As musicians we were having serious conversations about our future, the meaning of music and place in the world. We were witnessing that people were still turning to the arts for ways to feel connected. When we experience crises we often look to the arts for consolation and reflection.

We love combining music and poetry and we wanted to find a poem about the effect of music on our lives. During lockdown in April 2020, Andy wrote music inspired by the poem “The Gift to Sing” by James Weldon Johnson.

The music you will hear is of 20th century classical style. It is in 3 main sections that go along with the stanzas of the poem. Each section starts dark and even intense in character, but then settles when the narrator mentions “singing” as if the storm clouds lift and the sun comes out.

Now, a little over a year later, as we celebrate James Weldon Johnson’s 150th birthday (June 17th), we are reflecting on how things were when Andy first wrote the music, to the point we are at right now. We invite you to reflect on the past year as you watch the performance.

We want to thank everyone for supporting us! We especially want to thank the Arts Council of Winston-Salem Forsyth County and Chase Law, as well as the Historical Bethabara Park for letting us use the lovely, historic, Gemeinhaus to record in!

Poem by: James Weldon Johnson

Recitation/Narration by: Chase Law

Music Composed by: Andy Licht

Performance by: Duo Licht - Andy Licht: Violin - Lilian-Terri Dahlenburg: Viola

This was filmed in the Gemeinhaus of the Historic Bethabara Park in Winston-Salem, NC

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