At its core, the message of "Arise My Love" is universal : Love is love is love.
This work was commissioned by Renaissance City Women's and Men's Choirs and the Indianapolis Women's and Men's Choruses as an "anthem" to be sung at GALA Choruses Festival VIIe International, Montreal, 2004. (Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses) The texts adapted for this piece were chosen specifically to acknowledge that all committed, loving couples seek the blessing of the larger community and desire that their union be graced by the Divine One. Below are notes on the text; why I chose and adapted them for this commission.
Text Source 1: Song of Solomon 2:10-12
My beloved speaks and says to me:
Arise, my love, my fair one,and come away;
for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
The verse above is one the most popular scripture passages read at marriage ceremonies.
- "the storms are all over…" referencing the "storms of controversy" over gay marriage.
- "the time of our singing has come" referencing the choruses of GALA attending the Festival.
- added text: "and a band of many colors is riding the sky" referencing both the rainbow that follows the storm, and the "pride flag" that is a symbol of LGBT pride and social movements.
Text Source 2: "At the River" by Rev. Robert Lowry
Yes, we'll gather at the river, the beautiful river
Gather with the saints at the river that flows by the throne of God.
The hymn, "At the River," was written by Rev. Lowry during an epidemic that left countless dead in New York City in the summer of 1864. One day,exhausted from his ministry to the sick and dying, he lay down to rest, and while contemplating the "Apocalypse" from the Book of Revelation he was inspired to write this hymn. He later wrote of this experience: "I began to wonder why the hymn-writers had said so much about the ʻriver of deathʼ and so little about ʻthe pure water of life,' clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God…As I mused the words began to construct themselves. They came first as a question of Christian inquiry, ʻShall we gather? Then they broke out in a chorus, as an answer— Yes, weʼll gather."
And we'll gather at the river, that beautiful river
And there's just river, Yes there's just one river of Love.
There are other meanings within usage of this text: "Arise My Love" was premiered in Montréal, which is situated on the great St.Lawrence River by a gathering of GALA festival participants. And finally, I am referencing an image of Divine Grace that has great meaning for me personally—as that of a great underground river. Varying faith traditions/ dig different wells down to that river, but all draw water—life and grace, from the same source. We are all invited by the Divine to drink from that one river.
|SBMP 552||S(S)A, piano||3:50||$2.15||https://www.joanszymko.com/sites/joanszymko.advantagelabs.com/files/audio_samples/03%20Arise%20My%20Love.mp3||Publisher Link|