Granby churches premiere Round in Common Time

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Round in Common Time is a choral piece written this spring to express love, gratitude and support for the essential workers in the coronavirus pandemic. As a Granby musician and poet, I composed the piece as a song/prayer for those risking their lives to help the rest of us survive. It is proving to be a piece that speaks to many people.

The idea for the song came from cellist and viola da gambist, Zarina Irkaeva, of Massachusetts, whose husband is a doctor working in Boston hospitals. Her thought was that it would be a song to be sung by the family members and friends of nurses, doctors and others who help those suffering from the virus.

The English text is here.

Round in Common Time

Take all our strength into your hands,

our love into your hearts,

And go where love is calling you,

though we must be apart.

Let every prayer surround you,

protect you from all harm.

Copyright May 6, 2020 by Laura Mazza-Dixon

With the help of the music director at South Congregational Church, Mattie Banzhaf, and her husband Walter Banzhaf, an electrical engineer, the notation was entered into a computer program called Sibelius, which made it possible to generate a recording of the piece. The musical scores and computer-generated sound files were then made available to my musical colleagues across New England. 

The hope was to have Round in Common Time sung a cappella, or with instruments doubling the parts. 

But because the coronavirus is so easily transmitted when people sing near each other, live performances of choral pieces during the pandemic would be dangerous. For this reason, churches and synagogues, temples and mosques have moved to holding services online.

However, several choir directors have expressed interest in using the piece with their church choirs in their online religious services, and with the new technology, those performances have begun to occur.

Julie Hagen, music director at First Church, Granby, and her husband, Jordan Hagen, an audio engineer, worked with the members of the combined choirs of First Church and South Congregational Church to collate the recordings that each choir member submitted electronically. With the efforts of all these musicians combined, an online performance became possible. 

Round in Common Time premiered on a live-streamed Facebook service by the combined choirs of Granby’s two United Church of Christ churches on May 31. 

The link to that service on YouTube:  youtube.com/watch?v=wrPWFM2gfAA

The entire service is a tribute to the role the church plays in our community and our lives, and the Round in Common Time is introduced about 18 minutes into the service. The end of the service is a beautiful tribute to the essential workers in the Greater Granby community, with their photographs.

I am hoping to make it possible for it to be sung in more languages as well, If anyone would be interested in helping with the translations, please let me know. If you, or a choir director you know would be interested in having a copy of the score, please contact me at mazzadixon@gmail.com