William Gunn is currently the Director of Music at Plymouth Regional High School in New Hampshire where he directs the Concert Band, Jazz Band, Concert Choir, and Chamber Singers. William is a free-lance pianist and also sings regularly with the New Hampshire Master Chorale.
It was almost a year ago that I fell in love with Jane Babin’s poetry. Her son, a former student of mine, had given me her book Pearls in the Pond a few months after she had passed away after an eleven year battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). I found myself immersed in her poems, lectures, thoughts on life and mortality, and coping with her disease.
In January, I commissioned another former student, a freshman music composition major at Ithaca College, to write a choral piece set to one of Jane’s poem. Her son was in chorus and band for his entire high school career, so I couldn’t think of a better way to honor her words by setting it to music. Jane’s sisters would often tell me that she loved watching videos of him in the concerts. In conjunction with this commission, the entire choir has teamed with The ALS Association of Northern New England to raise money and awareness for ALS throughout the semester.