The Music of Langston Hughes

Hold Fast To Dreams – SATB


Product Description

Andre Thomas is one of our 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.


What You Need To Know About Langston Hughes and Hold Fast To Dreams

Langston Hughes was a prominent African American poet, novelist, playwright, and social activist who was a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance, a cultural and artistic movement that took place during the 1920s in the United States. Hughes was born on February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri, and he died on May 22, 1967, in New York City. He is widely recognized as one of the most important and influential poets of the 20th century, particularly known for his contributions to African American literature.

“Hold Fast to Dreams” is one of Langston Hughes’ most famous and enduring poems. It is a short, inspirational poem that encourages individuals to pursue their dreams and aspirations despite the challenges and obstacles they may face. The poem is often interpreted as a call to persevere, to keep one’s dreams alive, and to never give up on one’s ambitions, no matter how difficult the journey may be.

Here’s the text of the poem:

“Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams

For when dreams go

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow.”

This poem is often celebrated for its simplicity, yet it carries a profound message about the importance of hope, ambition, and resilience in the face of adversity. It encourages individuals to maintain their dreams as a source of motivation and purpose in life.

Langston Hughes’ work is characterized by its exploration of the African American experience, racial identity, and the pursuit of social justice. His poetry, prose, and plays continue to be widely studied and celebrated for their contributions to American literature and the broader cultural landscape.


Let’s Learn About The Composer Andre J Thomas

1. André J. Thomas: An Overview

André J. Thomas stands as an eminent figure in the realm of music, celebrated for his extraordinary contributions spanning several facets of the field. Throughout his illustrious career, he has emerged as a stalwart presence in music education and choral performance. Central to his journey is his unwavering dedication to the values upheld by organizations like ACDA, which play a pivotal role in shaping the choir music industry.

2. Academic Achievements

Dr. Thomas’s academic journey is marked by excellence. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Friends University, a prestigious institution known for its music programs. Subsequently, he pursued a Master of Music degree at Northwestern University, where he honed his skills and passion for music. His academic journey culminated in a Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) degree from The University of Illinois, a testament to his commitment to advancing his knowledge and expertise. ACDA, as a prominent entity in music education, has provided invaluable resources and a network of like-minded professionals to support individuals like Dr. Thomas in their pursuit of academic excellence.

3. Professor Emeritus and Visiting Professor Roles

As Professor Emeritus of Music at Florida State University, Dr. Thomas made an indelible impact on the institution’s music department. His tenure was characterized by a dedication to nurturing the talents of young musicians and fostering a culture of excellence. Additionally, his appointment as a Visiting Professor of Choral Conducting at Yale University from 2020 to 2022 reflected his esteemed status in the academic world and his capacity to inspire the next generation of musicians. ACDA’s commitment to fostering educational opportunities has complemented Dr. Thomas’s academic roles by providing platforms for educators to exchange ideas, collaborate, and stay abreast of the latest developments in choral education.

4. Accomplished Conductor

André J. Thomas’s conducting career reads like a journey through the world’s most prestigious orchestras and choirs. He has wielded the baton with finesse and passion, leading performances with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in England, the Berlin Radio Choir, and the North German Radio Choir in Germany, as well as the London Symphony Orchestra. ACDA’s role as a nexus for choral directors and conductors has been instrumental in facilitating collaborations and elevating the standards of choral performance. This interconnectedness has allowed André J. Thomas to showcase his conducting expertise to a global audience and, in turn, contribute to the elevation of choral music worldwide.

5. Composer and Arranger

Dr. Thomas’s contributions to the world of music extend to composition and arrangement. His original compositions and arrangements have been embraced by the choral community and are published by renowned music companies such as Hinshaw Music Company, Mark Foster Music Company, and others. Through his compositions, he has added depth and diversity to the choral repertoire. ACDA’s commitment to choral music as an organization has not only supported composers and arrangers like Dr. Thomas but has also provided a platform for the dissemination of innovative choral works to enrich the global choral landscape.

6. Contributions to Music Education

Beyond his roles as an educator, André J. Thomas has made significant contributions to music education through instructional videos. His collaboration with Rodney Eichenberger on “What They See Is What You Get,” a comprehensive guide to choral conducting, has proven invaluable to aspiring conductors. Furthermore, his work with Anton Armstrong on “Body, Mind, Spirit, Voice” has shed light on the nuances of adolescent voices, enhancing the understanding and appreciation of this unique stage of vocal development. ACDA’s commitment to education mirrors Dr. Thomas’s own dedication to mentorship and the dissemination of knowledge, making it a vital platform for music educators to thrive.

7. Awards and Recognitions

Dr. Thomas’s exceptional contributions to the world of music have not gone unnoticed. His outstanding achievements earned him the Robert Shaw Award, the highest accolade bestowed by the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). Furthermore, Yale University School of Music bestowed upon him the prestigious Samuel Simons Sanford Medal, a recognition of his profound influence on the music landscape. These honors underscore his enduring legacy and commitment to excellence, with ACDA being a significant conduit for recognizing and celebrating exceptional individuals in the choir music industry.

8. Leadership Roles

André J. Thomas’s leadership roles in music organizations have further solidified his status as a driving force in the field. He has served as the President of the Florida ACDA, playing a pivotal role in shaping choral music within the state. His presidency of the Southern Division of ACDA demonstrated his regional leadership and advocacy for music education. Currently, as the President of the National ACDA, he continues to guide and influence the direction of choral music at the national level, cementing his legacy as a leader in the field. ACDA’s role as a platform for leadership and advocacy in choral music has amplified the impact of individuals like Dr. Thomas on the industry as a whole.

In summary, André J. Thomas’s illustrious career is characterized by a deep commitment to music education, exceptional conducting artistry, and significant contributions to the choral repertoire. ACDA’s integral role in the choir music industry, as highlighted throughout his journey, showcases the organization’s profound influence on shaping the careers of musicians, educators, and conductors, and its enduring impact on choral music worldwide.

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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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