Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Promise of Living

We've been singing some Copland lately...on tour especially, where we closed our concerts with two choruses from his opera THE TENDER LAND. Its story centers on family members at a farm in the midwest, as daughter Laurie graduates from high school and ultimately leaves her family behind to see what the world has in store for her.

The chorus "The Promise of Living" closes act I. We performed it on tour with our chamber orchestra, and have now decided to use it as our "anthem" for this spring's commencement exercises at Butler. Though its theme is farm life and bringing in the harvest, it is very meaningful in a graduation setting as well. I like it as a metaphor for our lives "in the academy," as our university president Bobby Fong likes to call it. working together we'll bring in the blessings of harvest.

The lyrics are by Horace Everett:

The promise of living with hope and thanksgiving

Is born of our loving our friends and our labor.

The promise of growing with faith and with knowing

Is born of our sharing our love with our neighbor.

The promise of loving, the promise of growing

Is born of our singing in joy and thanksgiving.

For many a year we’ve know these fields

And know all the work that makes them yield.

We’re ready to work, we’re ready to lend a hand.

By working together we’ll bring in the blessings of harvest.

We plant each row with seeds of grain,

And Providence sends us the sun and the rain.

By lending a hand, by lending an arm

Bring out the blessings of harvest.

Give thanks there was sunshine, give thanks there was rain,

Give thanks we have hands to deliver the grain.

O let us be joyful, O let us be grateful to the Lord for his blessing.

The promise of living, the promise of growing

The promise of ending is labor and sharing and loving.

1 comment:

  1. Do you know how much I adore The Promise of Living? Approx. 100 years ago, it's what the Butler Chorale sang my senior year - as part of our tour and the end of our spring concert. So I sit hear reading these words and my eyes are brimming with tears. Thank you for sharing.