The annual Holidays at Hendricks concert, presented at Syracuse University’s Hendricks Chapel by a collaborative group of performing ensembles, is a sold-out affair every year. This past December’s presentation followed the tradition of including new music by commissioning well known composer Daniel E. Gawthrop to write an anthem which was performed by the combined forces of the Hendricks Chapel Choir, the Syracuse University Singers, the Windjammer Vocal Jazz Ensemble, the Syracuse Vocal Ensemble and the Syracuse University Brass Ensemble with organist Annie Laver. The Longest Night makes use of an original text by Gawthrop’s frequent collaborator Jane Griner.
Dr. Peppie Calvar, Director of the Hendricks Chapel Choir, conducted the premiere of the new work and had this to say about the experience, “I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Gawthrop at the age of twenty-one at what seemed like an impromptu gathering during the North Central ACDA convention in Madison WI, where I happened to be sitting with my then-teacher Paul Oakley, and two of my compositional heroes: Mr. Gawthrop and Moses Hogan. I have always been an aspiring composer, and ever since that meeting, now fifteen years ago, Mr. Gawthrop has never been less than a phone call or email away. When the opportunity arose for me to commission my first work as a choral director, I remembered the many kindnesses Mr. Gawthrop had given me in the past, and thought of him first. Mr. Gawthrop’s piece, The Longest Night was everything for which we could have hoped. The level of difficulty was just right for our choirs, and the music was a sublime portrait of the implicit imagery in the text, with Mr. Gawthrop’s signature sensitivity and detail.
Dunstan House will be publishing The Longest Night in time for Christmas of 2016.