A Precious Pearl (2011)

Music by Lauren McLaren, words by Mirabai Britton

Lauren McLaren set herself to write a festival piece that would combine the forces of WomenSing with Bella Voce from Acalanes High School and the Women’s Ensemble of Miramonte High School. The result is the awe-inspiring A Precious Pearl, based on a poem by Mirabai Britton. Mirabai was struck by how beautiful a simple drop of dew on a leaf could be, reminding her of a jewel, or a precious pearl. McLaren captures the rich imagery of the poem with finesse in her a cappella 6- part setting, using subtle and every-changing harmonic colorings that depict the ephemeral beauty. WomenSing is honored and thrilled to be presenting the world premiere performances of this piece, and wish it lasting success.

Lauren McLarenLauren McLaren, 21, has always demonstrated an intense passion for composing and performing music. Growing up in Washington State, she participated in the Seattle Symphony Young Composer’s Workshop and was also commissioned to write a piece for the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra in 2005. She recently received her Bachelor of Music degree in composition from the University of Southern California, graduating with high honors. McLaren is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Teaching, from USC, with a goal of teaching public school music. She looks forward to the day when she can give her students the same amazing experiences and life-changing opportunities that her music teachers gave to her.

Mirabai BrittonMirabai Britton, 16, grew up playing a variety of instruments, dancing, painting, singing and composing music, all from a very young age. She is a writer of both poetry and prose, winning second place in a national philosophy slam contest at age eight. Born in Fairfield, Iowa, she moved at age nine to California, first to Big Sur and later Carmel, where she wrote A Precious Pearl. She now lives in Ashland, Oregon where she continues to pursue music, writing, and art.

A Precious Pearl

Amongst the folds of petals blue,
A sparkling jewel, a drop of dew.
It rests with sweet tranquility,
A precious pearl, for those who see.
Secrets of the garden pass,
Whispers in the dewy grass.
It forms before the sun awakes,
The morning mist a treasure makes.
The blue time, silent, peaceful rest,
It waits to shine to look its best.
It sparkles in the morning light,
So small and sweet, so kind and bright.
But with the smallest slight of hand,
It disappears into the land.
A moment’s splendor lost in earth,
To rise and fall, a jewel’s rebirth.

Mirabai Britton, age 13
Carmel, California
Carmel Middle School
Teacher: Liz Wells
2009 Finalist