Three Potawatomi Songs

for SATB Chorus


Now We All Move

The text is also from the Man Bundle ritual, all of creation moves as one. The merging with the world seems an essential element in this ecstatic setting.

Now We All Move Midi Audio (duration: 3:15)

excerpt from score


Now I Raise My Hand

This text is a chant from the Man Bundle ritual, the celebrants petition the Great Spirit and express their gratitude.

Now I Raise My Hand Midi Audio (duration: 3:30)

excerpt from score


We All Sing

This joyous celebration of harmony with all creatures and creation is from the Chant of the Man Bundle of the Potawatomi.

We All Sing Midi Audio (duration: 4:30)

Excerpt from rehearsal

excerpt from score


Program Notes for We All Sing

Composing has always been about some sort of inner journey for me.  I am overtaken by inspiration and soon, a quest to realize my music vision is underway.   A dim light on the horizon is often my only guide.  But with a strong feeling in my heart, I soon find my way to creating a musical composition that communicates what I have felt and seen.  I expected that I would take a similar journey when I set the three Potawatomi prayers,    We All Move, Now I Raise My Hands, and, We All Move,  for chorus.  But I did not expect that I would hear the premiere of We All Sing in a such a magnificent setting that aptly expresses the gratitude and thanksgiving that we can share together in a community, through singing.    The text, a Potawatomi prayer,  is a joyous celebration of harmony with all creatures and creations from the Chant of the Man Bundle that declares that “we are all singing and dancing in thanksgiving that we have lived so long.”   Indeed, I was taken by the directness of the prayer that comes straight from the heart and, in a way,  the piece simply celebrates the joy of singing and being alive.   I was also inspired by the natural sonorities of the wind and water that are suggested in the words.  So, making the voices cascade and roar and imitate the drumming and rhythmic dancing was my highest choice.  I was also reminded of the spiritual power of ritual music making and how it can lead to revelatory states and so the middle and end of the piece employ carefully tuned harmonies that draw a special inner tension from the voices as they remind us that the “Great Spirit will help us  while we are singing in this world”.

For the Potawatomi, all beings are persons, and elders of the tribe advise to go and spend time with the Standing people, the Beaver people and even the Rock people.  Their different perspectives will remind us that humans don’t have to figure out everything by themselves-that there are teachers all around them.

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