Monday, September 17, 2012

Celebrating The Bill Of Rights, In Song

Yelena Samofalova /

Singers take the stage to perform composer Neely Bruce's "Bill of Rights" at Faneuil Hall in Boston Sunday.

By Kiernan Majerus-Collins
BOSTON, Massachusetts, U.S.A. – The Bill of Rights: Ten Amendments in Eight Motets has come a long way since Wesleyan University Professor Neely Bruce penned the piece seven years ago.
One hundred and seventeen miles, to be exact.
Bruce’s musical setting of the Bill of Rights made its premier performance at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall Sunday, in a celebration of Constitution Day.
Kiernan Majerus-Collins /

Composer Neely Bruce with a program
for the "Bill of Rights" performance 
Sunday at Faneuil Hall
Yelena Samofalova /

Boston's historic Faneuil Hall
“Isn’t it incredible?” said Bruce. “You can feel the history.”
A small chamber orchestra and a large concert choir performed the piece. Towering overhead was a massive painting of Daniel Webster speaking in the Senate, and behind the choir stood busts of John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Daniel Webster.

The program cover for Sunday's performance 
Bruce told the audience that this was a particularly special location—Massachusetts debated and approved the Bill of Rights in this very chamber.
“The historic residue is palpable,” said Bruce. “It’s very exciting.”
Bruce says he plans for the piece to be performed here “every year on the Sunday preceding Constitution Day.”
Here's a short video interview with 23-year-old Lee Fuchs of Cambridge, Mass.,  one of the singers from Sunday's performance at Faneuil Hall: 

This is another short video from the performance itself, the singing of the First Amendment:

Kiernan Majerus-Collins /

Composer Neely Bruce looks 
over the score of his "Bill of Rights" 
YJI reporter Kiernan Majerus-Collins wrote about Bruce, a Wesleyan University music professor, as part of his American Composers series. He wrote specifically about Bruce, about Bruce's work and about him setting The Bill of Rights to music.


Anonymous said...

Best flute playing I've ever heard!

Anonymous said...

Best Flutist I've ever heard!!!