Duration: 6 minutes
I wrote the text for Aurora in the spring of 2013, just a few months after I moved from Wisconsin to Texas. That spring—in fact that entire year—had been one of momentous transitions, as I left a faculty position at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and took a new one at the University of Texas at San Antonio, effectively trading the familiar rivers, streams, and bluffs of the Chippewa Valley for the thirsty, mesquite and oak groves of the Texas Hill Country. In the past remained friendships forged through the victories and trials of shared experience; in the future lay unknowable, unrealized promises. In this spirit I contemplated the nexus of endings and beginnings; retrospectives and prospectives. The idea of death and resurrection or renewal provided a poignantly apt poetic vehicle for my thoughts.
In the act of commemorating, we stand at the intersection of past and future, death and renewal. We look backward to the triumphs and tribulations of the past, and forward with a hopeful, if foggy, gaze at the promises yet to be realized. In these moments, we honor the places and the people who have gone before, just as we grasp with expectant anticipation the brighter destiny before us.
Commissioned by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation to commemorate the University's Centennial and celebrate the rich tradition of exceptional music performed by students and faculty
Premiere: October 8, 2016 by Dr. Frank Watkins and the UW-Eau Claire Concert Choir