Below are the texts of letters etc I sent out in 1999 to find poems about old-growth forests. The first Call for Green Poems / Lyrics produced dozens of good works. However, I then wanted more poems to give a more balanced view, and especially to deal with the worrying social (employment) problems associated with the timber industry. I was really hoping to get texts written by timber workers. The second Call for poems / lyrics about the plight of forest workers produced no result.
Dear [friend, colleague, stranger ! ]
I'm composing a work for a local community choir and need to find some appropriate lyrics, VERY QUICKLY.
If you are a writer, or you have a friend who writes, please read below.
The theme is "green" or "conservationist". Lyrics need not be totally specific to my main theme/subject---they can be generally heading in the same direction. My main subject is the terrible destruction of old growth forests in the south-west of Western Australia, particularly jarrah, karri, marri, and tingle forests. But I would like to also have some more universal lyrics.
I will probably use several different texts. One poem, written after publicity about a Yellow Tingle being felled recently, has already been chosen. Other text may come from a reference book I have on WA eucalypt trees.
Unfortunately, there is no money involved. At least, not at this stage. However, if I decide to publish the work (through my publishing concern---see below), the authors, as copyright holders of the lyrics (who will always retain copyright), will be entitled to author royalties. They will also be free to allow their lyrics to be set to music by anyone else they wish.
The choir concerned is the Perth Discovery Choir, a small group of enthusiastic adults. The score will be for two to three part choir, consisting of parts for soprano, alto, and baritone, plus piano. The work will be premiered in September this year (probably Sunday, 19th September, 1999). Rehearsals start in July, though I don't expect to finish composing the work until early August.
The musical style will be slightly avant-garde classical, but it has to be fairly easy and accessible. My other works include pieces in dodecaphonic/simple serial style, neo-classical, neo-tonal, atonal, and traditional harmony.
Some of the chosen texts will be sung, and some will be recited (over music).
My name is Margaret Dylan Jones (born 1961 in Perth). After high school I took a Bachelor of Music, majoring in composition, at the Uni of WA. My main composition teacher was Roger Smalley. I founded the Perth Discovery Choir in 1989, but have not conducted it since 1993. I will lead the choir for rehearsals in July while their current conductor is away.
Over the last few years I have made some small contributions to the campaigns to save the old growth forests, mainly through work with The Wilderness Society, WAFA, and WISE. However, at this point I think I can better serve the forests through music.
For future reference, here is a list of themes I am interested in: green issues, social equality, oppression of minorities, gender issues, nuclear weapons, nuclear power, alternative power sources, historical/geographical Western Australian topics.
So, if you have some leads for me, please contact me REAL SOON (like THIS WEEK if possible).
Margaret Jones (Signed)
PS: you may one day come across other MD Joneses.....
. . . where eucalypts green-tip the sky
A New Choral Work by Margaret Dylan Jones
for the Perth Discovery Choir.
Settings of a dozen poems dealing with the Old Growth Forests of the south-west.
Like many committed conservationists, I have a lot of concern for the soon-to-be unemployed timber workers. They have been very poorly served by our politicians, who never plan beyond the next election. It has been suspected for some time that the forest (especially woodchip) industry is financially flawed, and it looks as though the recently sacked workers have paid the price.
I would like to include a poem or two dealing with these other aspects, to make the work more balanced. At present the composition-in-progress has about a dozen poems illustrating the beauty of the forest and lamenting its clearfelling. Some poems are sung, some are spoken over piano or other singing, and some a spoken without accompaniment. But I need some poems about the other side of the story.
Nobody sees the forest workers as enemies or evil people. As a school teacher I was instructed to distinguish between a child's bad behaviour and the child itself. "Punish the action not the actor." (Or something to that effect.) And it's not as if they are deliberately trying to destroy the forests. We all have a right to work.
Do you have such poems? Or know where I can find them?
Margaret Jones (signed)
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