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Free Madison Choir Concert on 4/25: Dream of the Caged Bird

posted Apr 20, 2017, 12:24 PM by Granger Meador   [ updated Apr 20, 2017, 12:25 PM ]

Bartlesville’s own Madison Middle School Choir is one of eleven school choirs across the United States to premiere the musical arrangement of Maya Angelou’s "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.".  The poem was first published in her book, "Shaker, Why Don't You Sing?" in 1983. This is the first time the Angelou Estate has officially given permission for a composer to set this specific poem to music.

This event will take place on Tuesday, April 25 at 7 p.m. at the Madison Middle School Auditorium at 5900 Baylor Drive in Bartlesville. It is FREE admission and kid-friendly.

This event will include poetry readings by students along with visual presentations, student artwork for sale,  and three choral arrangements concluding with the premiere of composer Braeden Ayres' dynamic and moving arrangement titled, "Dream of the Caged Bird." 

Madison Choir Director Alex Rivera said, “Our students have really taken ownership of this project and taken it to heart. They are thrilled to be presenting this gorgeous setting of Dr. Angelou’s poignant words. Thanks to help from Joanna Childress and Julie Giovannetti, teachers at MMS, we will have a student-led poetry reading and artwork for sale. All proceeds of the art sale will go to Family Crisis Counseling Center here in Bartlesville. I hope community members are able to attend this special event.”

Dr. Maya Angelou was born in 1928 and passed away in 2014. During her life, she wrote multiple autobiographies, novels, books of poetry, television screenplays, movies, and stage plays. She was a singer, director, speaker, an inspirational figure to many, and a key figure in the civil rights movement in America.   

Much of Dr. Angelou’s work deals with her own experience, but she spoke often about the struggles of various minority groups in the U.S., particularly black Americans. Dr. Angelou’s poem, “Caged Bird,” which forms the text of this song, contrasts the fate of two birds: one caged, and one free, and can be seen as her metaphor for the difficulties faced by people of color throughout American history, and her hope and optimism for the future. 
 
The composer, Braeden Ayres, is a composer, conductor, and instructor of vocal music.  He graduated cum laude in 2011 from Baylor University School of Music in Waco, TX with a Bachelor’s of Choral Music Education degree and is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Northern Colorado. His works have premiered at local, state, and international choral festivals. Ayre’s repertoire varies widely, with pieces written especially for the developing voice, high school choirs, and collegiate/professional ensembles.  

You will not want to miss this special evening!   Come join in this Oklahoma Premiere on 4/25 at 7 p.m. at the Madison Middle School Auditorium.
Dream of the Caged Bird

Caged Bird

Related Poem Content Details

A free bird leaps 
on the back of the wind   
and floats downstream   
till the current ends 
and dips his wing 
in the orange sun rays 
and dares to claim the sky. 

But a bird that stalks 
down his narrow cage 
can seldom see through 
his bars of rage 
his wings are clipped and   
his feet are tied 
so he opens his throat to sing. 

The caged bird sings   
with a fearful trill   
of things unknown   
but longed for still   
and his tune is heard   
on the distant hill   
for the caged bird   
sings of freedom. 

The free bird thinks of another breeze 
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees 
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn 
and he names the sky his own 

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams   
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream   
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied   
so he opens his throat to sing. 

The caged bird sings   
with a fearful trill   
of things unknown   
but longed for still   
and his tune is heard   
on the distant hill   
for the caged bird   
sings of freedom.