place at Loyola University Chicago – Lake Shore Campus.