Faye Chiao

This piece was written for the Lessons and Carols service at St. David’s Episcopal Church. Lessons and Carols is one of my favorite services, as it uplifts reflection and celebrates hope, in music. In finding a poem to set, I looked to a brilliant poet whose work beautifully captures both reflection and hope—Paul Dunbar.  

Dunbar’s body of work represents an inspiring stylistic and artistic variety.  The versatility and beauty of his language and work continue to be a great source of inspiration. One particular aspect Dunbar’s poetry often handles beautifully, is the ability to express, in a single image, the sorrow and the joy involved in holding tightly onto hope.  

In Invitation to Love, Dunbar writes:
       Come when my heart is full of grief
       Or when my heart is merry;
       …And you are welcome, welcome.

Love, in all its joys and sorrows, is always welcome.  In light of this understanding, I have strived to work with Dunbar’s text, highlighting the overarching theme—an invitation to love.  

This is an invitation I find humbling and timely.  It is a reminder to hold a grateful and hopeful heart; no matter the days be filled with light or darkness, Love is always welcome.

This piece was written for Dr. Douglas Buchanan and The St. David’s Singers, commissioned by St. David’s Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland.

©Faye Chiao

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