Classical Movements’ Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program Commissions 11 New Works

From June 27 through July 4, 2017, Classical Movements will co-present our 7th annual Serenade! Washington, D.C. Choral Festival alongside the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, as part of its year-long JFKC: A Centennial Celebration. In addition, our Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program has commissioned 11, brand-new works by composers of from the festival’s featured countries, each piece inspired by the 5 ideals President Kennedy forever championed — Justice, Gratitude, Courage, Freedomand especially Service — that will premiere during our week-long celebration throughout the Washington metropolitan area.

HAITI: Sydney Guillaume (b. 1982)

“Ansanm-Ansanm” (All Together We Sing)

Lyrics by his father, Gabriel T. Guillaume

Premiere by Serenade! mass choir on Monday, July 3 at Kennedy Center Concert Hall


Pou lapè, pou lajisitis, anpil nan yo mouri.

Pou kouraj yo, pou vizyon yo,

Pou tout sa yo te fè, pout tout sa yo sibi,

N’ape chante pou yo. N’ap fè lwanj pou yo.

Ayibobo pou yo!

Ansanm ansanm, nan kè poze, n’ape chante pou yo.

Nan linite, san prejije, n’ap suiv yo pazapa.

Ansanm ansanm, men dan la men, an’n travay pou lapè.

Yo fè lavi nou vin pi bèl, an nou onore yo.

Ayibobo pou yo!

Nan lanmou, nan lapè, an’n fè la vi pi bèl.

Nan lonè, nan respè,

Ansanm ansanm, an’n travay pou lapè.

San baryè, san fontyè,

Ansanm ansanm, an’n fè la vi pi bèl.

Pou ki moun n’ape chante?

Pou tout moun ki goumen pou lavi nou pi bèl.

Pou tout moun k’ap goumen pou lanmou ka blayi,

Pou drapo libète ka kontinye flote,

Pou banyè lajistis gaye sou tout latè.

Se pou yo n’ap chante, an’n kontinye chante, Ayibobo!

Se tou pa nou, an’n fè lavi nou pi bèl.

Non, non, non!

Pa kite rayisans fè nou pèdi lespwa;

Avèk pèseverans n’a genyen la viktwa.

Fò nou pa kite rayisans fè nou pèdi lespwa.

Pazapa, men nan men, pou yon pi bèl demen.

Kijan? Ansanm ansanm!

All Together We Sing

Trans. by Sydney Guillaume

For peace and for justice, many of them died.

For their courage, for their vision,

For all they accomplished and for all they endured,

We sing for them. We sing their praises.

Hats off to them!

All together, with hearts settled, we sing for them.

In unity, without prejudice, we follow their legacy.

All together, hand in hand, let’s work for peace.

They made our lives better, let us honor them.

Hats off to them!

In love and in peace, let’s make life more beautiful.

With honor and respect,

All together, let’s work for peace.

Without gates, without borders,

All together, let’s make life more beautiful.

Who are we singing for?

For all those who fought to make our lives better.

For all those who fight so that love can prevail,

So that the flag of freedom can continue to float,

So that the banners of justice can spread around the world.

It’s for them that we sing, let’s keep on singing. Hats off!

It’s our turn, let’s make our lives more beautiful.

No, no, no!

Do not let hatred steal our hopes;

With perseverans we will gain victory.

We must not let hatred steal our hopes.

Step by step, hand in hand, for a better tomorrow.

How so? All together!

“For quite some time, our world has seen very somber days: natural disasters, fratricidal wars, social injustice. All together, let us honor the men and women who have worked for peace and harmony everywhere around the world. It’s our turn now to raise our voices and sing together for worldwide liberty and justice.” — Sydney Guillaume

SPAIN: Bernat Vivancos (b. 1973)

“L’ametller” (The Almond Tree)

Setting of Catalan poet Joan Maragall (1903)

For Escolania de Montserrat


A mig aire de la serra

veig un ametller florit.

Déu te guard, bandera blanca,

dies ha que t’he delit!

Ets la pau que s’anuncia

entre el sol, núvols i vents…

No ets encara el millor temps

pro en tens tota l’alegria.

The Almond Tree

Trans. by Spanish-born English writer Rev. Joseph Blanco White (1775–1841)

Hung on the mountain side I see

Aloft a flowering almond tree.

God save thee, banner gleaming white,

That art, once seen, a keen delight!

For thou art, harbinger of peace

When clouds and windy gleams shall cease…

Thou art not fairest Spring, and yet

All the Spring’s joy is in thee set.

Maragall, the poet, praises the beautiful tree and its white blossoms, just before Spring, as a symbol for and an announcement of peace. The composer, Vivancos, finds beauty in such imagery, as well as “comparisons between nature and JFK’s own promotion of peace.”

INDIA: Madhup Mudgal

“Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam” (The World Is One Family)

Setting of Sanskrit text from the Maha Upanishad

For Gandharva Choir

Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam

Dhin Ta Dhin Ta Dhin, Ta Dhin Ta Dhin, Dhin Dhin Dhin Ta,

Dhin Ta Dhin Ta,

Dhin Ta Dhin Ta Dhin, Ta Dhin Ta Na

Ta Dhin Ta, Dhin Ta, Ta Dhin Ta,

Ta Dhin Ta Dhin Ta, Tak Tak Dhi Dhin Tak Tak Dhi Dhin Dhin

Navyuga ka aahvaan vishwa ke jawaan tumhe,

Aage badhke lado anyaya se, abhaava se, avidyaa se,

Mann mein sankalp yahi, ek yahi aan

Vividha rang roop vesha bhashaa aneka hain,

Pantha hain aneka, sabki manzil toh ek hai,

Ek yahi mool mantra, vasudhaiva kutumbkam

The World Is One Family

Dhin Ta Dhin Ta Dhin, Ta Dhin Ta Dhin, Dhin Dhin Dhin Ta,

Dhin Ta Dhin Ta,

Dhin Ta Dhin Ta Dhin, Ta Dhin Ta Na

Ta Dhin Ta, Dhin Ta, Ta Dhin Ta,

Ta Dhin Ta Dhin Ta, Tak Tak Dhi Dhin Tak Tak Dhi Dhin Dhin

We welcome the new age with trust in our youth,

To free oneself from injustice, poverty, ignorance,

This is the resolve in our heart

All colors, forms, clothes and languages are different,

Journeys are different, but the destination is the same,

This is our principle motto, the world is one family

Corroborating the ideals of the Kennedy administration, especially the Peace Corps, Mudgal’s setting of this ancient Hindu adage is a joyous, albeit abstract expression — “rekindling the positive forces of youth,” he says, “while invoking everyone to join in them together.”

BULGARIA: Milena Jeliazkova and Milena Roudeva

“Orissiya” (Destiny)

For Balkanes



Fraternité, amour, liberté —

(voici ce que) nous cherchons ici et maintenant,

Dans ce monde dur et cruel,

Dans ce monde âpre.

Fraternité, amour, liberté —

Voici notre destinée!

Dans ce monde dur et cruel,

C’est notre leçon de vie.


Hé, vous trois, vous trois,

Vous là-bas qui demeurez seules.

Venez avec moi, venez avec moi,

Partez avec moi sur le champ.

On vous poursuit, on vous chasse,

Vous, aux têtes hautes.

Vous qui chantez de toute votre âme

Votre amour pour la liberté.

Où nous emmènes-tu, et pourquoi?

Dans un endroit sacré

Là, nous pourrons chanter,

Librement vivre et espérer.

Mais pourquoi cet endroit est-il sacré?

Car c’est le nid des bonnes gens,

Roi et Prêtre ne le reconnaissent pas

Et ne cessent d’encourager…

Qui? Mais qui donc?

Ceux prêts à nous entraîner au sein du froid,

Du mensonge et des ténèbres.

Alors avec moi — venez, avec moi soyez,

Ce soir, là, maintenant!

Vos âmes pures préservez

Ayez la foi, l’amour — la liberté.

Mais nous le sommes déjà, de bonnes gens,

A l’intérieur de nos âmes.

La Lumière nous chérit

Tel est notre destin.

Avec toi nous viendrons, avec toi nous serons

Ce soir, là, maintenant.

Notre credo survivra:

Amour, fraternité, liberté !

Oui. Vous êtes déjà de bonnes gens

Au plus sacré de vos âmes.

Car c’est la Lumière qui nous chérit.

Amour, Fraternité. Liberté.



Brotherhood, love, freedom —

This is what we are looking for here and now,

In this hard and cruel world,

In this harsh world.

Brotherhood, love, freedom —

This is our destiny!

In this hard and cruel world,

This is our lesson of life.


Hey, you three, you three,

You out there who remain alone.

Come with me, come with me,

Go with me now.

They hunt you, they chase you away,

You, you keep your heads high.

You who sing with all your soul

Your love for freedom.

Where are you taking us, and why?

In a sacred place

There we can sing,

Freely live and hope.

But why is this place sacred?

For it is the nest of honest people,

King and Priest do not recognize it

And may keep encouraging…

Who? But who?

Those ready to cure us

In the midst of cold, a world of lies, darkness.

So with me — come, with me be,

Tonight, now!

Your pure souls protected

Have faith, love — freedom.

But we are already good people

Inside our souls.

The Light cherishes us,

Such is our fate.

With you we will come, with you we will be

Tonight, now.

Our creed will survive:

Love, brotherhood, freedom!

Yes. You are already good people

To the most sacred of your souls.

For it is the Light that cherishes us.

Love, Brotherhood. Freedom.

Divided into two distinct parts — an introduction with free rhythm (“a commentary on the brutality of our world today and in the time of JFK”) and the song, itself, which follows the complex rhythmic structure of Bulgarian chants — Jeliazkova and Roudeva consider their piece a dialogue between three women and an unnamed figure, representing President Kennedy. Ultimately, he urges the trio not to despair, assuring them they belong to good, honest people.

UNITED STATES: Con Fullam (b. 1949)

“Under One Sky”

For Pihcintu

Under One Sky


This is no time for hesitation

This is no time to sit and think

There are so many desperate nations, so many millions on the brink

So many suffering from starvation, so many dying from the gun

So many crying for salvation, so many lost and on the run


So won’t you join us?

Under one sky, over the seas

Across the lands, you and me

We’ll push the ploughs — we’ll plant the seeds

We must grow peace and harmony


We can’t forget what’s in the Bible, in the Torah and Koran

That we were born to love each other and reach out a helping hand

We are sisters, we are brothers, who all walk a winding road

So we all help one another to lift each other’s loads


So let us rise up and reach out, rise up to answer their call

Rise up and reach out

Because every single someone is who matters most of all

As songwriter Fullam says, “Under One Sky is a song for the girls about seeking freedom from tyranny and turmoil.” A complex conceit, yes, but rendered here in simple verse-chorus-bridge form, that notion translates as easily as the Passamaquoddy word pihcintu, itself. That is, “when she sings, her voice carries far.”

MONGOLIA: Egschiglen

“Freedom of the Steppe”

Traditional, arrangement by Uuganbatar Tsend-Ochir

New lyrics by Janlav Tumursaikhan

Freedom of the Steppe

Where is the half of the 60,000 horses, my brothers?

Where is the half of the six home villages, my sister?

Where is the half of the 80,000 horses, my brothers?

Where is the half of the eight home villages, my sister?

Although we have only half of our horses, we continue to ride,

Although only the half of our horses have remained to us, we still ride further,

Although only the half of our home villages have remained to us, we still continue to sing.

Inspired by an ancient melody of Mongolia’s Uriankhai people, the lyrics speak to how the freedom of today’s independent and democratic Republic of Mongolia was won. To quote Egschiglen: “Mongolians have suffered tragic, painful losses of territory. That Mongolians today live in a free country is due to courageous ancestors, who fought against the policies of neighboring great powers like China and Russia. And this freedom was not easy to preserve.”

ZIMBABWE: Insingizi (Dumisani Moyo, Blessings Nqo Nkomo, Vusa Mkhaya)

“Bom Bom Jeys” (It is important to know who we are and where we come from, so that we know where we are going)

About Serenade! Washington, D.C. Choral Festival:

“…the Serenade Festival, an international choral festival which has been held in DC for several years; this year, it will move (in part) to the Kennedy Center and present choruses from countries where the Peace Corps, a Kennedy initiative, has been active.” — Anne Midgette, Washington Post (March 8, 2016)

Established in 2011 and hailed by the Washington Post as “true harmonic convergence,” Classical Movements’ Serenade! Washington, D.C. Choral Festival is an international choir celebration that offers an unforgettable, life-changing experience for singers and audiences alike. Presented free to the public, since its inception, Serenade! has showcased more than 50 choirs from some 25 countries to enthusiastic audiences at prestigious venues throughout the Washington metropolitan area. The 7th annual Serenade! Festival, from June 27 — July 4, 2017, promises to be a very special edition, as it is co-presented with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in celebration of President Kennedy’s centennial and one of his longstanding initiatives, the Peace Corps.

About Classical Movements:

Moving the Music, Changing the World

The premier concert tour company for the world’s great orchestras and choirs, Classical Movements creates meaningful cultural experiences through music in 145 countries. An industry leader for over a quarter-century, Classical Movements fully understands both the travel and the performance needs of professional symphonies and choruses, as well as conservatory, university and youth ensembles. Producer of two international choral festivals — Serenade! in Washington, D.C. and Ihlombe! in South Africa — and the Prague Summer Nights: Young Artists Music Festival, in addition, Classical Movements organizes more than 60 tours every year, producing some 200 concerts every season. Distinguished clients include many of America’s top-tier orchestras (Baltimore, Cincinnati, Minnesota, National, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, etc.), international ensembles like the London Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar, Royal Concertgebouw, Wiener Philharmoniker and celebrated soloists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Lang Lang and Joshua Bell. Also, Classical Movements’ Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program has commissioned over 50 works from Grammy, Oscar and Pulitzer Prize-winning composers. Winner of Americans for the Arts’ BCA10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts Award, since its founding 25 years ago, as a truly global company, Classical Movements remains committed to facilitating cultural diplomacy across the world — promoting peace through the medium of music. Classical Movements: Moving the Music, Changing the World.