Category: MIDDLE LEVEL & JR HIGH
Composer: Susan LaBarr; text by Langston Hughes
Publisher: Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Inc.
Edition: SBMP 1136
Ordean-East Middle School
R&R Chair Middle Level & Jr High
Also available: SSA SBMP 1426
This setting of James Langston Hughes (1902-1967) poem “Dreams” is truly breathtaking. Be careful not to take it too fast, and take great care to have the introductory piano accompaniment played gently, unhurried, and with a sense of rubato. A competent accompanist is required for this selection.
I have been working on this with my combined grade 7-8 choir and they absolutely love to sing this piece. It is great for working on vowels, tone production, and musicality. I asked our middle level English teachers to do some tie-in with the Langston Hughes poem that is the text for this LaBarr composition, and the students have enjoyed those connections to the classroom as well.
In the SATB edition, the first 42 measures are in unison or 2-parts. As the texture builds at m. 43, the lush harmonies are challenging and exciting for students to master! Once again, at m. 60-67, insist the accompaniment is gently played, and includes lovely phrase shaping and rubato to match what you are doing with the choir. The ending allows a wonderful opportunity to teach rubato as well as a full-bodied piano dynamic vocal sound in the unison ending.