Also available: SAB choir and piano SATB choir and piano
On November 2, 2021, a bus transporting students home from the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School was involved in a tragic accident, resulting in the death of freshman vocal major Brylee Walker and bus driver Lindsay Thompkins Jr. As the tragic news pulsed through the Lincoln Park family, an overwhelming outpouring of support for everyone involved in this horrific tragedy came from all over. As a fifteen-year teacher at Lincoln Park, my family and I were trying to find a way to support not only the families of the victims, but Brylee’s friends and teachers as well. Music has the power to comfort, so I did what I know how to do—I wrote some music. The result is “Do Not. For, I Am...” based on the poem “Do Not Stand by My Grave and Weep” by Mary Elizabeth Frye.
The piece, scored for SSA or SAB and piano, is in three parts. The first is a solemn setting of the text “Do not stand by my grave and weep. I am not there, I do not sleep.” As these lines are repeated throughout the ensemble, the melancholy mood slowly lightens. The initial grief is replaced by a more optimistic energy, bringing us to the second section. In this new moment of remembrance, the piano first establishes an optimistic energy. The choir, toning “I am,” reminds us that our lost loved ones can be found everywhere—in the autumn rain and in the falling snow; in the ripened grain and winds that blow. The piece closes with a return to the opening idea, reminding us that we should not stand and cry, for they are not there, they did not die.
Todd Goodman’s “Do Not. For, I Am...” was written for Dr. Marissa Ulmer, the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School Women’s Choir, and in memory of Brylee Walker and Lindsay Thompkins Jr.
Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye
Do not stand By my grave, and weep. I am not there, I do not sleep— I am the thousand winds that blow I am the diamond glints in snow I am the sunlight on ripened grain, I am the gentle, autumn rain. As you awake with morning’s hush, I am the swift, up-flinging rush Of quiet birds in circling flight, I am the day transcending night. Do not stand By my grave, and cry— I am not there, I did not die.