UCF choirs return with an eclectic program of music and instruments centered on the theme of building bridges.

Generously supported by OUC—The Reliable One®

FREE with UCF I.D. or if 18 & under if reserved by April 5 at 5 p.m.!

UCF choirs return with an eclectic program of music centered on the theme of building bridges. The program concludes with the Florida premiere of Lou Harrison’s La Koro Sutro, a setting in Esperanto of the Buddhist Heart Sutra for chorus and gamelan, a colorful collection of percussion instruments. The joyful clanging of the last words “Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha!” translate to “gone (or ferried) with everyone to the other shore right now!”


Combined Choirs

Bridge Over Troubled Waters Paul Simon, arr. Kirby Shaw


Chamber Singers

La Passeggiatta Gioachino Rossini (1792 – 1868)

La Passeggiata describes young lovers on an evening stroll in Venice, the city of bridges. Their hearts full with anticipation… a storm over the lagoon… the moon appears… they sing their songs of love.


The Bridge Builder Don Macdonald

An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”

The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!” (Will Allen Dromgoole)


A Bridge of Peace Gwyneth Walker

“They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid.” (The Bible, Micah 4.4) “He who walks in peace, walk with him.” (The Koran, Sura 48)


My Palestinian sister, daughter of Abraham,
Let us build a sturdy bridge
From my orange world to yours,
From your olive world to mine,
Above the boiling pain of acid rain –
And hold human hands high
Full of free stars of twinkling peace.

I do not want to be your oppressor
You do not want to be my oppressor,
Or your jailer, or my jailer,
We do not want to make each other afraid
Under our vines and under our fig trees
Blossoming on a silvered horizon
Above the bruising and the bleeding
Of poisoned gases and scuds.
So, my Arab sister, let us build a strong
Bridge of jasmine understanding
Where each shall sit with her baby
Under her vine and under her fig tree.
And none shall make them afraid.
And none shall make them afraid (Ada Aharoni)

This song of hope speaks of building a bridge of peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. They are all children of Abraham who do not want to be each other’s oppressors. Their trees (Jaffa Orange in Israel, Olive on Arab lands) reach out their branches as hands across the sky.


Mirabilis Alex Burtzos

Premiere performance

Mirabilis means amazing and wondrous. There is something simple, yet amazing and wondrous, about the final line of text, “See, I have written you on the walls of the city”, something that endures the days and weeks and years after the event of the towers, something that brings you alive to me, something that bridges my world and yours.

You are alive.
The words clung to the side of the wall,
A statement of desperate belief,
That she might come walking –
And who knew –
Out of the rubble,
A year of miracle and wonders.

I will never forget you.

See, I have written you
On the walls of the city.

–after graffiti on a wall near the ruins of the World Trade Center

Based on “Annus Mirabilis” by Chrissy Kolaya, UCF English faculty poet.

Alex Burtzos is on the music faculty of the School of Performing Arts.


Women’s Chorus


Homeland Z. Randall Stroope

Also known as “Jupiter’s Theme” from Gustav Holst’s The Planets, this patriotic British song was sung at the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, and tragically, also at her funeral at the request of her sons. Its inherent noble character and seeming timelessness have made this work deeply ingrained in the minds and hearts of people everywhere. (Z. Randall Stroope)

K’Ayal Ta’ arr. by Nick Page

As the deer longs for the stream, so my soul longs for Thee. ~Psalm 42


Heart, We Will Forget Him! James Q. Mulholland

The poem, Heart, we will forget him!, explains the after effects of the unrequited love. The afflicted lover is going through pain and depression that shatters the emotional balance one needs to have in life. The intensity of emotion is the strength of an effect, thus the affected heart bridges the changes and effects of life. The poem illustrates the state of the heart and the responses of the changing emotions. Emily Dickson was one of the best lyric poets. She was an intelligent writer, wise with her words and was gifted with the ability to interpret human passion intensely. Emily was a reclusive poet who lived in physical isolation, yet observed nature and the world so keenly that her rich and diverse symbolic fantasies and scriptures made her a towering figure of American Literature. (Mewish Khawaja)


La Danza Gioachino Rossini arr. James Q. Mulholland

Already the moon sets into the sea, my goodness, she’ll jump right in;
The hour is pleasant for dancing, and no one will want to miss.

Swiftly dancing round and round, my dears come to me,
See a handsome smiling fellow willing to dance with everyone one.

Jump, jump, turn and turn, every couple circling round,
Back and forth, over again and return to where you began.

Hooray for dancing round and round, this is the greatest pleasure on earth,
And the dearest passion! Mamma mia, my goodness!


Music Down In My Soul, African-American Spiritual arr. Moses Hogan


Always Keep This Close Zachary J. Moore

The text for Always Keep This Close was written specifically for a Women’s Choir. The poet, Colleen Carhuff wrote it in the form she knows best: as if she is speaking directly to someone. This piece has deeply impacted the women of the UCF Women’s Chorus and become a special bridge through challenging times.


University Chorus


Kyrie (Mass to St. Anthony) Lou Harrison (1917 – 2003)

Lou Harrison conceived the opening Kyrie of the Mass to St. Anthony on September 1, 1939, the day Hitler marched into Poland. It was to be a “kind of war cry… a cry for mercy… set very sternly and shocking.”

Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy

Dr. NoraLee Garcia, piccolo


La Koro Sutro Lou Harrison

Florida premiere

An adaptation of the tradition Buddhist Heart Sutra, in Esperanto, English translation by Bruce N. Kennedy.

La Koro Sutro is a joyful clanging of pentatonic modalities, layered textures and colorful timbres, set against unison chorus chanting of possibly the best known text of Mahayana Buddhism, said to be “the pure distillation of wisdom” (prajna).

Emptiness is a foundational doctrine of Mahayana Buddhism and perhaps the most misunderstood doctrine in all of Buddhism.  His Holiness the 14th Dailai Lama said, “The existence of things and events is not in dispute; it is the manner in which they exist that must be clarified.” He goes further to say that “existence can only be understood in terms of dependent origination.” Dependent origination is a teaching that no being or thing exists independently of other beings or things. The Buddha taught that our distresses ultimately spring from thinking ourselves to be independently existing beings with an intrinsic “self.” Thoroughly perceiving that this intrinsic self is a delusion liberates us from suffering. The liberation from suffering, “crossing the bridge”, “gone to the other shore”, is enlightenment, awakening.

Kunsonoro Kaj Gloro

Kunsonoro kaj Gloro Om. Gloron al la Beata Saĝo Pluirinta.

Chime and Glory Om. Homage to the Blessed, Noble Perfect Wisdom.

1st Paragrafo

La Avalokiteŝvara nobla, Bodhisatvo, moviĝinte en praktiko de la Saĝo Pluirinta, vidis ke malplenas laŭnature la kvin agregatoj.

Avalokiteshvara, the noble Bodhisattva, when engaging in the practice of the Transcendental Wisdom, saw that in their nature all Five Aggregates are void and empty.

2nd Paragrafo

Jen, ho Ŝariputro, form’ malplenas, kaj malpleno formas mem; malplen’ je formo ne disiĝas, formo ne disiĝas je malpleno. Kio formas ajn, malplenas tio; kio ajn malplenas, formas tio. Same sento kaj percepto, la impulsoj kaj konscio.

Here, O Shariputra, form is empty, and the void is form itself; from void to form is no distinction, form is not distinct from voidness. That which form has, that is empty also; that which empty is, itself has form. The same is true of feeling and perception, the impulses and conscious.

3rd Paragrafo

Jen, ho Ŝariputro, ĉiuj Darmoj havas signon de malpleno; ili ne kaŭziĝas, ne haltiĝas; ne malpuras, ne puriĝas; ne mankemas, ne kompletas.

Here, O Shariputra, all the Dharmas have the markings of the voidness; they have no causation, no cessation; neither tainted, nor yet spotless; neither lacking, nor completed.

4th Paragrafo

Tial, Ŝariputro, en malpleno estas ne la formo, ne la sento, ne percepto, ne impulsoj, ne konscio; ne okul’, orelo, nazo, lango, korpo, menso; ne la formo, son’, odoro, gusto, tuŝo, penso; ne vidaĵo, tiel plu ĝis ne mensaĵo; ne malklero, ne malkle’forigo kaj plu tiel ĝis ne maljuniĝ’morto; ne la maljuniĝforigo, mortforigo; ne la suferado, devenado, haltigado, vojo; ne kompreno, ne atingo, neatingo.

Therefore, O Shariputra, in the voidness there is neither form, nor yet sensation, no perception, no impulses, no awareness; nor the eye, the ear, the nose, the tongue, the body, mind; nor yet a shape, a sound, a smell, a taste, a touch, a thought; no seeing-object, thus until no thinking-object; ignorance none, nor ignorance’s extinction; and so forth until no growing old, no death; no growing-old’s prevention, death’s prevention; neither suffering, origination, stopping, nor a pathway; no cognition, no attainment, nor a non-attainment.

5th Paragrafo

Tial, Ŝariputro, Bodhisatvo vivas. Pro neatingo kaj fidinte al la Saĝo Pluirinta, Bodhisatvo senbara koro vivas. Li, senbaran koron posedante, sentimulo kaj falsecvenkinto. Fine Nirvan’ subteniĝinto.

Now, therefore, O Shariputra, Bodhisattva dwells. Not aiming at attainment and relying on the Wisdom Gone Beyond, a Bodhisattva dwells with spirit unobstructed. He, with unobstructed spirit dwelling, unperturbed he overcomes all hindrance; by Nirvana is his last upholding.

6th Paragrafo

Ĉiuj Budhoj triepokdevenaj, la fidintaj al la Saĝo Pluirinta, plenvekiĝas al la Plej Perfekta Ilumino.

All the Buddhas of the three world-ages, having placed their faith in Transcendental Wisdom, full awake are they to Perfect Great Illumination.

7th Paragrafo

Sciu, do: la Saĝo Pluirinta estas eminenta mantro, grandascia mantro, la plej alta mantro, senkompara mantro, mildigil’ de ĉia suferado, senfalseca vero! Per la Saĝo Pluirinta jen la mantro eldiriĝas:

Know then this: the Transcendental Wisdom is a mantram of true greatness, mantram of great knowledge, yea the utmost mantram, mantram without equal, remedy for every ill arising, truth, no deviation! By the Transcendental Wisdom has the mantram been delivered:

Mantro Kaj Kunsonoro

Mantro kaj Kunsonoro Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi, svaha!

Mantram and Chime Going, going, yonder going, going on beyond, awake, all hail!


* * * * *

About the instruments

In the late 1960s, Lou Harrison and his partner William Colvig formed a Chinese music ensemble, and gave many concerts throughout California. During a concert in San Francisco, they added an Indian instrument once used in China, called a jaltarang, a set of porcelain rice bowls tuned with different amounts of water and played on the rim with small bamboo sticks. Prior to the concert, they tuned the bowls, using an eyedropper because Lou’s hearing was so acute. Colvig tell what happened next:

“When we had them sounding quite beautiful we put Saran Wrap over the top and went out for a nice Chinese dinner. We came back, took the Saran Wrap off, and played the piece. But the bowls went ‘funk.’ There was no ‘ping’ at all. 

They did not realize that water standing in a bowl releases gas bubbles that, if not allowed to evaporate, form an insulting layer between the water and the bowl that inhibits the resonance.

When they got home, Lou was frustrated, because he was very interested in composing in this particular tuning: a D major Just Intonation scale called Ptolemy’s Diatonic Syntonon, or “stretched diatonic.”

“Make me some instruments that will not change pitch,” he instructed Colvig. “And make them sonorous like a gamelan.” He did not say “make a gamelan.” Although he knew what one was, he had spent more time studying the music of China and Korea.

Colvig thought it unlikely that steel and aluminum pipe, once cut and tuned precisely, would change pitch, so he designed a complete ensemble made of metal pipes and resonators beneath large aluminum keys.

They didn’t plan to call it a gamelan. It bore some similarity in timbre and technique, so Colvig decided to say they had built their own “American gamelan” in order to distinguish it from the original.

That is how this set of specifically tuned percussion instruments came to be called a gamelan, and the term continued to be used in the only three pieces Harrison was to write for this ensemble: a puppet opera called “Young Caesar”(1971),  “La Koro Sutro” (1972),  and finally “Suite for Violin and American Gamelan” in 1974.

In 1976, Lou began to study with the Javanese gamelan master known as Pak Cokro, and his teaching assistant, Jody Diamond. He never composed for Old Granddad again, but went on to build two complete Javanese-style ensembles for which he composed 86 pieces. Gamelan Si Darius/Si Madeleine is at Mills College in California, and the largest, Gamelan Si Betty, was bequeathed to Jody Diamond.

The American gamelan pieces were played often, and the instruments showed the effects of excessive travel, from being stuffed into their Volkswagen van to being stowed in the luggage compartment of a Greyhound bus to a trans-Pacific flight to Japan. Eventually, they were so road-worn that Harrison and Colvig nicknamed the ensemble “Old Granddad.”

In 1994, Harrison was invited to a music festival in Moab, Utah, where he met the  instrument builder Richard Cooke, whose creations were so similar to Old Granddad that Harrison asked him to make a second ensemble; OGD #2 went to UC Santa Cruz. Cooke then made one for himself, which he lent to a composer friend. The Boston Modern Orchestra project ordered #4, and then sold it to Jody Diamond, Lou’s Harrison’s Javanese gamelan teacher and orchestrator.

With each successive set, Cooke made improvements to the instruments, so the one you are hearing tonight is the most beautiful Harrison/Colvig American gamelan in the world.

—Jody Diamond, Director, American Gamelan Institute

Harrison describes the “American” gamelan that he and William Colvig built for this work as a “happy hybrid of pipes and slabs and metal resonators and rubber mountings for the pipes and wooden stands to hold everything up”.  It is tuned in just intonation D major and “is wonderful to sing with because the instruments are exactly right.”


Women’s Chorus

Kelly A. Miller, conductor
Robin Jensen, pianist

Soprano I
DeAhna Baldi, Arianna Bounds, Angelica Bryan, Caralyn Clark, Melissa Derison, Melanie Fesmire, Carleigh Heriaud, Flannery Hurley, Kathleen Kilcommons, Elizabeth Lockwood, Kayla Lodge, Avery Norman, Jacqueline O’Brien, Alyssa Parker, Kiana Pimental, Amber Reda, Avery Richards, Niki Schoop, Allyson Sherron, Karen Watson, Chloe Ziler

Soprano II
Elizabeth Bettis, Jessica Griggs, Christian Jackson, Rachel Leete, Jessica Lann, Olivia Nunziante, Heather Reid, Lydia Rodgers, Jet Stephens, Sydnie Sterk, Amanda Tobin, Kelsey Trent, Melissa Vargas, Taylor Whiteman

Alto I
Anneliese Banks, Emily Beale, Catherine Bouchereau, Leah Hernandez, Sophia Kennedy, Oriana Muñoz, Veronica Nguyen, Gabrielle Santos, Reide Smith, Lindsey Wright

Alto II
Brianna Asis, Katia Bitar, Dinah Douge, Kit Emery, Chloe Gaber, Christina Lang, Nic Loftin, Lucy Senseman, Ashley Sierra, Valeria Villalpando


Chamber Singers

David L. Brunner, conductor
Robin Jensen, pianist

Sarah Beth Brickeen, Elizabeth Glavin, Katheryn Morrisey, Mairead O’Rourke

Linsey Duca, Emily Gensch, Victoria Lane, Zoemar Lebron, Lauren Smedberg

Nicholas Contessa, Matthew Fackler

Pierce Connell, José Lopez, Quinn McCardie


University Chorus

David L. Brunner, conductor
Robin Jensen, pianist

Allison Binko, Giselle Beuscher, Sarah Beth Brickeen, Olivia Browdy, Alyssa Cassidy, Linsey Duca, Stephanie Eugster, Olivia Figh, Elizabeth Glavin, Joyce Camille Hernandez, Christian Jackson, Victoria Lane, Nicole Leonard, Elizabeth Lockwood, Annalise Mendez, Carly Meyer, Zaria Modeste, Meaghan  ’Berry, Mairead O’Rourke, Avery Richards, Keila Rodriguez Gonzalez, Marisol Santander, Allyson Sherron, Jenna Toler

Maggie Calderon, Lydia Castillo, Maricel Cumbo, Jenna Derrenbacker, Emily Gensch, Maggie Gifford, Deanna L. Giron, Lisamarie Guadalupe, Leah Hernandez, Ariana Joloya, Charlotte Kreibich, Zoemar Lebron, Gayssie Lugo, Christina Machado, Shavon Massey, Meghan McQueeney, Tiffany Munshi, Melanie Niarhos, Kelli Norkas, Melanie Soto, Lauren Smedberg, Meghan Smith, Elizabeth Warner, Lilia Watson

Armani Adames, Alex Bilka, Nicholas Contessa, Peter DeVita, Sanju Ebanks, Marcus Kester, Mitchell Klavins, Christopher Ludwig, Norman McCorvey, John Michael Ortiz, Seth Pecore, Calvin Sands, Hayes Ubillos, Ben Watson, Yuting Zhang

Thomas Brodrecht, Pierce Connell, Matthew Fackler, David Goodwill, Michael Hanusiak, Carlos Hernandez, David Herzog, Colin Jackson, Bryant Jay, José Lopez, Regin Mantuano, Robert Proben, Dezi H. Rodgers, Taylor Skipper, Andrew Smith, Charlie Tsai