The Story of our Commissioned Choral Piece for Our 50th Anniversary Celebration!

Poetry Competition Background

In celebration of its 50th anniversary season in 2013-2014, the Greater New Haven Community Chorus has commissioned a choral work inspired by local photographers and poets. Five winning images were chosen during the Photography Competition, and were put on display to the public to inspire amateur poets in the greater New Haven area.  The winning poems from the poetry competition were then used to inspire the lyrics of the commissioned choral work.  The composition will be premiered by Greater New Haven Community Chorus at the May 2014 concert in culmination of the chorus’s 50th anniversary season.

Winning Submissions

Used in the creation of our 50th Anniversary Commissioned piece by composer Jake Runestad
HOLD MY HAND (Based on the photo “Cherry Blossoms on Wooster Square”, by Francesca Martin)
by Doreen Canzanella
Hold my hand, and touch my heart
Our years may pass, but never part
The path of life I walked alone
Holding fast, to worlds unknown
I felt your smile, your presence bare
Yearning yet, to draw you near
Where once we came, joined fast as one
New hope, New joy, New life’s begun
Each day a breath, of steps to be
Deep in our hearts, visions seen
Of Journeys shared, triumphs won
For grief and tears may come I know
Our every trial, yet unknown
Be still and sense to see
Love has borne, the tests and grown
So, hold my hand, and touch my heart
Our years may pass, but never part.
ON HIGH (Based on the photo “On a New High”, by Dominic Percopo)
By Patricia Driscoll
Walk by the steely arches                           
That reach up to the sky              
Echoing a common force                             
Pushing us to question Why?                                                    
Ponder the wonder of visions and dreams
Throw off your earthly restraints
Even steel can soften the hardened soul
Pointing to lofty goals
On High, On High
Raising us in wonder
On High, On High
Wings that help us fly On High
Can anyone hold the spirit down?
Can anyone truly try?
Does the eagle stay upon the ground?
No, the eagle must fly
On any new day, the time is filled
With ceaseless motion and overkill
But serve, be just
Cause songs are being sung
On High
On High
Raising us in wonder
On High, On High
Wings that help us fly On High
Keep me in your heart
Elevate your soul
Let Light sparkle the way
The summit above calls humanity
To look
On High, On High
They watch us all in wonder
On High, On High
The spirit can never die
On High, On High                                             
We’ll be forever in glory
On High
SONG ON THE GREEN (Based on the photo “Steeples of New Haven, by Ingrid Staecker)
By Russ Madison
Clouds of white sheep graze in skies
Above greenspires,
While tall and classic elms
Swing in silent choirs
And sing their leaves in lullabies
To spirits of past histories.
They left their lives in memories
For us to keep,
When many Greens ago the same white sheep
Grazed green grass,
Then herded heavenward as clouds,
While flagpole ceremonies, blessed with crowds,
Flew civic pride on walkways where lives cross paths
In culture, art and dance and symphony
And peace.  A Green serenity will last
Where ancestral spirits from the long gone past
Reclaim their time in history
And dream the city to new destinies.
WINDMILLS (Based on the photo “Gus(t) the Turbine”, by Alaina Driscoll)
By Mary Connors
New Haven voices of one
Bring winds gently across
Our system of structure
Building frames mighty strong
Churning blades blues awake
Eyes open a peaceful bliss
Calming days turn and twist
Like a river for change
Change for peace,paz, pace
Holds a violent free place
Windmills of connecting
Worlds unite and meet
Gothic temples, here and there
Our city, country, world
Come together sweet voice
Come together sweet voice.