We say the word “suffrage” when discussing voting rights, but do we know what it means? The word has roots in late Middle English and Latin, meaning “intercessory prayer,” the kind of prayer one offers on behalf of another. Trust the Ballot explores this connection, understanding that when we vote we don’t just voice our own opinion. We join our neighbors in a sacred act that is both solitary and communal, together praying to our larger democratic will for human rights and a prosperous commonwealth. “Suffrage” means: it is to each other we belong.
— Rebecca Gayle Howell
see video above. Trust the Ballot is the chorus from Esmail and Howell’s larger cantata “Say Your Name”
is to pray
Not to the One
you cannot see
but for the Many
for the full text of this work, please contact us.
Say Your Name was commissioned by Amherst College Choir and Orchestra. It was premiered on November 5, 2022 at Amherst College, Amherst MA by Sherezade Panthaki, soprano; Alice Rogers, soprano; Amherst Choir and orchestra, Arianne Abela, conductor