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A Palette To Paint Us As We Are

A moving tribute to our skins' true colors
Poet/Lyricist: 
Gerald Rich
Finalist in the Ithaca College Choral Competition Competition

Inspired by Gerald Rich's moving tribute to our skins' true colors — including such luscious shades as mahogany, coffee, champagne and rose gold —— this piece weaves together a wide variety of choral textures and instrumental timbres, moving softly and tenderly from one hue to another, creating a seamless tapestry of sound.

Item Instrumentation/Voicing Duration Level Audio Peruse Delivery Method (Print vs. Digital) Price Quantity
SEA-014-02 SSA, piano - Choral Score
5' M Sheet Music $3.00
SEA-014-02DEL SSA, piano - Choral Score
5' M Licensed PDF $3.00
SEA-014-03 SATB, piano - Choral Score
5' M https://www.seafarerpress.com/sites/seafarerpress.advantagelabs.com/files/works_variant_audio_files/palette_to_paint_us_as_we_are_satb.mp3 Sheet Music $3.00
SEA-014-03DEL SATB, piano - Choral Score
5' M https://www.seafarerpress.com/sites/seafarerpress.advantagelabs.com/files/works_variant_audio_files/palette_to_paint_us_as_we_are_satb.mp3 Licensed PDF $3.00

A Palette To Paint Us As We Are

Poem by Gerald Rich

Give us a palette to paint us as we are.
Enough of black and white, yellow and red,
Those false colors that sham at fact.

Coffee, and chocolate, and café au lait,
Ivoried saffron, and saffroned ivory,
Bronze, and brass, copper, and rose gold,
Tea and pale butter, golden almond,
Infinite varieties of browns and tans,
Pale rose, pink and soft rose cream,
mahogany, oak, cedar, and champagne.

These are the colors of people I see,
Not black and white, not yellow and red.
Those false colors no longer will do.
Give us a palette to paint us true.

Composer's Note: 

I first heard Gerald Rich's moving tribute to our skins' true colors in the late 1990s, at a poetry reading where he read from his work.  As the opening words of this poem were spoken, the room grew suddenly still except for a few barely audible gasps. As I took in each delicious shade of color, I envisioned a musical language that would contain as much harmonic and melodic color as the poem, moving softly and tenderly from one subtle hue to another.

I want to thank Samantha Ralston for allowing me to use her pastel drawing as the cover art for this title.  She created the art onstage in 2011, while her high school choir performed this song.

Reviews and Responses: 

"I saw this number performed at IMEA [Illinois Music Educators Association], and a student painted a picture to your song while they were singing...  It is amazing and is hanging in my office.  You have inspired more people than you will ever know.  People of all colors were there and some had tears rolling down their face.  I was so moved."  — Susan Moninger, director of choral ensembles at Elmhurst College, and co-founder and director of Showchoir Camps of America, Inc. (Elmhurst, IL)

"[A Palette To Paint Us As We Are] was an audience favorite at both of our concerts this past spring. We are very fortunate to live in South Florida, where we meet many singers from a variety of world cultures. This text beautifully reflects not only our singers, but also the community we serve." Eric Peterson, media specialist for The Girl Choir of South Florida

"I am grateful for your innovative composition and the artistic setting of such a powerful text.  THANK YOU!!"   — Carlyn Zimmermann, music director of Carbondale Community High School Chamber Singers (Carbondale, IL)

Performers: 

SATB
Premiere: Ithaca High School Choir / Art Loomis. Ithaca College Choral Competition and Festival (Ithaca, NY)
Camerata Singers of Muskegon / Floyd Farmer (Muskegon, MI)
Carbondale Community High School Chamber Singers / Carlyn Zimmermann. Illinois Music Educators Association Conference (Peoria, IL)
Choir of First Congregational Church of Christ / Michael Kelly (Portland, OR)
Choir of First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles / William Belan (Los Angeles, CA)
Choir of Foothills Unitarian Church / David King (Ft. Collins, CO)
Congressional Chorus / David Simmons (Washington, DC)
Gregg Smith Singers / Gregg Smith (New York City, NY)
One Voice Mixed Chorus / Jane Ramseyer Miller. GALA Choruses Festival 2008 (Miami, FL)
Plymouth State University Chamber Singers / Dan Perkins. Choir Tour (NH, UT, AZ)
Potomac School Concert Chorus / Jerry Rich (McClean, VA)
Reading Session / Gary Keating. GALA Leadership Conference (Portland, OR)
Reading Session / Jane Ramseyer Miller. ACDA National Conference (Miami, FL)
Sine Nomine Chorus / Robert Bartalot (Denver, CO)
Social Justice Through Music Choral Festival Choir / Elizabeth Alexander (Tucson, AZ)
Sounding Joy of Centre College / Barbara Hall. Pewee Valley Women's Correctional Institute (La Grange, KY)
University of Massachusetts Chamber Choir / Stephen Paparo (Amherst, MA)
West Chester University Choral Conducting Symposium / Vance George (West Chester, PA)

SSA
Premiere: Washington Women's Chorus / Donald Richardson (Washington, DC)
Elmhurst College Chamber Singers / Susan Moninger (Elmhurst, IL)
Illinois State University Women's Choir / Sarah Graham. Red Note Music Festival (Normal, IL)
Imagine! / Roberta Shimensky (Sandy, UT)
Santa Fe Women's Ensemble / Linda Rainey (Santa Fe, NM)
Sounding Joy, the Women's Chorus of Centre College / Barbara Hall (Danville, KY)
The Girlchoir of South Florida Chamber Singers / Wallis Peterson. Broward Center for the Performing Arts (Fort Lauderdale and Oakland Park, FL)
The Girlchoir of South Florida Chamber Singers / Wallis Peterson. Pacific International Children's Choir Festival (Eugene, OR)
Washington Women's Chorus / Donald Richardson (Bethesda, MD)
Women's Choirs of Augsburg College, Univ. of Minnesota, Univ. of St Thomas & Hamline Univ. / Kathy Romey. WomanVoice Consortium (Minneapolis, MN)

 

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