Of all the incredible blessings and opportunities I have been faced with this year, one stands out in my heart. A dear friend and incredible composer, Michael Lauckner, wrote a piece for me while living in Seattle in 2012. He sent me the music and a demo recording and I immediately fell in love with his tender and moving composition. The text for the piece is a poem by the great Rainer Maria Rilke, a favorite of mine and Mike’s.

When I sang through the piece, even the very first time, I knew it would long be a staple in my performing repertoire. Mike’s vocal writing is sensitive and natural, and the conversation between the voice and piano is nothing short of organic. After premiering this piece and performing it again several times in the past two months, I have discovered a deeper reason why I am so attached to this composition. Never before have I so truly felt the ability to act as a vessel for the music until performing this composition! What a beautiful thing, and what a blessing.

Below are some notes on the composition of this piece, written by Mike. These were included in the program notes of my Senior Voice Recital, which featured the official premiere of Mike’s composition. Next, enjoy a video of a reprise performance of Mike’s piece. The video was taken at one of Western Michigan University’s Music Convocation Recitals, which are hosted twice a semester and present selected performers from the School of Music.

During the fall of 2011, Chelsea handed me a tiny book entitled “Letters to A Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke. Little did she know how powerfully those words would touch my soul, how they would provide a thread of hope during a very difficult time. Unknowingly, Chelsea sent me on a journey with Mr. Rilke, a journey that taught me how to “love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language.” We don’t always have the answers to life’s big questions, and sometimes that spawns an unbearable anxiety. Yet amid the unknown, there comes a point when all you can do is trust in your “wish” and put faith in your “dream.” And instead of fighting for answers, you accept the road that your questions travel upon. It’s not easy, and it’s certainly not perfect… It’s simply a hope that “someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

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