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Finally On My Way To Yes

A gutsy celebration of life's rough lessons
Pesha Gertler
Commissioned by Out Loud Chorus of Ithaca
Winner of the Ithaca College Choral Composition Contest

A gutsy celebration of life’s rough lessons, blending classical, close-harmony and gospel music into a tightly integrated whole.  The song’s sweet and soulful conclusion features prominent solos for one or more singers.

The song features one or more soloists, who may sing the music as written or improvise in a gospel style. The colorful accompaniment, with its syncopated rhythms and metric changes, calls for a versatile and solid pianist.

Item Instrumentation/Voicing Duration Level Audio Peruse Delivery Method (Print vs. Digital) Price Quantity
SEA-019-00 SSATB, piano - Choral Score
7' MA Sheet Music $3.75
SEA-019-00DEL SSATB, piano - Choral Score
7' MA Licensed PDF $3.75
SEA-CD-01 Finally on My Way to Yes - CD
60' CD $7.00

The Healing Time

Poem by Pesha Gertler

Finally on my way to yes
I bump into
all the places
where I said no
to my life
all the untended wounds
the red and purple scars
those hieroglyphs of pain
carved into my skin, my bones,
those coded messages
that send me down
the wrong street
again and again
where I find them
the old wounds
the old misdirections
and I lift them
one by one
close to my heart
and I say       holy

Composer's Note: 

Finally on My Way to Yes changed my own life more than any other single song I’ve ever composed. Pesha Gertler’s short, profound poem – almost a blessing – guided and challenged me into a new musical and emotional language. With ferocity and soulfulness, this song affirms that our lives are something to be cherished, no matter how many missteps and mistakes we have made, even if we have wounded ourselves or others. No one can hear that message often enough.

Everyone I share this poem with sees something different in the “scars” and “coded messages.” Members of the LGBTA choir for whom I composed this song heard their own “coming out” stories in the words. Other performers and listeners have heard the song speaking to their experiences with drug addictions, suicide attempts, self-mutilation, racial identity, and debilitating loss. Clearly, this poem taps into a deep something about what it is to be fully human. If my musical setting enriches Pesha’s healing message in any way, I am grateful for that.

Reviews and Responses: 

"Awesomely fresh music… The solo has freedom of improvisation, and comfort is found in [the] soulful harmonies toward the end."  - Jan Chamberlin, Music Director, Eliot Chapel (Kirkwood, MO)


Premiere: Out Loud Chorus / Shawn Benedict (Ithaca, NY)
Cascadian Chorale / Phillip Tschopp (Bellevue and Seattle, WA)
Choir of Eliot Unitarian Chapel / Leon Burke III (Kirkwood, MO)
Choir of First Congregational Church of Portland, OR / Michael Kelly (Portland, OR)
Choir of First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque / Susan Peck (Albuquerque, NM)
Choir of First Unitarian Church of Portland, OR / Mark Slegers (Portland, OR)
Choir of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville / Jason Shelton (Nashville, TN)
Choir of First Universalist Church of Denver / John Hubert (Denver, CO)
Choir of Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing / Lyle Brown (Lansing, MI)
Choir of Unitarian-Universalist Church of Eugene, OR / Tom Sears (Eugene, OR)
Fine Arts Chorale of Kansas City / Terri Teal (Kansas City, MO)
Gregg Smith Singers / Gregg Smith (Saranac Lake and New York City, NY)
Kenyon Community Choir / Benjamin Locke (Kenyon, OH)
Linn-Benton Community College Concert and Chamber Choirs / Susan Peck (Albany, OR)
Lycoming College Choir / Fred Thayer (Williamsport, PA)
Mixed Voices of Edmondton's Choral Community / Erin Craig. (Edmonton, AL CANADA)
New Wave Singers of Baltimore / Mary Evans (Baltimore, MD)
Philomusica Chorale / Gayle Wieand (Oreland, PA)
University of Washington Chamber Singers / Geoffrey Boers (Seattle, WA)
Vocalpoint / Jennifer Anderson (St. Paul, MN)
Ward Melville High School Camerata / Linda Contino (Ithaca, NY)

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