Life Has Loveliness to Sell


Grade 3

For SAT Chorus and concert band, and optional strings

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Life Has Loveliness to Sell

for SAT choir and concert band

Commissioned by Windermere Preparatory School, Dr. Tom Marcy, Headmaster, 

Fine Arts Boosters Association, and the Windermere Parent Volunteer Association

duration: 5′


    SAT Choir: Girls (Soprano 1,2/Alto) Boys: Unison
    2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 Bb clarinets, bass clarinet
     saxophones: 2 altos, tenor, baritone
     2 Bb trumpets, 2 french horns, 2 trombones, euphonium, tuba
    piano, timpani, double bass
    percussion (5 players):
          marimba, glockenspiel, chimes
          suspended cymbal, triangle, tambourine
          cymb. a2, snare drum, rain stick
     optional strings: violin 1&2, viola, cello

I am always thankful for the opportunity to write music to celebrate a specific event.
It gives me a chance to research the occasion, the people involved, the setting, and to (hopefully) create something that is appropriate for the very unique circumstance for which the music is to be dedicated.

In this case, the occasion was the Cypress Center Opening Gala for the Windermere Preparatory School in Orlando, FL. Fine Arts Director Jason King wrote to me — “I could imagine an uplifting, celebratory piece for winds and choir” — and also sent me a quote that a colleague had suggested:

    “I believe arts education in music, theater, dance, and the visual arts is one of the most creative ways we have to find the gold that is buried just beneath the surface. They (children) have an enthusiasm for life, a spark of creativity, and vivid imaginations that need training – training that prepares them to become confident young men and women.” 

  – Richard W. Riley, Former US Secretary of Education

I did a rather thorough search for text containing such words as joy, spirit, beautiful, and eventually found two poems that suited my purposes very well. I chose to intermix them throughout the piece to attain the effect I was after.

Sara Teasdale — Barter

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children’s faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.
Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit’s still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.
Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.

  Walt Whitman — A song of Joys (excerpts)

O to make the most jubilant song!
Full of music
O for the dropping of raindrops in a song!
O for the sunshine and motion of waves in a song!
O the joy of my spirit
The leaves and flowers, the moist fresh stillness of the woods

     It is my sincere hope that this music uplifts anyone present to hear it, because life does indeed have loveliness to sell, as long as there are those willing to barter for it.

Jim Stephenson; May 29, 2018

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