Adam Guettel: How Glory Goes

Written by Justine Aronson

Soprano

May 12, 2017

In 1925, Kentucky explorer and caver Floyd Collins lost his footing at the end of an expedition. His left leg pinned underneath a 16-pound rock, Collins was trapped in a narrow tunnel, unable to move, and after 17 days (13 of which were without food or water) he left this earthly realm.

Composer and lyricist Adam Guettel imagines Collins’ last moments, his ideations of what the next life might be like in “How Glory Goes,” the gut-wrenching final song in the 1996 musical Floyd Collins. Audra McDonald sings the tune in here in a version that I deeply treasure.

What a voice, what a sentiment, what a song.

Audra McDonald has been a vocal and theatrical hero of mine since high school, when I swore I was going to be a music theater performer (I auditioned for more than one music theater undergrad program! Alas, my movement skills are slightly lacking…). I heard Ms. McDonald live in concert at a point in my life that felt very clearly like a fork in the road, and she set my heart right back toward our sacred art, toward music. I am truly in awe of her presence, instrument, ability, and grace.

Thank you for reading, dear NYFOS devotees! It’s been a pleasure being your guest blogger, and having the opportunity to share the contents of my song-loving heart.

Love and light to all of you! Until next time…!

Justine Aronson

Justine Aronson, soprano, lives at the intersection of Los Angeles, New York, the Midwest, and her own tender heart. She performs works written by living composers and by dead composers, and endeavors to find the nugget of divine humanity within all of it.

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