A New Beginning

This choral work was commissioned by the Canadian Music Centre, BC Region for BC’s 150th Anniversary Celebrations with the aid of a special BC150 grant from the BC Gaming Commission.


The period following WWII between 1945 and 1958 was a new beginning for many British Columbians who searched for ways to rebuild their lives and their communities following the devastation of the war.  The poetry of Peter Gillespie expresses this challenge while focusing on issues of diversity, creativity, and prosperity.  Although written specifically for setting to music, the poetry avoids regular metrical articulation which reflects the difficulties of the new beginning yet emulates the steady motivation of hope.  This approach proved a challenge for the composer since regular phrasal construction was not feasible.  Instead, smaller groupings of melodic ideas were created which were combined together to form longer phrases producing musical momentum from beginning to end.  


The work utilizes a primarily collective approach by the choir to the elocution of the poetry with individual voices intermittently supporting and enriching the musical ideas and words expressed by the group.  This homophonic approach is complemented by primarily stepwise motion in all of the voices which results in flowing voice-leading and contributes to a sense of forward motion.   It was important to utilize both an individualistic and communal approach in the presentation of the words in order to mirror the individual and community efforts of post war restoration.  Further, the stepwise motion suggested the cautious progress being achieved.  The work was written for both professional and amateur choirs and provides a glimpse into an important period of time within the multiplicity of British Columbia’s history.


The score is available for rental or purchase from the Canadian Music Centre (416) 961-6601 or visit http://www.musiccentre.ca.


Vocal Sextet:  Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone, and Bass

Duration:  3 minutes


A New Beginning

By Peter Gillespie


Restless current springing hope,

cutting through peace to bring

a new age of elucidation to all so weary from war.


Striving for equality,

our identity ripens to inclusion

to stretch our fabric of diversity.


Embracing creativity,

art sprouts inaugural forms                    

to sing fresh refrains.


Tentative prosperity,

dares imaginations to believe,

an unscathed dawn of discovery.


Untraveled new acquaintances

create lifetimes of communities

growing roots for families.


Pangs of expectation

held close by ardent dreaming

inspiring change for our citizens with

a new beginning for all!


© 2010 Peter Gillespie




Performed by the Hexaphone Vocal Sextet, Victoria