SLEEP, A Music Video for Ann
A Music Video Based on a Composition by
and Lyrics by
With a Live Performance by the
VocalEssence Chorus and Ensemble Singers,
The St. Olaf Choir, and the Minnesota Honors Choir
Recorded March 22, 2009
Dedicated to my Beloved Wife, Ann Callaway Brown
On Friday, October 29, 2010, as I was driving home and tuned to KMFA our local PBS station in Austin, Texas, I listened intently to a remarkable interview with the famous composer, Eric Whitacre and how he came about composing the choir masterpiece, SLEEP. When this music was played, I fell into a trance and had to stop driving so I could compose myself because this was such beautiful and meaningful music. It was written to mean that SLEEP is the approaching path toward death.
On that October evening, I could comprehend the meaning of this masterpiece in terms of my lovely and faithful wife of nearly 50 years and partner, Ann, who suffered a serious stroke on July 17, 2009, the very day we were to have left for our vacation in Colorado.
From this day forward, life for Ann and me has never been the same. She is paralyzed on her right side, cannot speak but understands everything. Thus we went from an active life, anticipating hiking in the Colorado mountains, to a restricted life in a bed and wheelchair. I immediately recalled the years of taking photos of sunsets and sky views here on Nob Hill and Skyline Drive in West Lake Hills, Texas. I decided to incorporate these with the music and put the words on the screen with the sunset and other views in the background.
It took a night and the next day to get everything matched up and synced, but it worked! I could not begin to believe how my photos conveyed every single nuance to the music and words. It is just miraculous. After this first "draft", I spent the next 4 months trying to perfect the video and photos, and luckily, my friend, Jim Bodkin, was able to optimize the photos. I am very grateful to Jim as well as his lovely wife, Diane, for their interest in this project.
Also, I want to express my appreciation to the unique and extremely talented people who sang "Sleep" on March 22, 2009: The VocalEssence Chorus and Ensemble Singers, The Minnesota High School Honors Choir, and the St. Olaf Choir, all some 300+ fantastic singers who gathered this day to produce what I believe to be the very best recording ever made of "Sleep". I hope that you will agree. Play the video which will first present with the words of the poem, then the second playing will have only beautiful new photos and the music. In the middle there is a special dedication to my wife, Ann.
Sleep has in its origin a close connection with Austin Texas where we live. An Austin attorney and mezzo soprano, Ms. Julia Armstrong, commissioned Eric Whitacre in 1999 to compose music to a poem written by Robert Frost, Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening. This was to honor her parents who had been married more than 50 years and who died in a tragic accident. Eric composed a beautiful melody to match this poem, but he learned that he could not use this because it was copyrighted. So he asked his friend and poet, Charles Silvestri, to produce NEW WORDS to exactly match what the music had conveyed. How could this be accomplished so perfectly? It is just a miraculous piece of work. I shall always remember this beautiful day when I was able to bring everything together in a music video format.
I decided on that October day to dedicate this video to my beloved wife, Ann. I believe that Ann is on this path, and I only hope that within her own mind she will be at peace with herself. I have NEVER witnessed anyone more brave and courageous than Ann. She is the love of my live, and I will be with her "Until Death Do Us Part". That is why I just could not stop working with this since my encounter with it that day. I am now at peace with the completion of this music video. This music video is presented with true love for my wife, partner, lover, mother of two children and one grandson, this 31 day of October, 2010.
I have secured written permission from Eric Whitacre and Anthony Silvestri to post my video production using the music and lyrics of "Sleep". I thank them profusely for this honor.
Here is my gmail address if you would like to communicate with me about this work:
If you are interested in any of my work, either from the science perspective or music perspective, please visit my UT Austin website:
Also you can visit my music site: http://www.novelmusic.com/
For an introduction to Ann, please visit the following:
With love and appreciation to those who make this a better world for life and living through music and poetry.
I would like to encourage you also to visit Eric Whitacre's amazing website: