Wednesday’s Sun column was based on my Easter Sunday trip to Deer Creek in Harford County, a long river that starts in Pennsylvania and meanders through north-central Maryland before meeting the Susquehanna and the Chesapeake Bay. It so happens that that the creek inspired a choral work that will be performed in a concert this weekend at Goucher College.
The Deer Creek Chorale commissioned “From Mountain to Forest to River,” with a grant from the Baltimore County Commission on Arts and Sciences. The work was set for a premier in May 2020, but was postponed due to the pandemic. It will be performed on Sunday at 4 pm at Goucher’s Kraushaar Auditorium. (Ticket information.)
The composer of “From Mountain to Forest to River” is Daniel McDavitt. The four songs within the work are based on the poetry of John Muir, Christina Rossetti and Glen Nelson. Nelson wrote the piece inspired by Deer Creek. Here are the lyrics:
Music of the River
I am the river. There is song in me.
My voice flows over rocky riffles and sandy runs.
I croon to the hickory shad, the herring, and perch That sway to the
beat of my current.
Loose-limbed, I dance fifty miles from Shrewsbury,
Through Harford County, coiling and uncoiling,
Fast and slow, shallow and deep
‘Til I fuse with the Susquehanna.
I am the river. I have heard the lives of many—
Echoes from ancient lives, from days of settlers, and soldiers.
I gather music around me, of lightning and hurricanes.
Struggle and loss is the rhythm of my song,
But also of children jumping off rocks I formed anciently—
Laughing and playing,
Emerging and dripping in my music, if unaware of history,
They sing: Let’s go! Again, again!
The mountains are calling! The forest is calling!
The river is calling, and I must go!

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