Mary Ann Joyce-Walter
Mary Ann Joyce-Walter was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, and received her M.A. and Ph.D. in theory and composition from Washington University, St. Louis, after which she moved to the New York City area . She was Professor of Music at Manhattanville College until her retirement in 2012. Her works have been performed at international festivals in England, Ireland, Spain, the Dominican Republic and Russia, as well as many parts of the United States.
O, Only for So Short a While - Vanguard Premieres Contest 2006 (Honorable Mention)
We know from experience that loss is central to our lives. If we are not fully aware of that now, we will come to know it in time (“We have not here a lasting city...” Hebrews 13:14). The Aztec prayer, "Oh, only for so short a while have You have loaned us to each other," will help comfort us in facing all our losses because this poem reminds us that we are pilgrims, and all that we love is on loan: our parents, our friends, homes, children, our talents, health, and, finally, our very life on this earth. Nothing is ours to keep, even if we cling and grasp with all our strength.
But we also know that our love for all that we cherish will not end, and we celebrate everything that has been given to us “for so short a while,” and praise our Creator for these gifts which are on loan to us. (Notes by the composer, 2006)