Music for children’s chorus and saxophone quartet or piano based on the children’s book by Patricia Polacco.

for children’s chorus (SA) and saxophone quartet or piano / 8 min.

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Program Note

For three years I served as composer-in-residence at PS 321 in Brooklyn’s Park Slope, thanks to support from The Commission Project. Each year I composed for the wonderful chorus, led by Alison Gbaje. Each year that school would read a selected book in all grades, kindergarten to fifth—a book that could be appreciated on different levels by different age groups. That year it was Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco, and I loved it as much as anyone. It’s a compelling story of Jewish and African-American friends, of those who are victimized whether for their race or for their age, and of how deep wounds can be healed by kindness.

I took three passages from the book, knowing they would speak strongly to the whole school, and set them as the most demanding music I would create for those kids. They did splendidly, accompanied by the wonderful American Saxophone Quartet (the baritone player was a father at the school). That performance remains my warmest memory of all those years at PS 321.

—Theodore Wiprud

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