This is one of those stories that has the aura of a myth, but sometimes these little miracles happen to each of us.
One afternoon in the summer of 2018, I was at the Corona Institute for Women, a women’s jail just outside of Los Angeles doing a concert of some of my choral work, when a Catholic nun who happened to be visiting from Minnesota introduced herself to me. We connected immediately and deeply. At the end of our conversation she said, “I heard this phrase somewhere, and I feel you must set it to music. I don’t know where it’s from, but I think it will speak to you.” And she made me write down these words into my phone: “You are the result of the love of thousands.”
That interaction, and that phrase, stayed with me. I later researched it and found its author, the incredible Native American poet Linda Hogan. I set it first for San Francisco Girls Chorus, and revised it substantially into this SATB version of the work. The message is so true, and so hopeful. Each one of us exists in this world because of generations of ancestors, and also because of countless people who have shaped the course of our lives in ways we cannot begin to enumerate. It is miraculous.
Addendum: The week of the premiere of this piece, after much searching, I finally found the Catholic nun who had first shared the text with me. It was Sister Joanne Dehmer, who lived in Minnesota. But by chance, she was visiting Los Angeles again, and we reunited. The miracles continue.
Walking, I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly, all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.
— Linda Hogan
The original version of this piece was premiered on June 8, 2019 at Mission Dolores Basilica, San Francisco.
The SATB version of this piece will be premiered at Green Lake Music Festival in summer 2023.