Some time ago, I was invited to collaborate on a project in which a choral society (Feltham Choral Society in West London) collaborated with local schools in getting schoolchildren to write poetry about their ‘hopes and dreams for the future’. Some of these children subsequently formed the nucleus of a children’s choir, joining the SATB choir to perform my cantata ‘This is our World’ including settings of some of these young people’s ideas.
This piece, Running for the Future is the result – in its original form, in the cantata, it was for childrens’ choir and SATB choir, (with small orchestra or piano, duet or solo) but later on I made this slightly shortened version for just young people’s choir with piano. In this form it was taken up by the ground-breaking Scunthorpe Co-operative Junior Choir, and others.
The piece begins:
Running a race for the future:
Setting the pace for a new world:
A time of new hope,
A time to begin again.
And as the song continues it is clear that the vision of these young people (who will now be in their 30s) were firmly focussed on the same hopes for the future as we have today:
My hope and dream is that one day there’ll be no more war:
My hope and dream is that one day there’ll be no more hate:
My hope and dream is that one day there’ll be no pollution, the world will be clean,
That is my dream.
My aim in setting these evocative words was to capture the athletic focus of the music (as well as running, subsequent verses refer to jumping, football and team games), so I mirrored the ‘breathless’ feeling of these activities with a four-note tag starting after the beat, contrasting with a smoothly flowing imitative melody for the ‘My hope and dream’ section.
The original cantata was first performed in 2000, and let’s hope that the dreams of these young people will bear fruition for the sake of their children and grandchildren!