The Open Road (SATB)
PDF score of The Open Road for unaccompanied SATB choir.
Price: $2.00/print ($2.00 per singer in your choir)
Length: 3 minutes (short version) or 6 minutes (long version with solos)
What awaits us when we leave home and set out on the road? How might we set our minds and our hearts up for such a journey? Whitman’s poem is the perfect message for anyone in transition, and seems particularly apt for young adults as they complete their high school education and move forward to craft adult lives. The music features a rhythmic, syncopated ostinato, which represents momentum and excitement, while lyrical, soaring melodies express optimism and determination.
This piece was commissioned by and is dedicated with love to Prairie High School Choirs and choral directors Justin Sands and Kelsey Legore. I had the honor and delight of teaching voice lessons to the talented, dedicated, and warm-hearted students at Prairie High for four fantastic years, and to work alongside Mr. Sands and Ms. Legore (and before that, Cheri Brummer) and was inspired daily by their passion and leadership. It is a particular delight to write this tribute to a group of musicians who I care about so much and who have made such an impact in my life. May the long path of life lead you wherever you choose!
Poem by Walt Whitman
Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.
The earth, that is sufficient,
I do not want the constellations any nearer,
I know they are very well where they are,
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.
(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens,
I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me wherever I go,
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them,
I am fill’d with them, and I will fill them in return.)