Composer: Saunder Choi
Arranger: NA
Publisher: MusicSpoke
Voicing: SSATTB
Setting: a cappella


Michael McGaghie
Macalester College
R&R Chair College & University

This exciting piece takes its text from the eponymous poem by Emma Lazarus, known for its association with the Statue of Liberty. A driving, post-minimalist polyphony in the outer sections gives way to rich homophony at the work’s center, pairing the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” with the poem’s ultimate promise of welcome.

The work’s more complicated rhythms are best taught at a very slow tempo, without pitches. Once the hocket rhythms are internalized, the pitches follow easily. A few moments in the piece call for audible in/out breathing sounds, where singers should use a thick fricative like the ich-laut /ç/ in order to best capture the intended effect (and prevent hyperventilation).

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