On January 20, 2009, I sang for President Obama's Inauguration Day Prayer Service at St. John's Church, Lafayette Square, in Washington, D.C. That was truly one of the most thrilling experiences of my life. There was so much anticipation and excitement in the church that day. There were buzzing waves of electricity in the air. I could feel the energy and attention of the entire world focusing on this one person, the President-elect, sitting only twenty yards from me. It was overwhelming.
One of the pieces we sang that morning was "Hope, Faith, Life, Love" from the cycle Three Songs of Faith by composer Eric Whitacre. I loved performing the piece, and I was shocked that I had never heard of this composer before. With all the professional choral singing that I do, how had I never sung this gorgeous music? The piece is dense; thick and heavy with hypnotic beauty. There are suspensions everywhere, which I love, and being in the middle of the sound his music creates makes you feel grounded and satisfied in a way that is difficult to describe.