The Music of Elizabeth Alexander

Trust the Seeds

A meditation seed-planting, patience and faith

Words by Elizabeth Alexander

A meditation on the faith demonstrated by planting seeds, whether they be the “garden variety” or the seeds of life. Appropriate for worship or concert settings in any season of the year.

Instrumentation of orchestral version: SATB, orchestra (1100,0000,hp,strings)

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Composer Notes

Composer Notes

I wrote Trust the Seeds while my preschool children were in daycare. I felt vaguely guilty about that at the time, for shouldn’t I have been spending time with my children rather than composing music about them? As I look back on my unease now I see how unnecessary it was, for not only did my sons adore frolicking with their friends three mornings each week, but writing music was what kept me grounded so that I could happily frolic with them the rest of the time.

As a composer I was still floundering about looking for a grand, elusive thing called “voice.” I was also trying to figure out how to be a professional composer, and while that was elusive too, there was one thing I did know. If anyone was ever going to take me seriously my music needed to invite adjectives such as “formidable,” “visionary,” and “epic.” There was nothing “epic” about Trust the Seeds.

A few years later when I put together my first ever choral music catalog, it was with some hesitation that I included Trust the Seeds at all. But what the heck. There was room on page five for one more piece. I figured it might receive a few minor performances here and there. As it turned out, it became my best selling song for several years, and I even received a commission to create an orchestral version of it. This little chorale actually was part of my “voice” – something its lyrics were trying to tell me all along.

Text

Trust the Seeds

Trust the seeds, although they lie in darkness,
Stirring beyond your watchful eye.
Though they may not flower as you dreamed they would,
When the planting’s over you must trust the seeds.

Some soon bloom to fill your heart with wonder,
Some only after you are gone,
You must give them freedom to grow as they should.
Give them room to spread their roots, and trust the seeds.

In your heart, you know that some may wither,
All you can do is hope and pray.
Some will rise up grander than you dreamed they could.
There is joy in planting if you trust the seeds.

Elizabeth Alexander
© 1995 by Elizabeth Alexander

Performers

Performers

SATB, orchestra
Premiere: CitySingers of Hartford / Suzanne Gates (West Hartford, CT)

SATB, chamber ensemble
Premiere: Sherwood High School Chamber Singers / Bill Evans (Sandy Spring, MD)
Choir of Towson Unitarian Universalist Church / Joseph Gascho (Lutherville, MD)
Choir of Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford, IL / Tim Anderson (Rockford, IL)
Lesbian and Gay Chorus of Washington D.C. / C Paul Heins (Arlington, VA)
Maryland Choral Society / Jason Gottshall (Fort Washington, MD)

SATB a cappella
Premiere: Unitarian Church Choir of Lincoln / Sheila Brown (Lincoln, NE)
ACDA Voices United 2002 Festival Chorus / Paul Rardin (Washington, DC)
Arizona Unitarian Universalist Choral Festival / Elizabeth Alexander (Chandler, AZ)
Berks Classical Children’s Chorus “Mastersingers” / Jodi Rinehimer (Orefield, PA)
Brocton Tri-Church Choir / Lucy Andrus (Brockton, NY)
Chapel Choir of Eliot Unitarian Chapel / Leon Burke III (Kirkwood, MO)
Choir of All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church / Barbara Weeks (Greenfield, MA)
Choir of Arlington Street Church / Mark Buckles (Boston, MA)
Choir of Brookfield Unitarian Universalist Church / Lila Farrar (Brookfield, MA)
Choir of Davies Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church / Dixon Redditt. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration (Camp Spring, MD)
Choir of First Parish in Concord / Beth Norton (Concord, MN)
Choir of First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh / Ellen Gozion (Pittsburgh, PA)
Choir of First Unitarian Church of Rochester, NY / Thomas Snell (Rochester, NY)
Choir of First Unitarian Church of San Jose (San Jose, CA)
Choir of First Unitarian Society of Ithaca / Jennifer Lawrence Birnbaum (Ithaca, NY)
Choir of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Rochester, MN / Joe Mish (Rochester, MN)
Choir of Foothills Unitarian Church / David King (Ft. Collins, CO)
Choir of Harvard Memorial Chapel / Carson Coomans (Cambridge, MA)
Choir of Kingston Unitarian Fellowship / Phyllis Robbins (Kingston, Ontario CANADA)
Choir of May Memorial Church / Glenn Kime (Syracuse, NY)
Choir of Melrose UU Church / Tara Tresner-Kirsch (Melrose, MA)
Choir of Open Circle Unitarian Universalist / Sarah Watts (Boulder, CO)
Choir of Unitarian Church of Charleston / Martha Welch (Charleston, SC)
Choir of Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford / Tim Anderson (Rockford, IL)
Choir of Unitarian Universalist Church of Wellesley Hills / Tyler Turner (Wellesley Hills, MA)
Choir of Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Milford / Carolyn McCreary (Milford, MA)
Choir of Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Saratoga Springs / Michael Harrison (Saratoga Springs, NY)
Choir of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville / Ruth Lewis (Gainesville, FL)
Choir of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of LaCrosse / Becky Post (La Crosse, WI)
Choir of Unitarian-Universalist Church of Bloomington / Diane Woodruff (Bloomington, IL)
Choir of Unitarian-Universalist Church of Rockford / Kay Hotchkiss (Rockford, IL)
Choir of White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church / Thaxter Cunio (Mahtomedi, MN)
Eastern Mennonite High School Choir / Jay Hartzler (Roanoke, VA)
Fresno Pacific University Choir (Fresno, CA)
Harvard Choral Fellows / Carson Cooman (Cambridge, MA)
Horlick High School Chorale / Ellen Christensen (Racine, WI)
Juneberry Community Chorus / Patricia Norton (Lebanon, NH)
Lackawana Trail High School Choir / Jodi Rinehimer (Factoryville, PA)
Lesbian and Gay Chorus of Washington D.C. / C Paul Heins (College Park, MD)
MPLS (imPulse) / Samual Grace (Minneapolis, MN)
Plymouth Chancel Choir / Mark Heiskanen (Fort Collins, CO)
Sage Chapel Choir / Richard Riley (Ithaca, NY)
Sherwood High School Chamber Singers / Bill Evans (Rockville, MD)
Towson University Chorale / Paul Rardin (Mansfield, PA)
Unitarian Universalist Society of Martha’s Vineyard / Dawn Aberg (Vineyard Haven, MA)
UU Florida District Festival Choir / Ann Hossler (Vero Beach, FL)
William Horlick High School Chorale / Ellen Christensen . Unitarian Universalist Florida District Choral Festival (Racine, WI)
ZONTA International Choir / Wolfgang Ziegler. ZONTA International Fundraiser (Vienna, AUSTRIA)