Bill of Rights
September 6, 2005: First Public Performances
of Bill of Rights
In the middle of August I was interviewed extensively by New York Times
writer Brian Wise, in preparation for a feature article for the Sunday Times
Connecticut section. The article appeared yesterday (September 4, 2005). For
obvious copyright reasons I can’t reproduce Brian’s fine summary of my most
recent choral composition (and the career of its composer) here, or link
readers to it. However, I can tell you about it, and you can look it up on
The same goes for the excellent piece which Matt Erikson wrote for the
Hartford Courant about “The Bill of Rights.” Check it out—it appeared on
July 4, 2005.
I have been invited to talk about this piece to a sixth-grade social studies
class in West Hartford. I’m more than happy to visit other classes, far and
wide. Contact me directly at:
As many of you will know, Congress, late in 2004, passed a bill which
establishes September 17 as Constitution Day. On this date in 1787 the final
signatures were added to the Constitution (including of course the Bill of
Rights) and copies were sent to the States for ratification. If the 17th
falls on a Saturday (as it does this year) the holiday is to be celebrated
on the 16th. Wesleyan has planned various events to celebrate Constitution
Day on Thursday and Friday (15 and 16), including a lecture by Paul
Finkleman, professor of law at the University of Tulsa, who will speak on
the separation of church and state at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday in Olin Library.
Featured will be the FIRST PUBLIC PERFORMANCES of my setting of the Bill of
Rights. (The event at South Church on July 10 was a public reading, not
really a performance.) I have assembled a group of area singers
(professional, semi-professional and amateur), including students and
colleagues at Wesleyan, to sing under my direction. For those of you reading
this blog who are in the area and want to come, here’s more information:
What: The first complete performances of "The Bill of Rights"
When: Thursday September 15 at 1:10 p.m.
Where: The Lobby of OLIN LIBRARY on the Wesleyan University campus
When: Friday September 16 at 12:10 p.m.
Where: Wesleyan Memorial Chapel
The performance on Thursday in the library is in honor of the founding of
the new Wesleyan Pre-Law Society. (I expect it will be sung by a smaller
group of voices—many people can’t be around the Wesleyan campus in the
middle of the day two days in a row, though some have told me that they are
clever about masking their absence from work and wouldn’t miss it for love
nor money.) The Friday performance is the opening event in the new Wesleyan
Music Department/Center for the Arts series of informal Friday noon concerts
in the Chapel. Area residents take note!
News of the Friday performance has attracted singers who will be coming from
as far away as Washington DC and Albany NY, and others from Massachusetts
and Vermont are planning to participate. If you would like to join in this
historic event there are rehearsals on Sunday night the 11th from 7:00 to
9:30, Thursday at noon for an hour, and Friday morning at 10:30, these
rehearsals just before the two performances. Contact me directly at the
Email address above for details of location, getting the music, or any
questions you may have.
On other matters pertaining to this setting of this text: people all over
the United States and the territories continue to download the music for the
First Amendment. However, there are no new states represented. I need to get
working on that aspect of this project. In my second blog I expressed a
desire to have at least one download in all of the fifty states before
Thanksgiving. That is still quite possible, of course, but I have to get the
word out more efficiently and much more broadly. Help and suggestions are
more than welcome.