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America, You're Beautiful
Bridge Voices

America, You're Beautiful

Starring Nina Brewton courtesy of The Poet Life and We Be the Light, LLC Produced, directed, and sung by Crossley Hawn, Allan Laino, Jacob Perry Jr., and Gilbert Spencer Nina Brewton, poet Scot Hanna-Weir, composer Tyler W. Davis, cinematographer & colorist Christoph Jenkins, production & casting Allan Laino, audio & video editor Katrina Mazyck, stylist Devyn Rascoe, production assistant Complete Poem: America, you’re beautiful. Your beauty the manifestation of the very best of everything that is within you Your shores shimmering as gold refined A glimmer of hope across waters A glimpse of home in the distance To those who have fought your battles Stood their ground on your behalf On soil that does not bear your name America These heroes proved We prove our love in the ranks of your stripes Our love made evident from our core I affirm my love for you in my core values Integrity first Service before self Excellence in all I’ve done for you America, you’re beautiful. You make it easy to love with your empty promises Hearts set on the imagination of all that you are All that we can be My heart has swelled for you, America Self-love nearly abandoned Set aside in the name of unity and inclusion Your comfort, my duty Your freedom; not my freedom It is not our freedom My reality not yours Yet you refuse to see America, you’re beautiful. Your allure pouring over praying hands with every sunrise We give thanks for your daily bread Grains golden, rich with life Nurturing generations of America The waves that carry dreams to your shores Are waters of meditation Flowing like the tears of dreamers Each drop gathers as clouds in your spacious skies Raining down on your majesties Peaks purple like bruises in the hearts and on the backs of your countrymen By Grace, you pour over us with your beauty As your children pore over you Your symbols of superiority Lifted high upon your mountaintops Honoring, always America FIRST Your eyes fixed on Your banner of war In all her glory Dignity, perverted Saved for ghosts of those representing the worst of who you are Romanticizing the sins of Your Four Fathers and their brothers These American idols Casting their shadows down on the least of these Their images carved into stone in the minds of your people America, you’re beautiful However You are The uncle no one speaks of The abusive, violent, drunk uncle More than a mere black sheep They say he’s the worst of our lineage Tearing his own family apart Battles with principalities fought at dinner tables His hatred masquerading as pride and patriotism Thanks given every time he leaves Carrying his anger, regrets and greatest insecurities with him Fear, hypocrisy and hatred He holds close like the family Bible Yielding to its every word Holding it tightly, twine of discord Sewing into the hearts of his own children The tradition of abuse the family has long denied Perverting their love calling it, pride He’s taught them to see “others” as the enemy A threat to their way of life He fought on the frontline for freedom Yet demonizes those who fight for their own America, you’re proud of the seeds of your bloodline Your children becoming Teachers who teach half truths Congressmen passing laws exploiting the oppressed The great grandchildren of slave hands Becoming those who swore to protect and serve America, you’re so beautiful But you can no longer afford to fall into the shadows Of a past rooted in Darkness Hatred Evil You have violence sewn into The very fabric of your being This fabric the rope used to hang the sweetest of fruit from trees It burns the hands of those refusing to release Tugging, holding on to their allegiance to the myth of Liberty and Justice for all So, we fight We stand in Liberating strife Infernos burning city to city From the splendorous mountains and lush valleys of the land of gold Eastward to the streets of the capital of the Confederacy Northbound throughout the rotten apple illuminated by the light of Lady Liberty herself We fight We march We pray We lament for his...for your deliverance So much beauty and potential Worthy of love The grace we’re all worthy of Even I, stand enveloped in grace Somewhere between the love of Christ The words of Baldwin and Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians High atop Mercy’s billboard We be the Light Creating space for grace to abide Yet exposing lies The shadows in the corners of our minds Light begets light Illuminated by Love Reflecting off of mirrors Forcing our brothers and sister to see themselves As they are We be the light The light on a path forward To the America of our best and brightest imaginations Teaching our children to cease fleeing from reality Showing them how to change it for the benefit of all lives… Even if the reality is not yours America






6 min

Text by Emma Lazarus

photo by Florian Cordillot on Unsplash

The New Colossus - excerpt: pg. 6-end
00:00 / 00:00


SATB, full orchestra, org

4.5 min



Commissioned by The Reston Chorale

World Premiere on March 17, 2019

photo by Ilnur Kalimullin on Unsplash

Gloria - version for full orchestra
00:00 / 00:00

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Words and Music by Jacob Collier

Arranged by Allan Laino



photo by Dino Rechmuth on Unsplash


Words and Music by Cosmo Sheldrake

Arranged by Allan Laino



SATB, T solo, hand drum

2 min

SATB, T solo, hand drum

2 min



photo by Josh Felise on Unsplash

hot knife

Words and Music by Fiona Apple

Arranged by Allan Laino

4 voices and body percussion


photo by Damon Lam on Unsplash

Interested in performing something?

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