Into Her Care is a song cycle in three movements for soprano and wind ensemble. It tells the stories of American women overcoming barriers created by land and space to unite and care for families and contribute to the physical and moral well-being of the next generation. The three texts, all distinct from each other, highlight in some way the work women do – often overlooked and undervalued – running households, caring for older and younger generations, and maintaining family ties, despite any number of obstacles they face.
In “Near Heaven,” a Norwegian-American immigrant mother makes a home as a pioneer in the woodlands of Wisconsin in the mid-nineteenth century. With a bare minimum of resources, she worked vigorously to provide for her family, teach her children, and be active in her small community. In “Año 45 de la Revolucion Cubana,” my aunt recalls her visit to Cuba in 1980 and the lingering separation “by the invisible wall” between our relatives in Cuba and those of us in the United States. Despite significant physical and political barriers, my aunt, my mom, and their cousin have maintained strong relationships over the decades. Finally, in “Blue Slope Stories,” I grapple with the physical beauty of the South along with its horrific past, contemplating the responsibility I have to show my own daughter both the beauty of these places and the truth of their history. Collectively, these texts acknowledge and celebrate the difficult work women do to meet the physical, relational, and moral needs of their families – and by extension, society. As one of the authors on Norwegian-American pioneers said of women, “into your care and keeping has been entrusted the greatest work accorded humanity.” The music seeks to capture the physical energy of each text as well as its emotional core.
Into Her Care was written in 2021-22 as my dissertation for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Michigan State University. It was written for soprano Jenny Ribeiro and the University of Michigan Concert Band, conducted by Courtney Snyder. I would like to thank Mark Campbell for his assistance in crafting the texts of “Near Heaven” and “Blue Slope Stories,” as well as my aunt Helen Avalos for her permission to use her poem. Thanks to David Biedenbender and Ricardo Lorenz, my composition instructors who worked with me on this piece.
Flute 1, 2
Oboe 1, 2
Bassoon 1, 2
Clarinet in E♭
Clarinet in B♭ 1, 2, 3
Bass Clarinet in B♭
Trumpet in B♭ 1, 2, 3
Horn in F 1, 2, 3, 4
Trombone 1, 2
Percussion 1 (triangle, crash cymbals, xylophone, tam-tam, crotales)
Percussion 2 (marimba, chimes, glockenspiel, temple blocks, shaker, tam-tam)
Percussion 3 (vibraphone, suspended cymbal, bass drum, claves, slapstick, mark tree, congas, tenor drum)