Old Waters

SATB a cappella

A piece about the action of ancient glaciation on the land and the psyche. Author Kent Meyers grew up on a farm near Redwood Falls, Minnesota. He says of his autobiographical essay entitled "Old Waters": "I spent the first eighteen years of my life farming. I didn't just live on the land, I lived with it, and it was driven into my consciousness...and skin...on a daily basis...I grew up with a sense of big land, big waters, and great age...this latter coming primarily...from my awareness of the glaciers that gouged the upper Midwest thousands of years ago."

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Catalog Number: 
Commissioned By: 
American Composers Forum
Premiere Date: 
Premiere Ensemble: 
Choral Arts Ensemble
Premiere Conductor: 
Michael Culloton

"Minnesota Voices" - a commissioning program of the American Composers Forum to honor the sesquicentennial of the State of Minnesota.

Text Author or Source: 
Kent Meyer: The Witness Of Combines

I've been formed by glacier, formed by a land molded by the freezing and thawing of water.
I've rafted as a child on a lake formed of ice-melt,
waving to my father as I pushed away from him under a gray, isolating sky.
I have muscles in my legs and shoulders that formed in response to picking up glacial rocks,
and my imagination has exercised itself on the thought of ice lying deep on the land.

The landscape of the northern prairie, so passive, changeless, lacking in surprise,
is in fact a place of power, a place of mystery to those who know its story and who carry that story on,
a core of coolness in their hearts, as they stoop in the sun to a rock, lift it off the earth,
and hold it, smelling a strange musty scent deeper than earth, as the sky revolves above them
and from the north a cool breeze springs.