March 22, 2024

“Dark Matters" Available on Streaming Platforms!

Created in response to a difficult moment in time, “Dark Matters” is a new seven-minute work commissioned by the Capital University Choral Department and the Conservatory of Music. This powerful piece was written for choir and piano by poet Samiya Bashir and composer Joel Thompson. Under the direction of Lynda Hasseler, Capital University’s Chapel Choir and Choral Union premiered this collaborative project on April 29, 2023, at 7:30 p.m. in Mees Hall. This piece delves into the depths of our shared human experience. It acknowledges our struggles and ultimately calls upon us to strive for a brighter, more just world. Don't miss out on this unforgettable listening experience! Tune in and be transported by the power of music! Listen on all major streaming platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon, Pandora, Tidal, and iHeartRadio.

For a better understanding of this meaningful work, see programs notes by the conductor, poet and composer. 

Program Notes from Lynda Hasseler, Conductor

This development of this collaborative project began in July 2020, shortly after George Floyd was murdered. The choral and instrumental communities were beginning to recognize and own their role in white-centering concert programs that were exclusive and limited in the representation of artists. In response to our rising awareness, the Capital University Conservatory of Music began developing an Inclusive Programming Policy. Wanting to go beyond diversifying our concert programs, I began to explore the creation of a new choral work. This led to the commissioning of poet Samiya Bashir, and composer Joel Thompson, who together collaborated on the creation of “Dark Matters.” Dark Matters, a seven-minute work for choir and piano. Layered with meaning, the text and music of Dark Matters go straight to the core of a message we deeply need as we seek to make a better world. 
Now — This is the world we made for ourselves and –
Now — This is the world we keep on making and –
Now — maybe it’s time to make something else –
— Samiya Bashir

Program Notes from Samiya Bashir, Poet

Something about not being alone –
About reaching out –
About searching for connection.
There is stillness and a reaching for stillness.
There is a seeking of the self – for connection there too.
“Some days insist on small miracles.” 
Some notes. Some songs. Insist. 
Remind. Recall.
I often wonder about all of the social skills I lost during the many long months of lock-down which, for me, was nearly a year of solitude. It was during that time – in the dark quiet of a silent house by the winter sea – that this piece congealed – through which these words reached out to Joel Thompson – around which, against which, Joel answered.
Maybe, I thought, we could dance. 
Maybe, I thought, even dancing alone, we might still, one day, have the chance.
Might even – as I tried, as I practiced – remember how. 
And why. 

Program Notes from Joel Thompson the Composer

Samiya Bashir has masterfully given voice to emotions that sit within the deepest recesses of our souls and, in order to serve her artistry honestly in conversation with my music, I had to really follow her journey into that emotional abyss. I found myself composing this piece in small doses - unable to stay within the piece for too long without spiritual fatigue. Luckily, Bashir's words also invited me to "search the night by lamplight for myself." In doing so, I also found a way out of the oppressive fog of anxiety and doubt, especially when equipped with her words of encouragement: "Some days, the smallest miracle is me." Musically, the piece does rise out of doldrums to express the hope that "maybe we'll dance," but Dark Matters eventually ends as it begins as a reminder that entropy is real and that progress can only occur if we truly prioritize it and actually do the work to change.

Read an interview with the composer in the Capital story: New Artistic Collaborative Centers the Work Needed for a Better World in “Dark Matters”