On Terror and Peace through Music

I enjoy sharing my journey with our handbell choir, and this weekend will be our final contribution before breaking for the summer. Interestingly, Song of Peace was originally written for the 2001 CORD Handbell Festival held in a place realizing both terror and peace – Oklahoma City.

To better understand the piece, read the following from composer Arnold B. Sherman, and then enjoy the St. Olaf College rendition of this powerful selection about society.

Song of Peace is a reflection of the way the world has treated peace almost from the beginning of time. The gentle round DONA NOBIS PACEM is given a rather harsh, angular treatment, representing the needless violence and senseless acts of terrorism that plague the world almost on a daily basis. An original, lament-like melody is interspersed with the round, echoing the psalmist’s cry, “How long, O Lord, how long?”

The dissonance builds and rises, and finally stops. Out of the cacophony comes the round once again, this time in a much more harmonious setting, signifying our eternal hope that peace will come on day for all of humankind.

PS: The joint choirs at our festival this past March played  Song of Peace. To me, the highlight was the audience of 110 singing the round at the end, which (unfortunately) this version doesn’t.

We still have the occasional rough spot in rehearsal, but hopefully we’ll get it right this weekend. Enjoy Song of Peace.

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