When did we see you?
Commissioned by SDG Music Foundation and premiered by Cor Cantiamo, Eric A. Johnson, conductor. Dedicated to Dr. Richard G. Gieser on the occasion of his 80th birthday, and in recognition of his lifelong and worldwide mission to bring light to those in darkness.
“Homeless children in the streets of Kosovo”
Date Created: 1 May 2012
Date Accessed: 1 Oct 2017
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Eric Johnson and I had been talking for a number of years about the possibility of writing a new work for his excellent professional ensemble, Cor Cantiamo. With the support of the SDG Music Foundation, we finally had the chance to create a new work that honors not only this exceptional chorus, but also the humanitarian work of Dr. Richard Gieser, lifetime director and chairman emeritus of Soli Deo Gloria’s Board of Directors. He has received many honors, including Outstanding Humanitarian Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Humanitarian of the Year from Baylor University College of Medicine, for his dedicated work as an ophthalmologist around the world.
It is no exaggeration to proclaim that Dr. Richard Gieser’s volunteer work in countries has allowed the blind to see. It is in that spirit that I have adapted the text at hand from the Gospel of Matthew to emphasize the act of seeing. The text is ideal because of it mirrors perfectly the ethos behind Dick’s life work.
When did we see you? is a work about the difference one can make by caring for those in need, and about the divinity inherent in every human. My music borrows from the tradition of the blues, with all of the scales, the call-and-response textures, and the 12-bar form that make the genre so resonant. In this setting, the soprano sings the words of God, calling the faithful to communion, while the chorus is a first-doubtful but soon-affirmative group of believers.
I dedicate this work fondly to Dr. Richard Gieser and the countless lives he has touched through his humanitarian aid, his generosity of spirit and his radiant joy.
-- Dominick DiOrio
Come, share with me in the kingdom prepared for you
since the creation of the world.
For I was hungry and you fed me;
For I was thirsty and you provided for me;
For I was a stranger and you made room for me;
For I was naked and you clothed me;
For I was sick and you cared for me;
For I was in prison and you came to visit me.
When did we see you hungry and feed you?
When did we see you thirsty and provide for you?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you?
When did we see you naked and clothe you?
When did we see you sick and care for you?
When did we see you in prison and come to visit you?
My children, I tell you:
Whenever you saw my brothers and sisters in need and helped them, you did also for me.
Come, share with me in the joy of eternal life.