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Cassiopeia (SSA) by Timothy C. Takach, written for a consortium of 8 women's choirs

Voicing: Women
Timothy C. Takach
SSA a cappella
duration: 5:00
text: Julia Klatt Singer
Written for a consortium of women's choirs, led by Julie Skadsem and Christine Howlett

"What I love most about Julia's poem is that it takes the ordinary details of life and brings out the beauty and meaning present within these moments. The three women present in the poem are mirrored by the three voice parts throughout the piece. There are a lot of triads, three part chords, and you can hear the changing relationship between these voices. This is the second piece I've written that leans on the permanence of the stars to pull us through life's harder times. Looking up gives us perspective on our lives and offers small pinpoints of (light) hope, which bring us comfort."
- Timothy C. Takach, 2013
 

Text:

My sister washes as I rinse and dry.
Looking out the window, all I can see
is in, the scene behind me,

table, now clear, our mother
sitting in a chair, hands like
small birds, flutter in her lap.

The light above the table, its harsh
rings of gold glint off the wood's surface.
I wonder if there are stars tonight—

the days thick clouds blown south
by a Canadian wind. Wonder too
what wish she'd make, if she could make one.

I am beyond wishing, dry the last glass instead.
Want to bargain with time, with cancer, offer
whatever it'll take to keep her here

with us at her side, we walk to the porch
stars so low we can hold them in our hands
stars to make a thousand wishes on

there, she says, is Cassiopeia. And there
the Archer. I try to take comfort in their names,
these constellations she's pointed out to me

all my life. Try not to hate that they’ll
still be here, on the darkest of nights,
when she no longer is.

- Julia Klatt Singer, used with permission.

Lead commissioners:
University of Michigan Women’s Glee Club, Julie Skadsem
Vassar College Women’s Chorus, Christine Howlett

Texas Tech University Women’s Chorale, Carolyn Cruse
Free State High School Women’s Choir, Hilary Morton    
Cherry Creek High School Girls’ 21, Adam Cave
Northern Arizona University Women’s Chorale, Ryan Holder
Concordia College Cantabile, Michael Culloton
Amabile Young Women’s Ensemble, Brenda Zadorsky

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