Program Notes:

This dark poem by Amanda Jernigan is full of the contrasts of light and dark, colour and milky white, on a perilous but strangely serene journey. Charon is the gatekeeper of the underworld, and Persephone its formidable and majestic queen.

The poem “Lullaby” is taken from the collection All the Daylight Hours, by Amanda Jernigan and published by Cormorant Books, Toronto. Copyright © 2013 Amanda Jernigan. Used with the permission of the publisher.

Lullaby was commissioned and premiered in 2011 by Lady Cove Women’s Choir of St. John’s, Newfoundland (Kellie Walsh, Artistic Director), with the assistance of The Canada Council for the Arts.

Conductor Notes:

SSAA choir and marimba. A lilting, beautiful piece that we also performed with piano when marimba was not available. James has approved this as an alternate accompaniment.

Here is Elektra’s performance with marimbist Beverley Johnston in March 2015:

Composer / Arranger Notes:

The poem “Lullaby”, by Amanda Jernigan, took its inspiration from a painting by Angela Antle titled “Upon the shore, the season pans for light”. Angela and Amanda are both Newfoundlanders, and both painting and poem embody the austere beauty of that island: the muted colours and light, the dark greys and cold of sky and ocean, and the intimate bonds that flourish in defiance of harsh circumstances. Newfoundlanders must make their own warmth and colour, and this they have done for many years, seeking it in each other, finding comfort and solace in sharing music and song and words. This version of “Lullaby” features the women’s voices set close together—the better to keep warm!–in dark harmonies tinged with occasional rays of light. The dark-hued marimba leads the voices through the poem with simple, gently pulsing chords.


This lists any discs, concerts or collections where this piece is included.



My little lack-of-light, my swaddled soul,
December baby. Hush, for it is dark,
and will grow darker still. We must embark
directly. Bring an orange as the toll
for Charon: he will be our gondolier.
Upon the shore, the season pans for light,
and solstice fish, their eyes gone milky white,
come bearing riches for the dying year:
solstitial kingdom. It is yours, the mime
of branches and the drift of snow. With shaking
hands, Persephone, the winter’s wife,
will tender you a gift. Born in a time
of darkness, you will learn the trick of making.
You shall make your consolation all your life.