Unseen Joy

Unseen Joy


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Program note:

Unseen Joy was written in the fall of 2018 after a life changing week of singing with the Ontario Youth Choir under the direction of Jon Washburn. The piece is a setting of a poem by Jon Washburn that describes the magic and honesty of singing with likeminded friends. The piece uses motives, themes, and compositional elements inspired by the music sung by the 2018 Ontario Youth Choir. Unseen Joy was premiered by the Vancouver Chamber Choir in their 2019 “Youth and Music” concert, celebrating Jon’s retirement after a 48-year career with the VCC. It is a fitting piece and text to describe the joy of making music together.

Text: Jon Washburn
Voicing: SATB Divisi
Composed in 2019


Unseen Joy
Jon Washburn

The sound of song,
the purest sound
Voices raised,
so high and true,
so clear – so new


I am amazed!

And there,
the air is fair,
guile forgotten


harmony all ’round,

purest thought,

meaning… found


Transparent air full of unseen joy,

gentle edge of subtle care,

liquid tone which ear can hear,

truest art – voice and heart…


O shiver through me, song!

Sing your part, purest Art!

Find your way – fierce –

into my heart!