- published by Skitter Music Publications
Let Freedom Ring (2021) is one of twelve solo piano works commissioned by the Texas New Music Ensemble (TNME) for their 2020-2021 Season, No Time for Silence. The ensemble, under the direction of composer Chad Robinson, sought works that would address the multiple crises we faced in 2020, such as the covid pandemic, racism, politics, and global warming. TNME believes that artists should be a voice for change, and described their season as follows:
No room for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we compose. That is how civilizations heal.
Let Freedom Ring is a reflection on our democracy. The events of 2020 have made me recognize how fragile our democracy is, and how we must constantly nurture it in order not to lose it. To represent our democracy, I incorporated the patriotic song My Country ‘Tis of Thee, with frequent references to the verse “let freedom ring” to symbolize our constant search for true freedom for all. Through multiple variations and manipulations of the song I seek to represent many different interpretations of freedom and signify the multiple crises that currently engulf our country and endanger our democracy.
As the work progresses, the development of the song becomes more aggressive and chaotic, exemplifying the multiple conflicts we now face. At the height of the chaos the gospel song We Shall Overcome emerges. This song served as the anthem of the civil rights movement, and its message of hope and call for unity is perfect for the moment we currently face as a nation, as well as a direct reference to the continuing problem of racism. Although We Shall Overcome eventually becomes the dominant voice, the chaos never completely dissipates, symbolizing that the struggle for freedom is ongoing.
Unfortunately, I received an extremely poignant reminder about the fragility of our democracy the day that I finished this work: January 6, 2021. On this day an angry mob stormed the US Capitol.