"Every Piece of Me" for Choir + Violoncello + Piano
I started to compose “Every Piece of Me” before quarantine with this Walt Whitman quote provided by my commissioner, Jesuit Choir Director Ms. Kristen Caldwell:
“I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”
–Song of Myself, Verse I
I needed to write a song that could try to break down the illusion of distance between each of us. I began to realize that in reality, every atom of blood in my veins is constantly pulsing alongside every atom of blood in yours. So even the silence in the air around us now isn’t real; every silence always is filled with the music of our heartbeats singing together, quiet but constant. Every piece of this world is experiencing sympathetic vibrations with every other.
So, I wanted to write a piece of music—a piece of myself—to break down the distance between all of us. And so, I finished composing “Every Piece of Me” after the 2020 pandemic shutdown.
When challenges pushed everyone in the world apart, I needed to remind myself; the distance we put between ourselves—social, political, and otherwise—is not real. The entire universe is one large continuity, always extending its arms around us and forever linking us together as a family. “Every Piece of Me.” “Every Piece of You.”
Over the course of this song, one should thus start to reevaluate the world—every particle of air that we breathe, every cell our bodies that divide—as all one universal material. Distance must become superficial. At last, every piece of me is as much mine as it is yours.
Jesuit High School
Date: 29 October 2020
Location: Portland, Oregon, US
Performers: The Jesuit High School Chamber Choir, dir. Kristen Caldwell, Kyle Lockwood, Jennifer Creek Hughes