There Future Lies was commissioned by The Woodford House Chapel Choir for performances during 2018, including The Big Sing.
It celebrates Woodford House school in Havelock North, and was intended for performance at the school's 125th anniversary celebrations in 2019.
The song was also written as part of the composer's residency with the school, February 2018.
It is based on the theme of both future and past, and the progression of "time's slow hand". The centre piece for the song is a verse from 'Sonnet on the Unknown' by Bettie Williams, published in Ye Woodforde Chronycle, 1923.
The words contemplate the mystery and excitement of the future ahead for young people at school:
Over the misty plains to the blue hills,
Beyond to the fascinating mystery.
Where many unknown things and fairy tales
Make pageant for imagination's eye,
There future lies, things happy, strange and sad,
Waiting for time's slow hand to bring them forth.
Prior to this text we hear words whispered in Maori, embodying the school's philosophy:
Kia wero (Challenge the Future), Kai awhi (Embrace the Present), Kai pumau (Cherish the past)
Bettie Williams' words leads directly into the school motto in English, sung in antiphony between groups of soloists:
"Now is the Acceptable Time" (Original in Latin: Nunc Acceptabile Tempus)
This is combined with lines from the original Woodford House school song, from the chorus:
So here's to the school at the top of the hill,
The school at the top of the hill.
(words by P. Williams, form 5, 1920s)
Having delved into the past and celebrated school philosophies, the song ends by looking to the future again.
The composer acknowledges and thanks Old Girls, staff and students from Woodford House (particularly Amelia and Bella) for providing these texts and ideas for the song.
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