This Wednesday 25th February The King’s Singers are performing the world premiere of a new a cappella work by Jake Heggie, Stop this day and night with me, as part of the ACDA National Conference in Salt Lake City.

Below Jake discusses how this piece came to be.

“A couple years ago, I was invited to compose the Raymond Brock Commission for the ACDA convention with a request that the text be inspirational and of a spiritual nature. Then I was told that I’d be writing for The King’s Singers. Daunted and inspired, I put out my feelers and came across this powerful text by Walt Whitman: “Stop this day and night with me” from the poem, Song of Myself, featured in Whitman’s larger poetry collection, Leaves of Grass. I’d never set Whitman, but this poem sang to me loudly.

As I’ve made the journey of my life, I’ve been blessed with great friends who have become important mentors and teachers – my angels, I guess. Each of them has seen something in me that I didn’t know was there myself. They have invited me to walk with them, to travel the road a bit together, and because of their goodness, generosity and humanity, I have been able to see a brighter, broader world through their eyes – and as a result, see something bigger and better in myself. This is what our angels do for us: they give us a sense of possibility, stature, trust and empowerment. And they inspire us to become an angel to another.

This is what I wanted to explore in the setting of the Whitman poem. This magical transference of vision – this gift of meaning and illumination that can happen simply through the act of welcoming another in.”

Learn more about this great composer and pianist on his website and if you would like to read the full poem which inspired this composition, visit the Poetry Foundation website.