I had the privilege to be a part of the First Readings Project in Minneapolis, MN.  For the 2014-2015 Season, they were looking for women’s chorus works in particular.  On my colleague’s encouragement, Zvonimir Nagy, I wrote a new piece for this particular event (though there is another choir interested).  I had never written for women’s chorus before and it was quite fun to work with that particular scoring.


The text to Ave Maris Stella has always fascinated me.  The early Christian church used many nautical images and this text is no exception; Mary is the star that leads.  There is a “star” in the piece, but it’s not so much thematic as aesthetic.  To keep the piece in the time limit, I had to choose my verses, leaving several of the middle verses out.  I think the text still makes sense in the order in the piece.  Here is the text:


Hail, star of the sea,

Nurturing Mother of God,

And ever Virgin

Happy gate of Heaven.


Receiving that “Ave”

From the mouth of Gabriel,

Establish us in peace,

Transforming the name of “Eva”


Bestow a pure life,

Prepare a safe way:

That seeing Jesus,

We may ever rejoice.


Praise be to God the Father,

To the Most High Christ (be) glory,

To the Holy Spirit

Be honor, to the Three equally. Amen.


*There’s an error in the video: it should say Minneapolis, MN, not Minnesota, MN.


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