We the People (original title: Jargon) (1987)
The Story of the American Constitution
for Narrator, Chorus and Orchestra
Duration: 15 minutes
Commissioned by the Barlow Endowment
Premiere Performance: July 5, 1987; Bowdoin Festival Orchestra and Chorus;
We the People is an inspiring account of the writing of the American Constitution. The text uses stirring quotes from Benjamin Franklin and excerpts from the Constitution itself, along with other historical accounts of the day. The choral passages include the sounds of Philadelphia’s Fourth of July celebration of 1787, with cheering crowds, artillery and marching bands. Prominent use is made of 18th - Century American tunes, including three choral settings by William Billings and Benjamin Franklin’s own string quartet, composed for open strings.