Session 3: “Meet Me Here” Craig Hella Johnson

“Meet Me Here” is excerpted from the concert length work Concerning Matthew Shepard, which pays tribute to the young gay man who was beaten, tortured, and left to die outside Laramie, Wyoming, on October 12, 1998. The composer writes, “In the context of the larger work, it is at a pivotal movement which takes a first step from a difficult story and asks the question “where do I go from here?” At its core, ‘Meet Me Here,’ is a folk style hymn which invites the participants to be open to meeting at a place which may seem difficult or painful…to finding the healing together, excluding no one.” This is poignantly phrased in the repeated line “Where the old fence ends and the horizon begins.”
Craig Hella Johnson (1962- ) a native of Minnesota, Johnson studied at St. Olaf College, the Juilliard School, and the University of Illinois, and earned his doctorate at Yale University. Before becoming the first Artist-in-Residence at Texas State University School of Music in the fall of 2012, he was Director of Choral Activities at the University of Texas at Austin from 1990-2001. He remains an active educator, teaching workshops and clinics statewide, nationally, and internationally. Johnson is also music director of Austin-based choral ensemble Conspirare, the Cincinnati Vocal Arts Ensemble and conductor emeritus of the Victoria Bach Festival (where he was the conductor and Artistic director from 1992-2015). He has served as guest conductor with Austin Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Oregon Bach Festival, Harvard University and many others in Texas, the U.S. and abroad. He was Artistic Director of San Francisco-based Chanticleer (1998-1999), and has studied with Helmut Rilling at the International Bach Academy in Stuttgart, Germany.
Program Notes by David Blum, Researcher, The Moravian Music Foundation”Meet Me Here” Craig Hella Johnson