Stephen Schwartz - "Testimony" Song
Testimony Lyrics, Mp3 Download, Background
Broadway and film composer Stephen Schwartz wrote the choral number "Testimony" for a 2012 concert performance by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (www.SFGMC.org.) The song's journey began when Dr. Timothy Seelig, the artistic director for the group, asked permission to perform a concert entirely from Schwartz's catalog of songs from Broadway shows and movies. Schwartz not only approved the concert, but decided to write an original piece for them.
He had previously enjoyed writing multi-part choral harmonies for songs like "Children of Eden" and "In the Beginning" from his musical Children of Eden, and others, as well as a choral piece, "Keramos."
This this new work, he needed a subject and ideas for lyrics. Schwartz told a reporter, "I wanted to do something that was subject matter meaningful to the Chorus itself, to the organization." He ended up working with Dan Savage who, with his partner, had launched the "It Gets Better" project some years earlier. To develop the song, Schwartz watched many of the project's videos and drew phrases and feelings from the book It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living.
This approach was similar to his work on the 1978 Broadway musical Working, for which he and other songwriters drew from Studs Terkel's interviews of workers. About this latest venture, Schwartz has commented, “I liked using the words of the people who contributed to the ‘It Gets Better Project.' So 'Testimony' is quite authentic in terms of what’s being expressed, and then I just set it musically.”
Dr. Tim Seelig says, “In four decades of conducting and commissioning new choral works, ‘Testimony’ is one of the most profound works of choral art I have ever experienced.”
From the book description for "It Gets Better":
Growing up isn't easy. Many young people face daily tormenting and bullying, and this is especially true for LGBT kids and teens. In response to a number of tragic suicides by LGBT students, syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage uploaded a video to YouTube with his partner, Terry Miller. Speaking openly about the bullying they suffered, and how they both went on to lead rewarding adult lives, their video launched the It Gets Better Project YouTube channel and initiated a worldwide phenomenon.
It Gets Better [the book] is a collection of original essays and expanded testimonials written to teens from celebrities, political leaders, and everyday people, because while many LGBT teens can't see a positive future for themselves, we can.
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Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked is the first and only biography of this popular songwriter. The author drew from her eighty hours of interviews with Schwartz, as well as from over 100 interviews with his colleagues, friends, and family members. DefyingGravityTheBook.com - available in paperback and ebook
TESTIMONY By Stephen Schwartz
The text is inspired by the "It Gets Better" project. It was written for the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus performance.
I don’t want to be like this
When they find out
I am impersonating the person I show as me
Every night I ask God to end my life
I don’t want to be like this …
Hang in, hang on
I would have missed
I have been brave
More Choral Music from Stephen Schwartz
Huffington Post story about "Testimony" "Testimony" article by Pollo Del Mar