When Dreams Fly

Rollo Dilworth

With the highest rate of murders per capita in the United States, Wilmington, Delaware has been dubbed “Murdertown USA” by USA Today. As the city struggles with this label, the Cathedral Choir School of Delaware shatters the darkness that lurks about Wilmington.

Though choirs are certainly beneficial for all adolescents, inner-city youth who live in at-risk neighborhoods have even more to gain for from their participation in choral ensembles. The Choir School’s intergenerational model allows the institution to provide mentoring and much-needed support for its choristers.

In February of 2016, the ACDA’s Fund for Tomorrow awarded Delaware ACDA one of its inaugural grants as part of an initiative to shine a light on choirs that effect social change in inner cities. Over the past year and a half, Delaware ACDA (under the leadership of President David Lockart), the Choir School (under the leadership of Arreon Harley), and renowned composer, Dr. Rollo Dilworth have worked together to commission a new work celebrating the impact of choirs serving at-risk populations in inner cities.

David Lockart
Arreon A. Harley

When Dreams Fly, composed by Dr. Dilworth, is a product of conversations between adult and student choristers of the Choir School. When Dreams Fly is choral song cycle comprised of three movements. The first movement is based on the poem “Dreams” by Paul Laurence Dunbar. During the interludes of this movement, the choristers declare their dreams. The second movement, “The Soul of a Butterfly,” sets the text of abolitionist Thomas Wentworth Higginson. The final movement is a setting of the inspirational spiritual, “Let Me Fly.”

In this session, the presenters will discuss the benefits choirs provide for inner-city youth, and they will also address how to build, compose for, and rehearse intergenerational singing communities.

The Cathedral Choir School of Delaware will perform When Dreams Fly.