The Silent Choir Sings for Four Percussionists
Video of Performance by the Percussion Collective
I composed “The Silent Choir Sings” during December 2020. We were still in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic and, in the US, undergoing a frightening attempt by the current president to overturn a free and fair election. Those attacks on democracy by Trump created a damper on the optimism that the election would have otherwise produced. My experience of the 2020 election was quite different from the experience I had during the 2008 election. On election night of the 2008 election, there were election watch parties. Before the evening was over, the election result was announced. One could hear cheers, fireworks, and sounds of celebration up and down the streets of my neighborhood. In contrast, at the end of election night in 2020, there was no announcement of a winner, the streets of my neighborhood were silent and when the announcement finally came, many days later, it was far more subtle due to the constant drumming of conspiracy theories and false claims of voter fraud coming from President Trump. In fact, many of us weren’t sure until January 20 that Biden would be in the White House. This isn’t to say there wasn’t a feeling of elation, but it was almost hidden in fear that Trump and his minions would pull a fast one and deprive the nation of who it had elected. Tangentially, the 2020 Pandemic stifled classical music performances, especially those by choirs. The subdued sense of elation that I was feeling from the election could be best described as a pianissimo anthem coming from a nearly silent choir, almost a quiet resonance from choirs that could not perform in concert.