Between You and I

Titled after a poem written by 6th grader Samar Darby in 2020, Between You and I is a deeply moving and powerful choral work on themes of race and humanity in America. I commissioned composer Dr. Brian Raphael Nabors to set three different poems to music, and the resulting work of his passion and creativity is nothing short of an artistic and emotional masterpiece. With enormous gratitude to audio engineer Michael Mavridoglou, I compiled each entry and edited the videos to present the performance before you. Three dozen people from across the nation (and beyond) came together to learn, rehearse, and submit their recordings to create this production. One of the unique aspects of this choral work is that the solos were left unwritten. Instead, singers were invited to share a message – whether it was sung, spoken, or through any outlet they desired – and to therefore write their own solo. Thank you to Sebastian Harris and Andrea Wright for their moving and beautiful solos.

Program Notes by Brian Raphael Nabors (2021)

Between You and I is an SATB choral work commissioned by Ariadne Antipa for virtual choir in response to the racial & systemic social justice issues within the United States. Also written during the COVID-19 pandemic, the work also displays themes of humanity, hope, and reality. The work is in four movements that form a narrative from darkness to light.

The first movement consists of a 3-part canon that contains bits of text from the collection of poems that are used in the following three movements. It combines the powerful meaning of all three poems respectively into a chant that lays down the foundation for the rest of the work. Movements 2 and 3 are from the organization CHARM, a literary arts organization that amplifies the voices of youth in Baltimore, Maryland. CHARM’s recent publication, “Poems for Black Lives Matter,” is a curated collection of poems that address systemic racism, police brutality, and racial justice. They also feature poems celebrating Black joy, identity, and liberation. 

Movements 2 & 3 feature Zaire Avery’s (Grade 8 when written) “Bullets Don’t Have Names On Them” & Samar Darby’s (Grade 6 when written) “The Difference Between You and I,” from which this piece was named.
Visit to read the full text of each poem.

Featured in movement 4 is exceptional 2-Time Pushcart nominated poet Erren Kelly with his encapsulating work “A New World Coming (for Duke Ellington).” It captures a world with peace and balance; a place where love abides.
Read the full text at