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Friday, 9 May 2014

How "Inscription of Hope" Comes Alive

   As a student I once participated in a non-competitive choir festival with other Christian high schools.  Each school was asked to learn a certain common repertoire so that all the choirs could come together and spend a day with a gifted guest conductor to become a mass choir.  An audience of parents, school supporters and interested others were then treated to an evening performance with 300 or more students singing, in addition to individual choirs singing two additional pieces on their own.
   I had not thought much about that event, over twenty-five years ago, until this year.  That's because last week this 38th annual choir festival came to my son's high school.  A few things have changed.  Two guest conductors shared the duties as the mass choir performed six joint pieces.  The enthusiasm and calibre of the singers, however, has not changed.  One of these pieces especially touched me, "Inscription of Hope," composed by Z. Randall Stroope.  

   The composer asks that the following be read aloud before each performance of this song:
   "The Holocaust is a stunning reminder of the tragic results of prejudice and hate toward other people. But it is also a reminder that hope held firm will eventually reign victorious over the greatest of odds. The following words were inscribed on the walls of a cellar in Cologne, Germany, where Jews were hiding from the Nazis during World War II. Hope was all they had to hold on to; hope was their only bridge to a brighter tomorrow." 

The first stanza the choir sang is as follows: 
I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
and I believe in love
even when there's no one there
and I believe in God
even when he is silent
I believe through any trial
there is always a way.

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