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Let it Matter

An urgent call to deep listening across cultural and class divides
Poet/Lyricist: 
Elizabeth Alexander
Commissioned by Amasong Women's Chorus / Jill Crandall

Let It Matter is an urgent call to deep listening across cultural divides, crafted with grit, tenacity and passion. Its pithy, emotionally layered lyrics are punctuated with edgy internal rhymes and surprising juxtapositions, eschewing the comfortable and predictable at every turn. In its final, luminous measures, this song offers listeners a profound, open-ended challenge: "No one would ever call this easy listening. Listen anyway."



Item Instrumentation/Voicing Duration Level Audio Peruse Delivery Method (Print vs. Digital) Price Quantity
SEA-125-03 SSA, piano - Choral Score
5' M https://www.seafarerpress.com/sites/seafarerpress.advantagelabs.com/files/works_variant_audio_files/recording-let_it_matter_ssa.mp3 Sheet Music $3.00
SEA-125-03DEL SSA, piano - Choral Score
5' M https://www.seafarerpress.com/sites/seafarerpress.advantagelabs.com/files/works_variant_audio_files/recording-let_it_matter_ssa.mp3 Licensed PDF $3.00
SEA-125-04 SATB, piano - Choral Score
5' M https://www.seafarerpress.com/sites/seafarerpress.advantagelabs.com/files/works_variant_audio_files/recording-let_it_matter_satb.mp3 Sheet Music $3.00
SEA-125-04DEL SATB, piano - Choral Score
5' M https://www.seafarerpress.com/sites/seafarerpress.advantagelabs.com/files/works_variant_audio_files/recording-let_it_matter_satb.mp3 Licensed PDF $3.00

Let it Matter

Elizabeth Alexander

You’ve got your own story –
You and everybody else have got a bone story,
Sunrise certain and touchstone true.
A homegrown story that you’ve known
    ever since you could say the words for
    “us” and “them” and “you.”

But every story’s got a flip side –
Underneath the surface there’s a rip tide
Powerful and yet denied.
To know the story of a stranger:
    That can be a mighty re-arranger –
    Let it be a downright game changer.

Chorus:
Let that story in. Let it matter.
Let it open up the prison of your mind.
There’s so much pain and glory in everybody’s story –
Let it matter. Let it in.

Let it lead to honest conversation.    
Let it shape the things you say and do.             
Let it be the bridge that heals a nation.     
No matter what you’ve been through,
Your own point of view
Is just a little part of what is true.
Don’t be afraid to let that story in.

(Chorus)

It’s about the fears that lead to fences.
It’s about the dreams that fall apart.
It’s about what builds up our defenses.
You’ve got to open your heart
Your most tender part
You’ll find yourself alone until you start –
Until you start to let that story in.

This is the work of justice,
This is the work of trust,
This is the work that is asked of us today.
No one would ever call this “easy listening” –
    Listen anyway.  Listen anyway.  Listen anyway.

(Chorus)

No one would ever call this “easy listening.”

Composer's Note: 

Singing is a hopeful and revolutionary act. This is especially true when songs bend toward the difficult and unfamiliar, for that is when music’s grace gives us access to things that words alone can’t express.

Let It Matter grew out of my own experience of facing some unfamiliar and difficult things. As a “white American” I had always known that my life experiences were different from those of people of color. Nevertheless, I found that I had an inner resistance to believing that racism was deeply entrenched in my country’s law enforcement departments. I had never witnessed or experienced police brutality myself, so it was tempting for me to presume that it was a rare occurrence. Yet evidence increasingly showed that that was clearly not the case. This concerned me greatly. I had some work to do.

Part of that work included being brutally honest about how hard it can be to admit that your preconceptions are wrong, which is why I eventually wrote “Let it Matter.” As its opening lyric asserts: “Every story has a flip side.”

Another source of inspiration for Let it Matter was Circle of Peace, a neighborhood group that has met at my church for dinner every week for the past ten years. Circle of Peace is comprised of youth, parents, grandparents, police officers, business owners and community members. The agenda of these meetings is simple: To listen to and to speak personal stories, experiences and concerns in order to create a safer, more compassionate, and more just world.

It is an act of courage to simultaneously hold your own story and someone else’s story in your hands with gentleness, without dismissing either one. But that is exactly what the members of Circle of Peace endeavor to do. I hope Let it Matter reflects in some way the dedication, pain, grit and hope that keep that circle alive week after week. And I hope that this song and this inner work brought me a few steps closer to “opening up the prison of my mind.”

Reviews and Responses: 

"This is one of the most powerful pieces I have ever had the honor of performing, and I know many other Amasong members share the sentiment. Thank you so much." Jessica Nichols, Singer, Amasong

"Let It Matter greatly touched me in our current world. It seems ever more important every single day to listen to each others' stories...Thank you so much again for your beautiful music, sharing it with the world, your boundless energy and your palpable joy." Serra Vickery, Singer, VocalPoint

Performers: 

SATB
Premiere: Vocalpoint / Jennifer Anderson (St. Paul, MN)
All Voices Choral Project / Lee Hoffman (Sacramento, CA)
Choir of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Rochester / Joe Mish (Rochester, MN)
Choir of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito / Christine Lehman (San Deiguito, CA)
Grays Harbor Community Choir and Grays Harbor College Jazz Choir / Kari Hasbrouck
Idaho All-State Honor Mixed Choir / Sarah Graham (Moscow, ID)
Longwood University Choir and Chamber Singers / Pamela McDermott (Farmville, VA)
Pacific Northwest UU Music Festival Choir / Elizabeth Alexander (Shoreline, WA)
Singing OUT, Toronto / Jody Malone (Toronto, ON CANADA)
Unitarian Universalist Church of Vancouver / Patrick Scofield (Vancouver, WA)

SSA
Premiere: Amasong / Elizabeth Alexander (Champaign, IL)
Amasong / Jill Crandall (Champaign, IL)
Las Vegas Master Singers, University of Nevada-Las Vegas School of Music / David Weiller (Henderson, NV)
McPherson College Women's Choir / Becky Snell (McPherson, KS)
Musaic Vocal Ensemble / Frances Chiasson (Oliver, Penticton, Kelowna and Summerland, BC CANADA)

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