The Music of Langston Hughes

Hold Fast to Dreams – SATB


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Product Description

Hold Fast to Dreams

Hinshaw Music

Secular Octavo

André Thomas is one of the worlds most venerated choral conductors and composers. Here, he sets this text by American poet Langston Hughes for mixed voices with piano. Consider the work for Commencement or when celebrating American music month.

“Hold Fast to Dreams” by Langston Hughes…

is often considered a good choice for a graduation or commencement speech for several reasons:

1. Inspirational Message: The poem encourages individuals to hold on to their dreams and aspirations, no matter the challenges they may face. It instills a sense of hope and determination, which is particularly relevant for graduates who are embarking on a new chapter in their lives.

2. Universal Theme: The theme of pursuing one’s dreams is universal and resonates with people of all ages. Graduation is a time when students are filled with hope and ambition, making it a fitting occasion to remind them to follow their dreams.

3. Timeless Wisdom: Langston Hughes’ words are timeless and have a lasting impact. They speak to the enduring human desire to achieve and succeed, making them relevant for generations of graduates.

4. Concise and Memorable: The poem is relatively short and easy to remember, making it suitable for inclusion in a graduation ceremony. Its brevity allows it to convey a powerful message in a concise manner.

5. Celebrating Individuality: “Hold Fast to Dreams” emphasizes the importance of individuality and the unique path that each person must follow to achieve their dreams. This is a valuable message for graduates as they enter a world of diverse opportunities.

6. Literary Significance: Langston Hughes is a renowned poet of the Harlem Renaissance and an influential figure in American literature. Including his work in a graduation ceremony can add a touch of literary significance to the event.

7. Positive Outlook: The poem promotes a positive outlook on the future, which is essential for graduates as they face the uncertainties and challenges of adulthood.

In summary, “Hold Fast to Dreams” is a good choice for a graduation or commencement because it offers a timeless and inspirational message that resonates with graduates as they embark on a new phase of life. It encourages them to remain hopeful and determined in the pursuit of their dreams, making it a fitting addition to the celebratory atmosphere of a graduation ceremony.

Dr. André J. Thomas: A Life of Musical Mastery and Educational Excellence**

Early Life and Education

The journey of Dr. André J. Thomas into the realm of choral music and education was not merely a path taken, but a destiny embraced. Born into a family steeped in musical traditions, André’s early years were punctuated by the harmonious melodies that would later become his life’s purpose. His upbringing, surrounded by the resonant notes of music, ignited a passion that would propel him to the pinnacle of choral artistry and music education.

André’s academic odyssey began with a sturdy foundation in music. He commenced his educational voyage by earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Friends University, where his commitment to music education and choral excellence began to flourish. However, this was only the first step on a journey that would take him to even greater heights in the world of music.

His thirst for knowledge and his dedication to musical expression led him to Northwestern University, where he pursued and successfully earned a Master of Music degree. Determined to reach the zenith of his chosen field, André undertook further academic endeavors, culminating in the attainment of a Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) degree from the prestigious University of Illinois. These academic achievements solidified his position as an exceptionally educated and supremely skilled musician.

Teaching and Academic Career

Beyond the stages and concert halls, Dr. André J. Thomas’s impact on the world of music education has been profound. He has graced several esteemed institutions with his expertise, including the University of Texas, Austin, where he served as a dedicated faculty member. His true academic legacy, however, lies in his role as the Emeritus Professor of Music at Florida State University, where his influence extended far beyond the confines of a classroom.

Dr. Thomas’s academic contributions have left an indelible mark on countless students, many of whom have gone on to make significant contributions to the world of music themselves. His commitment to nurturing the next generation of musicians and his unwavering dedication to the art of choral music have been instrumental in shaping the landscape of music education.

As a Visiting Professor of Conducting and Interim Conductor of the Yale Camerata, Dr. Thomas continues to inspire and educate the musical minds of tomorrow. His teaching philosophy, rooted in the belief that every student possesses the potential to achieve greatness, has resonated with countless individuals. Central to his approach is the creation of a nurturing and positive learning environment, one that encourages students to take risks while providing a secure space for their growth and development. Dr. Thomas’s emphasis on accommodating diverse learning styles and fostering independence among his students has set a standard for excellence in music education worldwide.

Guest Conducting and International Recognition

Dr. André J. Thomas’s talents extend well beyond the confines of academia. His remarkable career as a conductor, clinician, and director of Honor/All-State Choirs has taken him to stages across the globe, showcasing his ability to unite cultures through the universal language of music. His contributions to choral music have garnered international acclaim, earning him a reputation as a global ambassador of harmony.

His role as conductor/clinician for the International Federation of Choral Musicians’ summer residency of the World Youth Choir in the Republic of China and the Philippines was a testament to his ability to bridge cultures and foster musical collaboration on a global scale. Dr. Thomas also led the World Youth Choir’s winter residency in Europe, breaking new ground with a historic premier performance by an American choir, the Florida State University Singers, in Vietnam.

Dr. Thomas’s virtuosity as a conductor has graced the podiums of distinguished orchestras and choirs worldwide. He has directed and collaborated with renowned ensembles, including the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in England, where his baton transformed classical compositions into unforgettable auditory experiences. His guest conducting engagements further extended to the Berlin Radio Choir and the North German Radio Choir in Germany, the Netherlands Radio Choir, The Bulgarian Radio Choir and Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony, Tallahassee Symphony, China’s People’s Liberation Orchestra, and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. His tenure as Artistic Director of the Tallahassee Community Chorus from 1988 to 2019 solidified his standing as a beloved figure in the local choral community.

Honors and Awards

Dr. André J. Thomas’s contributions to the world of choral music have been widely recognized and celebrated by prestigious musical organizations. In 2011, he was honored as a Living Legend by the African Diaspora Sacred Music, a distinction that acknowledged his unwavering dedication to preserving and promoting the rich musical heritage of the African diaspora. That same year, Chorus America bestowed upon him its Distinguished Service Award, a recognition of his outstanding achievements in the choral arts.

In 2017, the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) bestowed upon Dr. Thomas its highest honor, the Robert Shaw Award, in acknowledgment of his extraordinary contributions to the field. The National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO) joined in the chorus of accolades by presenting him with its Lifetime Achievement Award in November 2017, underscoring his enduring impact on collegiate choral music.

The honors continued to pour in when, in 2019, Dr. Thomas was inducted into the Florida Music Educators’ Hall of Fame, an esteemed recognition of his enduring influence on music education within the state. In 2022, the Southern Region of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) presented him with the Award of Excellence, a prestigious accolade further underscoring his unwavering commitment to excellence in choral music and education.

Legacy and Impact

The legacy of Dr. André J. Thomas extends far beyond his remarkable career achievements and the numerous awards that adorn his name. His life’s work has been a testament to the transformative power of music and its potential to inspire and uplift humanity. Through his tireless dedication to teaching, conducting, and advocating for the arts, Dr. Thomas has left an indelible mark on the world of choral music and education.

As a guest professor at universities, a conductor of clinics for professional organizations, and a beacon of wisdom and inspiration at Florida State University, Dr. André J. Thomas continues to disseminate his invaluable teaching philosophies around the globe. His commitment to fostering excellence, cultural exchange, and a profound love for music remains unwavering, ensuring that the beauty and emotional resonance of music are accessible to all.

Dr. Thomas’s influence will undoubtedly resonate for generations to come, as he remains a true luminary in the world of choral music and education, guiding countless individuals towards a deeper appreciation of the art form and enriching the world with the gift of music.

Some Well Known Andre J Thomas Choral compositions


  • Choral

Product Details

  •  #HL 08764467
  •  728215038822
  •  HMC2090
  •  6.75″
  •  10.5″
  •  8 Pages

Additional information

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SKU: 08764467 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.

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

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