Endless Streams

Commissioned by the Greater Anderson Musical Arts Consortium

Endless Streams was commissioned by the Greater Anderson Musical Arts Consortium on the occasion of its 10th anniversary and dedicated to the memory of Isaac James Ponder, late son of GAMAC Youth Choir Director, E. Steven Ponder, and Deborah Ponder.  Isaac sang in the GAMAC Youth Chorus from 1996-2000.

I chose the title, Endless Streams, not only because it conjures up images of rain, snow, rivers, and a sense of constant replenishing and refreshment, but because it also seems descriptive of such things as the blessings of God, the storms of life, the flow of those returning from exile, and, at times, even the work of a composer.  I also had in mind that what perhaps began as a trickle ten years ago, has grown in scale and scope to become a source of cultural and spiritual nourishment for the community of Anderson and the surrounding region, and it is my sincere hope that GAMAC will continue to grow and prosper for decades to come.

The music of Endless Streams is presented in three main sections.  The first depicts descending rain, beginning as a light shower and building gradually to a downpour.  Concurrent with this representation of precipitation, the architectural thrust of this portion of the work is ever upward, so, in a sense, the source of these waters is continuously renewed, inexhaustible.  Following a dramatic interlude for the strings, the text, "it shall not return to me empty, but [it] shall accomplish that which I purpose..." is presented by the choir alone, as if the very clouds have parted.  Soon after this proclamation, the third segment begins with a series of antiphonal statements that build to a tempo of dance and celebration.  Amidst choral and orchestral outbursts -- call and response on large and small levels -- the music drives to an exuberant climax.  The complete text is below.

Isaiah 55:10-12 NRSV

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but [it] shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and [the] hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

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