Gone From My Sight
Listen to a performance by the Plymouth (NH) Regional High School Concert Choir, William Gunn, conductor:
- Score and part: $1.50 (for reproduction rights; minimum purchase of 10 required; additional charge for hard copies)
- For SATB chorus and piano
- Secular text (setting of text about loss and survival popularly attributed to Henry Van Dyke)
- Difficulty rating (1-5): 2
- View a PDF score excerpt
- Purchase, request full review copy or more information, etc.
- Commissioned and premiered by the Plymouth (NH) Regional High School Concert Choir, William Gunn, conductor.
I was working with Will Gunn, music director at Plymouth Regional High School, on the idea of a commissioned work for his choral ensembles when tragedy struck the program—a beloved student in the program took his own life. Will and I immediately began talking about ways that the new work could help his students through the grieving and healing process. Will suggested a text that one of the guidance counselors at PRHS had shared with students—“Gone From My Sight”—and I immediately agreed. This text by Luther F. Beecher has become well known for the comfort it’s provided to survivors of loss; setting it, and working with Will’s students before the premiere, was an honor and privilege.
Gone from My Sight
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then, someone at my side says, 'There, she is gone'
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me—not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, 'There, she is gone,'
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, 'Here she comes!'
And that is dying...
Death comes in its own time, in its own way.
Death is as unique as the individual experiencing it.
—Luther F. Beecher (1813–1903)
Key words: choral, full chorus, choir, high school, community, secular, sacred, death, mourning, sadness, love, loss, hope, music, modern, contemporary, classical, composition, music in the schools, living composer, commissioned