High Flight

An exciting new setting for SATB choir and alto saxophone of the official poem of the NASA space programme.

The Orlando Chorale commissioned High Flight in 2008 as a tribute to choir co-founder John Perkins. They gave the March 2009 world premiere – a beautiful and moving performance under the direction of Gregory Ruffer with distinguished saxophonist George Weremchuk as soloist in Orlando FL.

This was followed just a month later by the New Zealand premiere: Viva Voce under John Rosser, Yvette Audain on saxophone in a performance described as the highlight of a very successful concert. In March 2010 George Weremchuk was soloist again in a fine performance in Athens GA by the University of Georgia Chamber Choir under James Henderson, who coincidentally also happens to be a keen amateur pilot.

The lion’s share of performances to date have been by the Anderson University Chorale directed by Richard Sowers with eloquent performances by Rebecca Chappell. In Early 2010 the choir took High Flight first on a 10 concert tour through Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, Ohio and Indiana, followed two months later by a 9 concert tour to Finland, Sweden and Denmark.

All performances by all four choirs met with an overwhelmingly warm reception. Perhaps the most important plaudit was from the brother of the poet, Hugh Magee, who describes this setting as the finest of the many settings of John Magee’s famous poem.

Some programming suggestions from some of these performances:

Flight: When I Land – Greg Bartholomew, Lasciatemi Fly to Death – Luciano Lunkes, Leonardo Dreams Of His Flying Machine – Eric Whitacre, Love Winged My Hopes – Thomas Morley, On Wings Of Song – Felix Mendelssohn, The Blue Bird – Charles Villiers Stanford – along with any number of modern popular songs – contact Mark Rosser for some very effective SATB arrangements.

Please contact me for more information, or to arrange a performance of this work by your choir.

Christopher Marshall

Reviews:

Scoring:

SATB choir

Commission:

The Association for Music in International Schools

Duration:

±4’30”

Difficulty:

moderate/advanced