The Music of Langston Hughes

Freedom’s Plow – SATB divisi


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Product Description

Freedom’s Plow

Festival Choral

Quotes of the beloved spiritual “Hold On” are combined with excerpts from “Freedom’s Plow” by Langston Hughes in this powerful and dramatic work commissioned by the St. Louis Symphony. Themes of the struggle for liberty and justice throughout America and the world make this a magnificent concert closer for festival and community performances with keyboard, bass and drums or the optional orchestral accompaniment! Available separately: SATB divisi, Orchestra score and parts (fl, ob, cl, bn, hn, tpt 1-3, tbn 1-2 [btbn], bells, perc 1-2, vn 1-2, va, vc, db). Duration: ca. 5:00.

  •  Festival Choral
  •  Hal Leonard
  • SATB divisi
  •  Rollo Dilworth, Langston Hughes


  • Choral
  • Drums
  • Electric Bass
  • Percussion

Insights Regarding Langston Hughes “Freedom Plow”

“Freedom’s Plow” is a poem written by Langston Hughes, a prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance and an influential American poet. This poem is a powerful expression of the struggle for freedom and social justice, particularly in the context of African American history. Here are some key lessons and insights that can be drawn from “Freedom’s Plow”:

1. The Struggle for Freedom: The poem emphasizes the enduring struggle for freedom and equality faced by African Americans throughout history. It highlights the idea that this struggle is not a short-term effort but a long and ongoing journey.

2. Collective Effort: Hughes emphasizes the collective nature of the struggle for freedom. He speaks of a “freedom plow” that is worked by generations of people who have fought for justice, suggesting that freedom is not won by individuals but by the efforts of many.

3. Historical Perspective: “Freedom’s Plow” provides a historical perspective on the African American experience, acknowledging the hardships and sacrifices of those who came before and paving the way for future generations.

4. Resilience and Perseverance: The poem celebrates the resilience and perseverance of African Americans in the face of adversity. It suggests that despite the challenges and setbacks, the struggle for freedom continues.

5. Hope and Progress: While acknowledging the difficulties of the journey, Hughes also conveys a sense of hope and progress. The plow is seen as a tool of transformation, symbolizing the work done to bring about positive change.

6. Inclusivity: Hughes’ poem is not limited to the African American experience but speaks to a broader struggle for justice and freedom. It emphasizes the importance of solidarity and inclusivity in the fight for social and political change.

7. The Role of Art and Expression: As a poet, Langston Hughes used his art to address important social and political issues. “Freedom’s Plow” is a testament to the power of literature and poetry as a means of conveying important messages and inspiring change.

8. Continuing the Work: The poem encourages readers to take up the “freedom plow” and continue the work of those who have come before. It serves as a call to action, urging individuals to contribute to the ongoing struggle for justice and equality.

In summary, “Freedom’s Plow” by Langston Hughes is a poignant and inspirational poem that teaches us about the enduring struggle for freedom, the importance of collective action, the resilience of marginalized communities, and the role of art in addressing social and political issues. It serves as a reminder of the ongoing fight for justice and the need for continued efforts to create a more equitable society.

Unlocking the Melodic Journey of Rollo Dilworth: A Maestro of Music and Education

In the harmonious realm of music, there are those whose life stories are intricately woven with melodies, rhythms, and a passion for the art that transcends boundaries. Rollo Dilworth is one such luminary whose journey from the echoes of childhood choirs to the grand stages of international recognition is nothing short of a symphonic odyssey. Join us as we delve into the life and career of this musical virtuoso, exploring his early education, higher learning, professional milestones, and the profound influence that shapes his unique musical style.

Early Education: Where It All Began

Rollo Dilworth’s enchanting voyage into the world of music commenced in his formative years, where he found his heart captivated by the enchanting melodies echoing through the school and church choirs. At the tender age of 11, a spark of curiosity ignited within him as he began experimenting with alternate pitches and rhythms, breathing life into the music he encountered. It was during this pivotal phase that his elementary music teacher recognized his burgeoning talent and encouraged his exploration, marking the genesis of his enduring love for arranging music. Simultaneously, young Rollo embarked on a journey of music theory and piano studies, further fueling his musical aspirations. Throughout his high school years, his conviction grew stronger, and the path forward became evident – he was destined to pursue music as a career, setting the stage for a lifetime of musical brilliance.

Higher Education: Nurturing the Musical Genius

With unwavering determination to realize his musical ambitions, Rollo Dilworth embarked on a path of higher education, enrolling at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio. Here, his passion for music flourished as he continued to hone his voice and piano skills, eventually earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education. In pursuit of a more profound musical journey, he dedicated a year to teaching elementary school music while simultaneously pursuing a master’s degree in secondary education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. During this transformative period, Dilworth had the privilege of learning composition and arranging skills from none other than his long-time musical idol, Robert Ray. In 1994, he proudly attained his master’s degree, solidifying his expertise in the world of music education.

A Prolific Career Unfolds

Rollo Dilworth’s career trajectory has been nothing short of illustrious. From 1996 to 2009, he served as the director of the music education and choral programs at North Park University in Chicago, Illinois. It was during this tenure that his exceptional talent attracted the attention of major publishing houses Colla Voce and Hal Leonard, both offering him coveted publishing contracts in 1998. Since that pivotal moment, Dilworth’s creative genius has seen over 150 of his works published, cementing his status as a prolific composer. His contributions extend to the Choir Builders series of choral textbooks and the esteemed music magazine Music Express, both published by Hal Leonard.

Dilworth’s impact on the world of academia and music is underscored by the 2003 Zenos Hawkinson Award for Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership, bestowed upon him by North Park University. This recognition not only affirmed his dedication but also heralded his exceptional contributions to the world of music education. Following his tenure at North Park University, Dilworth embarked on a new chapter as a professor of music at Temple University in Pennsylvania. His role as chair of the Music Education and Music Therapy department further solidified his place as a leading authority in the field. In 2017, he was bestowed with the Temple University Faculty Award for Research and Creative Achievement, an accolade that celebrated his unwavering commitment to musical exploration and education.

Harmonizing Faith and Art: The Bernstein Project

In a testament to his artistry and versatility, Rollo Dilworth was commissioned, alongside other esteemed composers, to rework Leonard Bernstein’s Mass by Nolan Williams, Jr. The project sought to capture the essence of faith and the profound experiences of belief and doubt. Dilworth’s contribution to this endeavor culminated in a stunning new piece that premiered at Philadelphia’s Monumental Baptist Church in August 2018. This project not only showcased his ability to breathe new life into classical compositions but also reaffirmed his status as a dynamic force in the contemporary music scene[.

A Unique Musical Style and Influences

Rollo Dilworth’s musical palette is a tapestry woven with threads of classical influences and the rich tapestry of African-American folk music. While he holds classical icons like Beethoven and Chopin close to his heart, it is the Gospel and Spiritual composers, such as Robert Ray and Moses Hogan, who have left an indelible mark on his compositional style. This fusion of genres and traditions creates a distinctive and evocative musical language that resonates with audiences worldwide. Furthermore, Dilworth draws inspiration from the rich tradition of African-American literature, with a particular affinity for the works of Langston Hughes and Paul Laurence Dunbar. His compositions often find their essence in the words of these literary giants, bringing their poetry to life through the medium of music[^9^].

In conclusion, Rollo Dilworth’s journey through the world of music and education is a testament to the power of passion, dedication, and the transformative influence of art. His contributions to the world of music education, composition, and performance have left an indelible mark, enriching the lives of countless individuals and communities. As his melodies continue to resonate, his story serves as an inspiration to aspiring musicians and educators, a reminder that with unwavering commitment and an enduring love for the craft, one can truly create harmonious magic in the world of music.

As we navigate the symphony of Rollo Dilworth’s life, we are reminded that his story is far from over. With each note he composes, each student he inspires, and each audience he enchants, he continues to shape the musical landscape, leaving an indelible legacy that will echo through the ages.

Freedom’s Plow – SATB divisi Product Details

  •  #HL 00114463
  •  884088872663
  •  6.75″
  •  10.5″
  •  32 Pages


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SKU: 114463 Categories: , ,


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The Music of Langston Hughes

Inspired by his messages of justice, freedom, and the hope that a brighter future lies ahead, notable composers and arrangers have beautifully coupled Langston Hughes' passionate words with equally captivating music.

About This Website

This Music of Langston Hughes website has been developed by the Fred Bock Publishing Group.

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