Before Prayer – Carol Barnett

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Product Type: Digital Download

Format: SATB Score

Choral Scores require a minimum purchase of 5 copies

Composer: Carol Barnett

Text by: Brian Newhouse

Instrumentation: SATB a cappella

Duration: Approx. 3'30 minutes

Date Written:  2023

Commissioned by: Commissioned by Chorus America in honor of Brian S. Newhouse, in gratitude for his service to the choral field.

Composer’s note: Poet Brian Newhouse asks us to widen our contemplative gaze from the personal to the timeless. Beginning with a single-line chant, the music moves through echoing counterpoint into ever more anxious short phrases before opening out into a gentle Db major waltz that urges us to “see all this light,” this timeless beauty.

I have known Brian since the early 1990s when he was a member of the Dale Warland Singers and I was their composer in residence. For many years I have enjoyed hearing his voice on Minnesota Public Radio, and it was a delight to set his own words in this piece with which his long service to choral music is honored by the Unity Church-Unitarian congregation.

– Carol Barnett


Before we kneel,
before we bow and bend
and search in the dark
for words of the heart…

Lifetimes ago
the stars gave you
their kindness:
like a hand
to graze your brow,
to raise your head,
to lay you back
and wash your eyes clean.

Earth ever turns,
past failure, past frost,
past shadow and harm.
Frozen fields break
each spring
and are blessed
in rain, in dawn.

These stars, this sun…
Before you kneel,
before you bow and bend –
see all this light.
-Brian Newhouse

-Brian Newhouse

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