Songs for a Cure

If you live in the Phoenix area--or in driving distance from it--you should definitely make some time to head out to Northern Arizona University next week for the Arizona premiere of "Sing for the Cure: A Proclamation of Hope.""Sing for the Cure," is an original song cycle dedicated to breast cancer survivors, their families, and friends. This composition is the vision of Nancy Brinker, the founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, who commissioned the creation of the piece. The Komen organization, the Turtle Creek Chorale, The Women's Chorus of Dallas, and the Dallas Symphony first performed the work in 2000. The music tells the stories of breast cancer, with 10 songs written from various perspectives–the patient, the partner, the sister, the daughter. Each song is accompanied by a narration to help guide the audience through the story. The Arizona narrations will be performed by breast cancer survivors from all over northern Arizona. I remember performing "Sing for the Cure" while in high school choir. And while the melodies are now pretty dim in my memory, sometimes I find myself humming them as bits and pieces of the lyrics come to mind. Songs like "Valse Caprice" (Doctors' exam rooms that feel like a freezer/Placing my breast in a large metal squeezer ... Telling myself being bald is exotic/Prices of good wigs are really obscene) and "Borrowed Time" (A thief called chance has taken control/Stolen a thread, unraveled my soul/The fabric of life begins to unwind/Is this borrowed time?).I think my favorite songs were the two at the end, "Groundless Ground" and "One Voice." Both songs are about working together—never stopping, never looking back—until a cure is found.Each song carried a different feeling and produces a different emotion. I felt like I was getting the chance to truly empathize with a mother wondering who will take care of her daughter if she died; a partner struggling to stay strong; a sister cherishing old memories, knowing new ones won't be made. "Sing for the Cure" acts as a testimony for breast cancer survivors everywhere, conveying the hardships, the trials, and even a little humor, that's experienced. But mostly, I felt it conveyed the hope that everyone affected by the diseases carries in their hearts. Even though about eight years have passed from that moment, I can still vividly remember that performance, and count it as one of my favorites—and definitely my most meaningful.You can hear a sampling of "Sing for the Cure" performed by the Turtle Creek Chorale in a 2002 performance, with narration by Maya Angelou at Amazon.com.