The Catherine Roma Consortium Commission for GALA Festival 2024!
Music: Elizabeth Alexander
Words: Elizabeth Alexander
A note from the composer: I’m currently hard at work on Disenfranchised, a choral piece that takes a straight-on look at the insidious, never-ending cycle of voter suppression. With wit, directness, and a touch of satire, this high-energy song calls out disenfranchisement for what it truly is: a power game with winners and losers, ever-changing rules, and underlying it all, the intent to exclude. This 3-4 minute piece will be available in three different voicings (SATB, SSA, and TBB) designed to facilitate programming with combined, flexibly-voiced and intergenerational choirs. Premiered by consortium choirs during the 2023-2024 concert season, it will receive its big combined choir performance at GALA Festival 2024 in Minneapolis. GALA choirs wishing to participate in this commission may learn more about it here.
Here are some sneak peaks at the lyrics. Some of them seem pretty surreal, which is probably because disenfranchisement itself is pretty surreal! Here are some my current favorite riffs:
The rules are simple. The rules are fun.
The rules are the same for everyone:
Don’t be homeless, on parole,
Need translation at the poll,
Need time off or need a ride,
Or need a helper by your side.
Don’t be purged or relocated,
Have a poll too far away
Or need to vote a different day.
I’m also in love with this little three-line fragment:
Take yourself a little gander,
Oops, you’re in a gerrymander!
Now you’re just a mere bystander.
My other current fave lyric is a strong contender for my final lyric. You can see why:
It’s all about how the lines are drawn
By the hands of the upper echelon.
It’s a shame but you’re a pawn,
And your vote is going, going, going, going, going, going…gone.
Thanks for taking an interest in my process! No one can have too many cheerleaders. 🙂 I’ll post more later.
Disenfranchised combines my love of musical wit, human dignity, and honest examinations of ourselves, as also reflected in these songs: