To Sit and Dream

by Rosephanye Powell

Notes from her website:

Setting the poetry of the same title by Langston Hughes, this text addresses “our problem world” with the hope that those who dare to dream can “make our world anew”. The composer sought to capture, in concert form, the jazz influences harmonically that were such a part of Hughes’ world. She sought to utilize harmonic colors that could be both “dark” (representing “our problem world”) and “bright” (“our world anew”) dependent upon the listener’s perspective. In her mind, the composer imagined Hughes, in his apartment, in solitude, reading the paper, overwhelmed by the realities of America’s present state, yet daring to dream of a better day. Almost in a state of trance, he makes his way to the busy streets of New York, reaching out his hand to passersby–those of like mind who will join him in being a catalyst for positive change. Many respond positively and joyfully to his invitation and begin to reach out to others. This idea is expressed in the last section of the song as parts enter successively singing, “I reach out my hand to you,” then join in one voice. For a few moments, everyone one reaches out to everyone else in love and peace.  In the final phrase of the song “to sit and dream,” Hughes awakens– the newspaper headlines still before him–and resolves that he may never see such a day, except when he sits and dreams.

Singers and audiences, alike, will love this wonderful song that is great for concert, ecumenical and unity services, and any venue where the message of peace and hope are welcome!


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