To Every Thing There is a Season

Conductor Notes:

The flowing lines of this piece were such a joy to learn and shape, and such a good representation of Ramona’s skill with both choir and piano writing. Ramona always creates rich textures while maintaining logical voice-leading and satisfying musical experiences for the singers. It was commissioned in 2006 in memory of Susan Jane (Slemon) Gower for Toronto-based Cantores Celestes Women’s Choir and revised in 2013.

Composer / Arranger Notes:

I was honoured when Peter Slemon commissioned me to write a work in memory of his sister, a commission deep with personal connections. Peter and I met at the University of British Columbia many, many years ago – and now, decades later, our paths have crossed again. Cantores Celestes is to premiere this piece because of Peter’s friendship with Kelly Galbraith, the Director, and also because his niece sings with the choir. Such connections do indeed influence the tenor of the work and also the commitment to its performance.
I know of no better way to keep the spirit of departed loved ones alive and renewed than through the inherent beauty and human expression of choral music.
Peter asked me to set the well-known text from Ecclesiastes which is, without doubt, perfect in sentiment and viewpoint for this particular commission. And yet, there is a regularity in both the length and structure of the phrases which does not allow for sufficient variation or emotional build-up. We decided to combine Ecclesiastes with a beautiful chant taken from the end of the Stabat Mater Sequence – a chant which emotes hope and a truly remarkable sense of peace. It works in tandem with the Ecclesiastes text and yet also creates contrast and a far richer choral texture. This ancient music expresses the universal and the human – the loss we feel and the peace for which we search when touched by the death of someone we love.


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



From Ecclesiastes 3: 1-6
To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to take up what is planted;
…a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away.

From the Stabat Mater Sequence:
Quando corpus morietur fac ut anima donetur paradisi gloria.
When my body dies
grant that my soul be given the glory of Paradise.