Concert Programs

USC Thornton Chamber Singers & Concert Choir

October 20, 2023
8:00 p.m.

The USC Thornton Chamber Singers and USC Thornton Concert Choir share the bill with a program featuring “choral chiaroscuro.”
The USC Thornton Chamber Singers, USC Thornton’s longstanding choral ensemble, is led by chair of the Choral & Sacred Music department, Tram Sparks. The Chamber Singers will perform works by Meredith Monk, William Byrd, Ko Matsushita, Joel Thompson, Johannes Brahms, Michel Richard de Lalande and Benjamin Britten.
The USC Thornton Concert Choir, under the leadership of faculty member Cristian Grases, explores the music and traditions of countries from around the world with an emphasis on the music of Latin America.



Cantate Domino

Josu Elberdin
(b. 1976)


Hyo-Won Woo
(b. 1974)


Kevin A. Memley
(b. 1971)


Ching-Ju Shih
(b. 1967)

O Lux Beata Trinitas

Ko Matsushita
(b. 1962)

Past Life Melodies

Sarah Hopkins
(b. 1958)

Little man in a hurry

Eric Whitacre
(b. 1970)


from Confitebor tibi Domine

Michel Richard de Lalande

Ave verum corpus

William Byrd
(c. 1540-1623)

Ave verum corpus

Ko Matsushita
(b. 1962)

Nänie, op. 82
Lauren Breen, oboe

Johannes Brahms

“Soldier” and “Heaven-Haven”
from A.M.D.G. (Ad maiorem Dei gloriam)

Benjamin Britten

Hold Fast to Dreams

Joel Thompson
(b. 1988)

“Panda Chant II”
from The Games

Meredith Monk
(b. 1942)

Composer Notes

Josu Elberdin
Josu Elberdin Badiola, born in 1976 in Pasaia (Gipuzkoa, Spain), started his musical studies at the Conservatory of Pasaia, Pasaia Musikal, where he obtained a degree as a teacher of piano and singing. He also graduated in Social Education from Universidad del País Vasco (UPV). Since 2000, he has worked as a music teacher at the Musical School of Pasaia, and since 1991, he has also worked as an organist at Nuestra Señora del Carmen de Trintxerpe Church (Pasaia). He frequently serves as a clinician for both children and adult choir conducting workshops, and he also acts as adjudicator at National and International choral and composition competitions. Elberdin is world-renowned for his compositions. He has won several composing awards, and his works have been commissioned by prestigious choirs all over the world. He has also set compulsory scores for international choral contests, such as the Tolosa International Choral Competition, Taipei International Choral Festival, Europa Cantat Junior, World Choral Symposium Argentina 2011 and Barcelona 2017, Quincena Musical de San Sebastián International Festival, Musikaste, and more.
Hyo-Won Woo
Hyo-Won Woo (b. 1974) is a South Korean composer who was born to an artist father and a pianist mother in Seoul. After graduating from Sungshin Women’s University, she became a composer in residence with the Seoul Ladies’ Singers, later composing for Incheon City Chorale and the Asian Youth Choir from 1995 to 2002. Woo taught music at the Seoul Theological University, Hansei University, and the Chorus Center Academy in Seoul, and is a guest lecturer at the University of Michigan. As a representative composer who created new Korean choral music, she combined the genres of Western contemporary music and Korean traditional music. Her oratorio Creo, for mixed chorus, horn, strings, and percussion, was performed as part of the 10th World Symposium on Choral Music in Seoul in August 2014. The U.S. premiere was given by the Manhattan Chorale in New York on 18 October 2016, and the European premiere was performed by Choeur Nicolas de Grigny in Reims, France.
Kevin A. Memley
Kevin A. Memley (b. 1971) is an American choral composer. His music has been performed by major choirs in many venues, such as the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and Chicago Symphony Hall, as well at the Llangollen International Choral Festival in Wales. He is an accomplished accompanist and has been a music director at the Kingsburg Community Church choir since 2009.
Ching-Ju Shih
Ching-Ju Shih (b. 1967) was born into a musical family in Taiwan and started studying violin and piano in childhood. After earning her bachelor’s degree in music from the National Taiwan Normal University, she studied composition and piano performance at Boston University. She subsequently entered the doctoral program in composition at the City University of New York. Shih served as a special composer for Taiwan’s Chenxi Music Publishing Company and published dozens of collections of music scores and CD audio teaching materials. Her compositions include solo, chamber music, choral music, and orchestral music. She is particularly adept at integrating traditional Taiwanese music into her works. Important compositions include Break of Dawn (double concerto for piano and violin), Those Days when Jiang Weishui was in Prison (oratorio), Song of the Land (a cappella suite), Ode to Life (piano trio), Rebirth and Youth (recorder Quintet), and Golden Poetry (string ensemble). Her works are mainly published in Germany, Canada, Singapore, Japan, and the United States.
-Excerpted from the Proceedings of the 24th Annual Conference of the Taiwanese Women’s Association of North America
Ko Matsushita
Ko Matsushita (b. 1962) is a prolific Japanese composer and conductor and a strong representative of modern Japanese choral music. He currently works as conductor and artistic director with thirteen choirs in Japan and Taiwan, with whom he has performed all over the world. These choirs enjoy an excellent reputation and have won many awards in choir competitions around the world. Matsushita is a popular clinician and judge in international chorus and composition competitions. His compositions display diverse approaches to style, including works based on traditional Japanese music, sacred masses, hymns, popular music, and choir etudes, scored for mixed voice, treble, and lower voice choirs. Matsushita is an active advocate of choral art, having served as the executive director of the Tokyo International Chorus Organization, the artistic director of the Karuizawa International Chorus Festival, the artistic director of the Tokyo International Chorus Competition, and the vice president of the Tokyo Chorus Association. His works are published in Japan by Edition KAWAI, Pana Musica, Ongaku no tomo sha Corp., Edition ICOT, and overseas by Carus-Verlag Stuttgart (Germany), SULASOL Helsinki (Finland), among others. His works are known for their tonal and rhythmic complexity as well as their beauty and his writing embodies a modern application of choral singing in the Asian-Pacific Rim. He is the first Asian to receive the Robert Edler Prize for Choral Music in recognition of his outstanding achievements.
-From the composer’s website,
Sarah Hopkins
Sarah Hopkins (b. 1958) is a unique Australian composer-performer, highly acclaimed for her visionary music and inspiring performances for cello, harmonic overtone singing, handbells, choir and the celestial Harmonic Whirlies of her own creation. With a strong background and training in classical music, over the years she has moved into the realm of holistic music and developed a very distinctive compositional voice. Her solo, ensemble, choral and orchestral compositions demonstrate an expansive and pure musical style that resonates with the space and energy of the Australian landscape as well as the inner landscape of the human psyche. Hopkins lives in Brisbane and tours nationally and internationally, performing her own original music, running workshops in Holistic Music and Harmonic Overtone Singing and working as an artist-in-residence.
Eric Whitacre
Eric Whitacre (b. 1970) enjoys an extremely active career as a composer, conductor, and arts advocate. One of the most popular musicians alive today, he was educated at the University of Nevada and the Juilliard School of Music and has since made an indelible mark on the American choral music scene.
Michel Richard de Lalande
Michel Richard de Lalande (1647–1726) was a composer in the French Baroque in the service of King Louis XIV at the palace of Versailles. He was tasked with the musical education of the king’s daughters and from 1714 onward was the director of the French chapel royal, where he supervised all sacred music of the palace. His contemporaries included two other Versailles-era composers: Jean-Baptiste Lully and Franćois Couperin.
William Byrd
This year, we remember William Byrd (c. 1540–1623) on the 400th anniversary of his death. One of the greatest composers of the Renaissance, Byrd is considered one of the founding fathers of English early music. Byrd’s religious compositions, such as his masses and motets, played a significant role in the development of English church music during the tumultuous years of the Protestant Reformation. Despite religious and political pressures of the time, including the crown’s persecution of thousands of English Catholics, Byrd remained a devout Roman Catholic, seemingly under the protection of the royalty while employed at Queen Elizabeth I’s Chapel Royal.
Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms (1833–1897) was a German pianist, conductor, and most importantly a composer of the mid-Romantic era whose life and works centered in the city of Vienna. Hailed alongside J.S. Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven, Brahms is considered one of Europe’s greatest. As a testament to this, Brahms is buried in Vienna in the “circle of musicians” at the Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery), next to Beethoven, Schubert, Gluck, Wolf, and others.
Benjamin Britten
British composer, conductor, pianist Benjamin Britten (1913–1976) attended the Royal College of Music in London and studied with Frank Bridge. His compositions range from orchestral to choral, solo vocal, film music, and chamber music. Known for his pacifist ideals in his music, his most famous works include the opera Peter Grimes (1945) and the enclosed “Sea Interludes”, War Requiem (1962), The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (1945), the opera The Turn of the Screw (1954), and Hymn to St. Cecelia (1942) for chorus. With his romantic and professional partner, the tenor Peter Pears, Britten founded the Aldeburgh Festival in 1948.
Joel Thompson
Joel Thompson (b. 1988) is an Atlanta-based composer, conductor, and educator best known for Seven Last Words of the Unarmed, his choral work that was premiered by the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club and Dr. Eugene Rogers, and which won the 2018 American Prize for Choral Composition. Thompson is committed to creating spaces for healing and community through music. He has collaborated with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta, Atlanta Master Chorale, San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, and EXIGENCE — a Sphinx Vocal Ensemble. He serves as composer-in-residence at the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. His new opera, The Snowy Day, was premiered by Houston Grand Opera in December 2021.
-From the composer’s biography
Meredith Monk
Meredith Monk (b. 1942, New York City) is a composer, singer, director/choreographer and creator of new opera, music-theater works, films and installations. Recognized as one of the most unique and influential artists of our time, she is a pioneer in what is now called “extended vocal technique” and “interdisciplinary performance.” Monk creates works that thrive at the intersection of music and movement, image and object, light and sound, discovering and weaving together new modes of perception. Her groundbreaking exploration of the voice as an instrument, as an eloquent language in and of itself, expands the boundaries of musical composition, creating landscapes of sound that unearth feelings, energies, and memories for which there are no words. Recently Monk received three of the highest honors bestowed to a living artist in the United States: induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2019), the 2017 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize and a 2015 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama.
-From the composer’s website,

Program Notes

Cantate Domino
Josu Elberdin
Cantate Domino was commissioned by Bradly Allred and the Salt Lake City Choral Artists for the 2011 IX World Choral Symposium in Puerto Madryn, Argentina. In 2013, the work was selected as the required composition in the polyphony category for the 2013 Tolosa International Festival. After a stately opening reflecting the deep sense of joy that comes from singing to God, the composition breaks into a joyful and exuberant Basque text interspersed with Latin. After the last reprise, the coda is repeated, finishing strongly and energetically.
-Josu Elberdin
Hyo-Won Woo
Alleluia is an a cappella work for SSAATTBB choir with baritone solo (originally scored for tenor solo). The work is divided into three sections: an opening with tutti chorus, a baritone solo in the middle with choral accompaniment and a fugue that echoes the first section. The highlight of this piece is the interweaving of rhythm and voice in mixed meter. In the middle section, the Korean-style solo chant contrasts with the fast, rhythmic choral writing. Although the entire work only sets one word (“alleluia”), the composer uses contrasting dynamics, long and short phrases, and dark and bright timbres to express both playfulness and spirituality.
Kevin A. Memley
Autumn is written for mixed choir with piano accompaniment and uses seasons metaphorically to explore an individual’s reflection on life and years past. The piece begins with a lyrical solo voice and aleatoric piano accompaniment. The music gradually gets deeper and stronger when the poetry moves into a powerful homophonic section with the text “where are the songs of summer.”
Ching-Ju Shih
秋風讀眛出阮的相思 (Autumn Wind) is written for SATB choir with piano accompaniment. The lyrics of this work are by the Taiwanese poet Xiang Yang (b.1955). In addition to being famous for poetry, he is also a writer of prose and children’s literature, a lyricist, and a political commentator. The highlight part of this work is its Hakka lyrics. The verses were written in the dialect’s intonation and rhyme when creating it. The composer matched the lyrics with a beautiful and melancholy tune. Throughout the work, Xiang uses text painting and other techniques to illustrate the autumn wind. For instance, the flow of triplets, quintuplets, and septuplets in the piano accompaniment depict gusts of wind, and illustrates the text, “blowing over hills, blowing over creeks, blowing and blowing.” In this work, the complementation of piano and chorus is particularly important for the progression of emotions since the tonality or mood changes of every section are guided by the piano. When the last harmony of the piano is about to end, the chorus joins in with the text “Autumn wind,” which becomes a lyrical sigh that gives the melancholy tune of this work.
O Lux Beata Trinitas
Ko Matsushita
O Lux Beata Trinitas is an a cappella work for SSATBB choir. This challenging work is constructed of long phrases with rich dynamic contrast. The theme melody is mostly hidden in the inner parts. The timbre contrast of this work shows the sense of space through the switching of the primary and secondary status of the treble voice and the lower voice. The alternation of voices makes the tutti’s chorus of the same rhythmic singing become even more powerful at the end. This natural increase in volume due to the superposition of voices brings a majestic sense of ending at the last moment of this work. And the sudden fade-out ends with the text “Lux,” bringing a more attractive finishing touch to the whole work.
Past Life Melodies
Sarah Hopkins
Past Life Melodies was composed in 1991 for St. Peters Lutheran College, a high school in Brisbane. The melodic ideas of the work, like those in all of Hopkins’ music, are simple in structure and reach deep into the soul. The first melody was one that haunted the composer for many years-a melody that came to her at moments of deep emotion. The second melody reflects her considerable interest in the music of various world cultures, and in this particular case her eight years of residence in Darwin in the north of Australia, where she had much contact with Australian Aboriginal art and music. The third section of the work utilizes a concept called harmonic overtone singing, which is as ancient a technique as singing itself. Here the separate harmonic voices weave and dart like “golden threads” above the earthy drone sustained by the main body of the choir. The richness and subtlety of colors and the earthy hearty quality of the voices, along with an inner rhythm of very simple ideas and materials, offers the listener a communication with the very heart and soul of music itself.
-Stephen Leek/Sarah Hopkins
Little man in a hurry
Eric Whitacre
Though often associated with sustained tone clusters and lyric melodies, Whitacre demonstrates a mischievously rhythmic side to his writing in “little man in a hurry.” The fifth in a collection of five settings of poems by E.E. Cummings entitled The City and the Sea, “little man in a hurry” was commissioned to support Chorus America and was completed in 2010. The entire collection is written in a pan-diatonic style (all notes of the diatonic scale treated with equal importance), and it exhibits hallmarks of Whitacre’s style such as bold keyboard writing, frequent independent use of men’s and women’s voices in the choir, and employment of cumulative or deconstructive effects to delineate musical form.
Whitacre restricts the pitch content of The City and the Sea to the white notes of the piano but is able nonetheless to extract a broad array of tonal colors from the chorus and keyboard. In certain of the pieces, he employs what he delightfully refers to as “oven mitt technique.” in which the pianist clusters the four fingers together while the thumb plays at the interval of a third away from the index finger. In other instances, he creates lyrical lines in the piano part by oscillating between pitches, creating compound melodic gestures against material sung by the choir. The choir is used as a melodic, harmonic. and percussive instrument throughout the collection, though a clear statement of the text is always maintained. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than in “little man in a hurry.”
In this final composition of the set, Whitacre brings together elements of the preceding movements to depict the interplay between a restless individual and a voice of wisdom and comfort encouraging him to slow down and “relax.” The message of the (relatively short) poem is reinforced by Whitacre’s methods of extension, such as repetition and interjection of various key words like hurry” and “worry” and the creation of nonsense syllables out of words like “man” and “sleep.” After each main statement of text, complicated rhythmic counterpoint is created amongst voice parts and keyboard, perhaps the most distinctive, memorable, and challenging aspect of this piece.
-Nathaniel Fryml
-Concert Choir notes by Shijia Ye
from Confitebor tibi Domine
Michel Richard de Lalande
de Lalande was one of the most important contributors to the French genre of the grand motet: multimovement settings of Latin text from the Psalms. The ensemble of the grand motet features a petit choeur (small chorus) of soloists and a grand choeur (large chorus) with an instrumental ensemble. This form developed in the court of Versailles under the rule of King Louis XIV, whose taste for grandeur also made its way into the stylings of the church music. In this final movement of Confitebgor tibi Domine written in 1699, we begin with a dance-like triple meter that features the first stanza of the Gloria Patri text in dialogue between the petit choeur and the grand choeur. Then, de Lalande switches to a quick duple meter to set the second stanza of the text. The work ends triumphantly with joyous fugal writing filled with many peaks and valleys of musical imitation.
Ave verum corpus
William Byrd
The motet Ave verum corpus, widely considered one of Byrd’s masterpieces, is from Gradualia book 1, a collection of Mass Proper settings published in 1605 that was intended for intimate devotional singing in the home. Byrd sets the text for the Feast of Corpus Christi from the 14th century with reverence in its musical clarity and simplicity. This text focuses on the great mystery of the transubstantiation of the Eucharist: the moment when bread and wine are believed to become the actual body and blood of Christ in Catholic doctrine. Alternating passages of polyphony and homophony create poignant musical moments for the listener. One of the more striking techniques used by Byrd is the false relation or cross relation, a dissonance in polyphonic music where chromatic contradiction is used in two voice parts. Twice in this motet, Byrd uses an F sharp and an F natural simultaneously or in quick succession: once between the first two words of the work, Ave (hail) and verum (true), and again on the word miserere (have mercy).
Ave verum corpus
Ko Matsushita
Composed in 2012, Matsushita’s setting of the Ave verum corpus verse prayer “inimitably captures the special atmosphere of the contradiction between a terrible death and the redemption of mankind,” (Carus Music, 2012). Employing whole-tone scales, Matsushita first gives us solo lines in the choir, setting a very contemplative atmosphere reminiscent of ancient Gregorian chant. The work raises in tension with more chromaticism and augmented intervals over the most vivid part of the text: vere passum, immolatum in cruce pro homine: cuius latus perforatum fluxit aqua et sanguine (You who truly suffered and were sacrificed on the cross for the sake of man: From whose pierced flank flowed water and blood). This tension releases into a glorious F major sonority as the text highlights the beautiful result of Christ’s death sacrifice. The last portion of the piece brings back the whole tone motif from the onset, now adapted within the peaceful sound of F major.
Nänie, op. 82
Johannes Brahms
Lauren Breen, oboe
Nänie is a work for chorus and orchestra set to the poem of the same name by Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805). The work was composed in 1881 in memory of the passing of Brahms’s friend and painter Anselm Feuerbach. Nenia is the ancient Roman goddess of the funeral rite; thus Schiller’s poem from the onset proclaims the essence of the work: Auch das Schöne muß sterben! (Even beauty must die!). With these words, Schiller mourns for beauty as an ideal, not as an individual person. He alludes allegorically to three stories in Greek and Roman mythology: Orpheus, who fails to rescue Eurydice from the underworld, Aphrodite grieving her love Adonis, and Thetis, who could not save her son Achilles from death. A musical turning point comes in the text with the word aber (but), after which the poem moves on to describe the peace found in grief: Aber sie steigt aus dem Meer mit allen Töchtern des Nereus (But she ascends from the sea with all the daughters of Nereus).
“Soldier” and “Heaven-Haven”
from A.M.D.G. (Ad maiorem Dei gloriam)
Benjamin Britten
Never performed in Britten’s lifetime, the setting of 7 poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889) titled A.M.D.G. was written on the eve of the Second World War in 1939 as Britten was fleeing anti-gay policies in England. A.M.D.G. was not premiered until 1984 and was only published in 1989. Originally, Britten wrote this work for a performance by Pears’s quartet, the Round Table Singers. A.M.D.G. is the famous motto of the Society of the Jesuits titled to these seven settings by Britten, Ad maiorem Dei gloriam (to the greater glory of God), and Hopkins penned these pacifist poems in his early twenties. The last two movements of A.M.D.G. are presented this evening: number six, “Soldier” and number seven, “Heaven-Haven.”
In “Soldier,” Hopkin’s poetry asks why we as a society praise soldiers while we simultaneously send them to their death in war. The poet presents Christ, who “knows war, served this soldiering through,” as an example of a man who chose love over a life of fighting: “For love he leans forth, needs his neck must fall on, kiss.” Britten’s intricate and at times demanding score personifies this militant theme, with a tempo indication of Alla marcia (like a march). The text winds through all the voice parts, often sharing one line across multiple singers, making the execution of this text quite tricky. In the end of the work, the chorus proclaims triumphantly that we should lead with love, not war: “Christ ‘it should be this.”
The bombast of the penultimate movement is contrasted by gentle, two-part writing in the final piece of A.M.D.G., “Heaven-Haven.”

“This poem is about transcendence, a desire to leave the troubles of our material lives to some magical shelter above it all. The subtitle for this poem, a nun takes the veil, suggests that Hopkins is embodying a young lady entering a convent, a nunnery. Our speaker is a lady who has dedicated her life to God so that she can access a spiritual heaven and a more immediate haven. Lilies commonly symbolize purity, innocence, and rebirth. They are often placed on graves to show a desire for the dead to be born again. Here, our nun is hoping to find a place where death is uncommon, the people who die are innocent, and are therefore treated with respect after they die,” (Amelia Cruz).

The music here is reverent, yet it wanders in and out of tonality as if to represent that unreal nature of this dream of a better life on earth.
-Amelia Cruz
Hold Fast to Dreams
Joel Thompson
In this work, Thompson sets two poems penned by Langston Hughes in different eras of his life. Thompson uses a sense of choral recitative to set Harlem, as it poses a series of questions. Then in the second poem, Dreams, Thompson imbues lyricism and flow.
Here we present the composer’s program note from the published score so that you can read Joel Thomposon’s own words (Galaxy Music Corporation, ECS Publishing Group).
“These words of Langston Hughes have proven their immortality this year in American history, and not in the way one would hope. The 1951 poem, Harlem, still captures the essence of disillusionment in a deceptively simple series of vivid questions. Dreams, a lesser-known poem, charges the reader to “hold fast to dreams” while making plain the misery of a life without them. One poem summarizes the pain of broken promises and the other encourages faith that things will get better because the alternative is absolute despair. Both contain essential truths made evident in this turbulent 2016.
When asked to write a piece in response to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the possibility of dialogue between these succinct literary gems was an instant inspiration to me. Today’s rampant cynicism casts Hughes’ words in a tired light–these sentiments seem to be the stuff of childhood and naiveté–but my hope is that all who experience this piece will put aside our jaded lenses of fear and choose to be vulnerable and continue to dream.”
“Panda Chant II”
from The Games
Meredith Monk
In 1978, the Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble was formed to further expand her musical textures and forms. Thus, “Panda Chant II” is a section from The Games: a science fiction opera written by Monk and Ping Chong, originally created for the Schaubühne Ensemble of West Berlin but is still performed today by the Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble. Monk composed the music and also collaborated with Ping Chong on the scenario, choreography, and direction. Set on an imaginary planet, The Games takes place in a post-nuclear future where survivors and their descendants are involved in the repetition of ritual games re-enacting Earth’s culture in order to preserve the shards of civilization. Coming at the middle of the opera, “Panda Chant” is an energetic ritual performed by the whole community as preparation for the third game, Memory. The Games won the National Music Theatre Award in 1986.
-Boosey & Hawkes
-Chamber Singers notes by Connor Scott

Text & Translations

Cantate Domino
Sing to the Lord a new song.
Sing to the Lord,
sing all the earth praise his name.
Kanta Jaunari kantu berria,
kanta Jaunari lur guztia,
egin alaitsu haren nahia.
Benedicite nomini eius.
Annuntiate diem de die salutare eius.
Cantate, exsultate et psalite in cithara,
Psallite voce psalmi.
Quia mirabilia fecit.
English Translation
Sing to the Lord a new song.
Sing to the Lord,
sing all the earth praise his name.
Sing to the Lord a new song,
Sing to the Lord all the earth,
joyfully fulfill his will.
Let us come before him with thanks.
Let us shout songs of joy to him.
Sing and praise with the harp
Sing praises with a psalm.
For he has done wonders.
Alone, alone,
Upon a mossy stone,
She sits and reckons up the dead and gone
with the last leaves for a rosary
a love rosary
I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
stand shadowless like silence, list’ning to silence,
for no lonely bird would sing into his hollow ear from woods forlorn,
Nor lowly hedge nor solitary thorn;
Shaking his languid locks all dewy bright
with tangled gossamer that fell by night,
Pearling his coronet of golden corn.
Where are the songs of summer?
With the sun oping the eyelids of the south,
Till shade and silence waken up as one,
And morning sings with a warm odorous mouth.
O go and sit with her, and be o’ershaded
Under the languid downfall of her hair:
She wears a coronal of flowers faded
Upon her forehead, and a face of care;
There is enough of wither’d everywhere
There is enough of sorrowing!
Where are the songs of summer?
With the sun oping the eyelids of the south,
Till shade and silence waken up as one,
And morning sings with a warm odorous mouth.
I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
English Translation
The Autumn Wind, it doesn’t know how to read
Blowing down the mountain of red leaves,
Which shiver with cold
The Autumn Wind, is that really you?
Blowing over hills
blowing over creeks
blowing and blowing
yet unable to reach my yearning for you
My yearning is like a red leaf
From beginning to end, it is written with your name
Autumn Wind, is that really you?
Causing me to fall and lose my spirit
Trying to read
but not discern my yearning.
The Autumn Wind, it doesn’t know how to read
Autumn Wind, is that really you?
Causing me to fall and lose my spirit
Trying to read
but not discern my yearning.
(Translated by Hsin-Yu Hung)
O Lux Beata Trinitas
O lux beata Trinitas,
Et principalis unitas,
Iam sol recedat igneus,
Infunde lumen cordibus.
Te mane laudum carmine,
Te deprecemur vespere,
Te nostra supplex gloria
Per cuncta laudet sæcula.
English Translation
O Trinity of blessed light,
O Unity of princely might,
The fiery sun now goes his way;
Shed Thou within our hearts Thy ray.
To Thee our morning song of praise,
To Thee our evening prayer we raise;
Thy glory suppliant we adore
Forever and forevermore.
(Translated by John Mason Neale)
Little man in a hurry
little man
(in a hurry
full of an important worry)
halt stop forget relax
(little child
who have tried
who have failed
who have cried)
lie bravely down
big rain
big snow
big sun
big moon
(enter us)
from Confitebor tibi Domine
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper,
et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
English Translation
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Ave verum corpus
Ave, verum corpus natum
de Maria Virgine:
vere passum, immolatum
in cruce pro homine:
cuius latus perforatum
una fluxit aqua et sanguine:
esto nobis praegustatum,
in mortis examine.
O Jesu dulcis, O Jesu pie,
O Jesu Fili Mariae.
Miserere mei. Amen.
English Translation
Hail the true body, born
of the Virgin Mary:
You who truly suffered and were sacrificed
on the cross for the sake of man:
From whose pierced flank
flowed water and blood:
Be a foretaste for us
in the trial of death.
O sweet, O merciful,
O Jesus, Son of Mary.
Have mercy on me. Amen.
Nänie, op. 82
Auch das Schöne muß sterben! Das Menschen und Götter bezwinget,
Nicht die eherne Brust rührt es des stygischen Zeus.
Einmal nur erweichte die Liebe den Schattenbeherrscher,
Und an der Schwelle noch, streng, rief er zurück sein Geschenk.
Nicht stillt Aphrodite dem schönen Knaben die Wunde,
Die in den zierlichen Leib grausam der Eber geritzt.
Nicht errettet den göttlichen Held die unsterbliche Mutter,
Wann er, am skäischen Tor fallend, sein Schicksal erfüllt.
Aber sie steigt aus dem Meer mit allen Töchtern des Nereus,
Und die Klage hebt an um den verherrlichten Sohn.
Siehe! Da weinen die Götter, es weinen die Göttinnen alle,
Daß das Schöne vergeht, daß das Vollkommene stirbt.
Auch ein Klaglied zu sein im Mund der Geliebten, ist herrlich;
Denn das Gemeine geht klanglos zum Orkus hinab.
English Translation
Even beauty must die! That which subjugates gods and men
Moves not the steely heart of the Stygian Zeus.
Only once did love come to soften the Lord of the Shadows,
And just at the threshold he sternly took back his gift.
Neither can Aphrodite heal the wounds of the beautiful youth
That the boar had savagely torn in his delicate body.
Nor can the deathless mother rescue the divine hero
When, at the Scaean gate now falling, he fulfills his fate.
But she ascends from the sea with all the daughters of Nereus,
And she raises a plaint here for her glorious son.
Behold! The gods weep, all the goddesses weep,
That the beautiful perishes, that the most perfect passes away.
But a lament on the lips of loved ones is glorious,
For the ignoble goes down to Orcus in silence.
“Soldier” and “Heaven-Haven”
from A.M.D.G. (Ad maiorem Dei gloriam)
“The Soldier”
Yes. Why do we áll, seeing of a soldier, bless him? bless
Our redcoats, our tars? Both these being, the greater part,
But frail clay, nay but foul clay. Here it is: the heart,
Since, proud, it calls the calling manly, gives a guess
That, hopes that, makesbelieve, the men must be no less;
It fancies, feigns, deems, dears the artist after his art;
And fain will find as sterling all as all is smart,
And scarlet wear the spirit of wár thére express.
Mark Christ our King. He knows war, served this soldiering through;
He of all can handle a rope best. There he bides in bliss
Now, and séeing somewhére some mán do all that man can do,
For love he leans forth, needs his neck must fall on, kiss,
And cry ‘O Christ-done deed! So God-made-flesh does too:
Were I come o’er again’ cries Christ ‘it should be this’.
A nun takes the veil
I have desired to go
Where springs not fail,
To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail,
And a few lilies blow.
And I have asked to be
Where no storms come,
Where the green swell is in the havens dumb,
And out of the swing of the sea.
Hold Fast to Dreams
Harlem by Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
Dreams by Langston Hughes
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.


Flora L. Thornton Administration
Jason King, Dean
Susan M. Lopez, Associate Dean for Administration and Finance
Jeffrey de Caen, Associate Dean for Operations
A. Phoenix Delgado, Associate Dean for Advancement
Joanna Demers, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs
Brian Head, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
Phillip Placenti, Associate Dean for Admission and Student Affairs
Ronald C. McCurdy, Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Rotem Gilbert, Vice Dean, Division of Research and Scholarly Studies
Cristian Grases, Vice Dean, Division of Classical Performance and Composition
Sean Holt, Vice Dean, Division of Contemporary Music
Job Springer, Doctoral Advisor, Thornton Student Affairs
Viet Bui, Director of Student Affairs
Daniel Andrade, Academic Advisor, Thornton Student Affairs
Heather Pio Roda, Head of Production and Events
Tori Nagle, Senior Production Coordinator
Woody Gatewood, Choral & Sacred Music Administrative Coordinator
Department of Choral & Sacred Music Faculty
Tram Sparks, Chair and Associate Professor of Practice, Choral & Sacred Music
Cristian Grases, Professor, Choral & Sacred Music
Emily Sung, Assistant Professor of Practice, Choral & Sacred Music
Suzi Digby, Adjunct Professor, Choral & Sacred Music
Jennifer Ellis Kampani, Adjunct Instructor in Early Music
Troy Quinn, Part-time Lecturer in Conducting
Steve Rothstein, Lecturer of Choral and Sacred Music
Department of Choral & Sacred Music Graduate Teaching Assistants
Collin Boothby
Ann Chen
Ali Sandweiss Hodges
Michael Raleigh
Connor Scott
Duncan Tuomi
Shijia Ye
Department of Choral & Sacred Music Donors
We are grateful to the following individuals who have made contributions to the USC Thornton Department of Choral & Sacred Music since July 1, 2017.
Anonymous, Charles Albers, Victor Apanovitch, Elizabeth Armour & Jonathan Lewis, Kristin & Larry Ball, Jane & Robin Blomquist, Jennifer & Donald Brinegar, Robert E. Brooks, Kellie & Aaron Custino, Dr. Harold A. Daugherty Jr., Elizabeth Molly Flier, Joanne & Nathaniel Fryml, Lisa Hane & Hugh Rienhoff, Jazmine Harnishfeger-Brand, Dr. Todd J. Harper & Connie C. Kim, Lisa H. Harrington, Tamara & Mark Hatwan, Dr. Carl W. Haywood, Dr. Stephanie Henry, Margaret P. & Guilbert C. Hentschke, Barbara A. & Wayne Hirabayashi, Nancy & James Holland, Debora Lee Huffman, Dr. Buddy Oscar James, Young Lee-Ko & Seungseop Ko, Daniel Lee, Dr. Yewon Lee, Dr. Iris Sue Levine, Shou-Ping Liu, Hazel & James Lord, Dr. Marguerite Marsh, Joan Mattei, Dr. Stanley R. McDaniel, Patricia & John McIntyre, Dr. Donald B. & Mary C. Miller, Shirley & John G. Morgan, Music Celebrations International, LLC, Mr. David Noble, Christine Marie Ofiesh, Peter & Masha Plotkin Memorial Foundation, Pawasut Piriyapongrat, Thomas B. Ringland, Kenneth Sanson, Rose F. Sapia, Margaret & Christopher Saranec, Virginia Sato & Raymond Bates, Mary & Jo-Michael Scheibe, Nicole D. Singer, Virginia & Thomas Somerville, Tram N. Sparks, Christian D. Stendel, Toni & Nick Strimple, The Donald & Alice Noble Foundation, Town & Gown of USC, Leslie J. & Jeffrey B. Unger, Barbara & James Harold Vail, Gregory Wait, John P. Wiscombe, Pamela & Donald (“Jeff”) Wright, Janice Lynn Wyma, Ruth & David Yoder
Please contact the USC Thornton Office of Advancement at or (213) 740-6474 if you would like more information on how to contribute to the USC Thornton Department of Choral & Sacred Music.


USC Thornton Concert Choir
Cristian Grases, conductor
Shijia Ye, assistant conductor
Cathy Yang, collaborative pianist
Abigail Bridgeman, BS Human Biology, Columbia, MO, USA
Aileen Conner, BM Vocal Arts, Lexington, KY, USA
Ajani Harris, BM Vocal Arts, Antioch, CA, USA
Ariene Smith, BS Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Grand Forks, ND, USA
Ayanda Fuzane, BM Vocal Arts and Opera, Banning, CA, USA
Bartholomew Chu, BA Comparative Literature, Palo Alto, CA, USA
Benjamin Thai, BA Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, Santa Ana, CA, USA
Brianna Birkel, PhD Earth Sciences, Seattle, WA, USA
Brihi Joshi, PhD Computer Science, New Delhi, Delhi, India
Caleb Dehn, BS Neuroscience, BA Music, Orange, CA, USA
Camila Ruiz, BM Vocal Arts, Baja California, Mexico
Catherine (Jianing) Yang, MS Digital Social Media, Beijing, China
Chang Gao, GCRT Organ Performance, Tianjin, China
Chelsea Ackman, BS Business Administration and Accounting, Denver, CO, USA
Colin Cunningham, BM Vocal Art, Pawleys Island, SC, USA
Daniel Mangiaracino, MM Piano Performance, Phoenix, AZ, USA
David Cerna, BM Piano Performance, Anaheim, CA, USA
Dwaipayan Chanda, BS Physics and Computer Science, Burbank, CA, USA
Ella Blain, BA Theatre, Pasadena, CA, USA
Elysa Hernandez, BM Vocal Arts and Opera, San Mateo, CA, USA
Hsin-Yu Hung, MM Choral Music, Hsinchu, Taiwan
Isaac Yamamoto, MS Marriage and Family Therapy, Altadena, CA, USA
Joyce Zhang, BFA Film & TV Production, Beijing, China
Kellie Cunningham, DMA Music Teaching and Learning, Valencia, CA, USA
Kobe Almeida, BS Applied and Computational Mathematics, Worcester, MA, USA
Karah Rhoades, BM Vocal Arts, West Linn, OR, USA
Kristine Thompson, BA Theater, Emphasis Musical Theater, Perris, CA, USA
Leverett Wilson, BM Vocal Arts, Wenham, MA, USA
Liam McCarthy, BM Vocal Arts, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Lindsay LaFollette, BM Vocal Arts, Houston, TX, USA
Logan Anderson, DMA Trumpet Performance, Blackfoot, ID, USA
Luc Eldridge, BM Composition, Eastvale, CA, USA
Miranda Couch, BA Public Relations, Berkeley, CA, USA
Natalie Bradley, BM Choral Music, San Diego, CA, USA
Nnenna Onwe, BS Business Administration, Columbus, OH, USA
Phineas Kelly, BS Astronautical Engineering, Fairfield, CA, USA
Phoebe J. Rosquist, MM Choral Music, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Rubí Chavez, BM Vocal Arts, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Ryan Bohn, BS Business Administration, Hawthorn Woods, IL, USA
Ryan Liddy, BM Vocal Arts Pasadena, CA, USA
Rye Ragone, BM Composition San Francisco, CA, USA
Saanjhi Shahdadpuri, BS Neuroscience Wayzata, MN, USA
Shijia Ye, DMA Choral Music, Shenzhen, China
Shuhan Yang, MCG Communication Management, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Steven Lepe, BM Choral Music, East Los Angeles, CA, USA
Tyler Milliren, BS Industrial and Systems Engineering Tacoma, WA, USA
Tzu-Han Ann Chen, DMA Choral Music, Taichung, Taiwan
Vedanshi Sharma, BA Economics Edison, NJ, USA
William Zhao Wilson, JD Law Los Gatos, CA, USA
Yafeu Tyhimba, DMA Jazz Studies, CA, USA
Yanqing Wang, DMA Opera Performance at UT-Austin, Shenzhen, China

USC Thornton Chamber Singers
Tram Sparks, conductor
Connor Scott, assistant conductor
Matthew Harikian, collaborative pianist
Ryann Anderson, MM Choral Music, Noblesville, IN, USA
Collin Boothby, DMA Sacred Music, Southworth, WA, USA
Marisa Bradfield, DMA Choral Music, Montebello, CA, USA
Marielle Brady, MFA Interactive Media (Games and Health), Hillsborough, NJ, USA
Giulia Bratosin, DMA Music Teaching and Learning, Loma Linda, CA, USA
David Cerna, BM Piano Performance, Anaheim, CA, USA
Wai Hei Cheung (Ryan), MM Choral Music, Hong Kong
Ashleigh Conner, BM Vocal Arts, Bronx, NY, USA
Amelia Cruz, PhD English Literature, New Brunswick, NJ, USA
Rosie Ding, BM Choral Music, BA Public Relations, Beijing, China
Joshua Feldman, BM Choral Music, Denver, CO, USA
Zineb Fikri, GCRT Vocal Arts and Opera, MM Vocal Arts & Opera ‘21, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Evan Fox, BM Vocal Arts, Phoenix, AZ, USA
Skylar Funk, MM Popular Music Teaching and Learning, Woodinville, WA, USA
David Gorsage, BA History, Chino, CA, USA
Matthew Han, BM Choral Music, Yucaipa, CA, USA
Maheen Haseeb, BA Music (pre-medicine emphasis) Songwriting Minor, Fresno, CA, USA
Jaxson Hill, PhD Astronautical Engineering, Wylie, TX, USA
Kayla Kim, MM Choral Choral Music, South Korea
Olivia Knowles, BM Choral Music, Newport Beach, CA, USA
Elaine Kong, MM Choral Music, Hong Kong
Sawyer Lazar, BS Chemistry, BA Archaeology , Moorpark, CA, USA
Daniel Leese, BA Jazz Voice, Malibu, CA, USA
Lily Lochhead, BA Psychology, Palo Alto, CA, USA
Victoria Lowe, BM Music Composition & BM Choral Music, Inglewood, CA, USA
Hannah McDonnel, BM Choral Music, Eden Prairie, MN, USA
Adrian Melendrez, BM Vocal Arts, Las Vegas, NV, USA
Kenleonard Oparaji, BA Public Relations, Garland, TX, USA
Han-Ah Park, DMA Choral Music, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
Derrick Pough Jr, MM Popular Music Teaching and Learning, Leesburg, VA, USA
Andrew Powell, BA Music, BA Economics, Billings, MT, USA
Michael Raleigh, DMA Choral Music, Boston, MA, USA
Carlos Ramirez, BS Computer Science, Chicago, IL, USA
Julia Ruddy, BM Vocal Arts, Lawrence, KS, USA
Ali Sandweiss Hodges, DMA Choral Music, Ferndale, MI, USA
Connor Scott, DMA Choral Music, Hillsboro, MO, USA
Kaitlyn Son, BM Choral Music, BM Vocal Arts, Palo Alto, CA, USA
Theo Trevisan, MM Composition, Princeton, NJ, USA
Duncan Tuomi, DMA Choral Music, Portland, OR, USA
Kathrina Welborn, BS Environmental Studies, Los Altos Hills, CA, USA
Adam White, BS Mechanical Engineering, Lenexa, KS, USA
Jason Yang, BM Choral Music, Palo Alto/Santa Clara, CA, USA