This Was Done to Us (2019) for divided SATB and Piano [7']
In the 1980s, AIDS ripped through the LGBTQ+ communities in the US and around the world. During the first years of the pandemic, the US government treated the disease that was killing many vulnerable people as a joke. Many medical authorities and the media followed suit and cheered on the deaths of queer people. Popular memory treats the massive amount of human suffering wrought by the deliberate choices of those in power instead as a tragic accident. This did not happen to us; this was done to us.
This Was Done to Us begins with staccato chords and a linear melody in the accompaniment before the choir enters on unison: “The defense they have raised is a blatant lie: This was done to us.” The staccato chords give way to forlorn chords and the words “Surely they knew their words would kill us.” The initial melody and staccato chords return, and the choir takes up the staccato chords with the refrain: “This was done to us.” This is repeated over and again until the choir works itself into a frenzy. After, the choir enters in counterpoint to say, “The words of the past are set in stone: ‘Why should we care?’” The staccato chords return, this time with a soloist singing the melody: “They believed we would be exterminated; let us tell of their crimes.” The full choir returns in an explosive and dissonant final cadence: “This was done to us.”
This piece has not yet been recorded or performed. Text is in English by the composer.