“Be Brave, My Daughter”

Another image from Sunday night’s rehearsal. Tobit 7:17 presented an opportunity and a challenge to set to music. The opportunity is to draw out a relationship between two important characters. From the biblical text, we know of Sarah’s devotion to her father. Dad has also been railroaded by his houseguest into marriage number 8. Raguel simply instructs his wife to get a bedroom ready and there is a single line of dialogue for Mom:

Take courage, my daughter! May the Lord of heaven grant you joy in place of your grief! Courage, my daughter!

How can you make a song out of that? The challenge is not to compose a Taize ostinato, but something a bit more substantial. A good Jewish (or liturgist’s) family would turn to the psalms, naturally, for more inspiration. The solution is to be found in Psalm 143, verses 7-9:

Hasten to answer me, LORD;
for my spirit fails me.
Do not hide your face from me,
lest I become like those descending to the pit.

In the morning let me hear of your mercy,
for in you I trust.
Show me the path I should walk,
for I entrust my life to you.

Rescue me, LORD, from my foes,
for I seek refuge in you.

I’m pleased with the solution to put these verses on Sarah’s lips. Speaking of which, I would like to call out the fine work of the two women in the image above. Renae, playing Edna, has been a fine cantor in our parish for twenty years plus. Her singing is so rich and clear. It’s too bad she’s only in one long scene and is singing a mere five songs. I gave Edna a lengthy solo in the finale, and I’m sure glad Renae will be rendering that verse. Danielle is just a delight to work with. Her soprano is clear and steady with a real power behind it. Though she’s been ill the past week, she’s a real sport at rehearsals. She gets about a ten-minute chunk in Act 1, plus the whole last half of the production. Other characters have been able to come late or leave early. Singing the role of Sarah pretty much denies that opportunity.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Scripture, Tobit, Todd's music. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to “Be Brave, My Daughter”

  1. What an undertaking – I have enjoyed all these posts so much and pray for all to go well. Thanks for sharing the journey. Amazing.

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