Text adapted by the composer from "Hopi Prophesy" and quote by Edward E. Hale (1822-1909)

— from the DARE TO BE POWERFUL choral series —

"River" was commissioned by the Cincinnati Children's Choir whose mission is Building Tomorrow's Leaders, one Voice at a Time. I hoped to create a new work that related to CCC's mission and to the lives of the singers. As the threat of climate change accelerates, we all— young people in particular face an uncertain future together on Earth. The opening theme of "River" on the words, "There is a river now flowing fast, flowing very fast" develops with ever growing urgency by means of texture and key changes while accompanied by an unrelenting piano groove. The tension breaks with a single hopeful voice— a call to action. The full chorus joins in and "River" flows into a celebration of empowered community.


Item Voicing/Instrumentation Duration Price Audio View Score Quantity
digital download
SSAA, piano 5:15 $2.25
JS-059 digital purchase only N/A https://joanszymko.com/sites/joanszymko.com/files/audio_samples/02%20River%20mp3.mp3
digital download
SATB, piano 5:15 $2.25
JS-059MX digital purchase only N/A

Audio Credits: 

SSAA: Cincinnati Children's Choir, Robyn Lana, director; SATB: See YouTube below


Joan Szymko

Year Composed: 



Native American Elder(s) circa 2000, Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909);

text adapted by Joan Szymko

There is a river now flowing very fast.

It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid.

They will try to hold on to the shore.

They will feel that they are being torn apart.

There is a river now flowing very fast.

I am only one, but I am one.

I cannot do everything, but I can do something.

And because I can't do everything, 

I will not refuse to do the something I can do.

What I can do, I should do. 

And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do. (Edward E. Hale)

Let go! Let go of the shore! 

Push off into the middle of the river.

See who is there with you and celebrate!

We are the ones we have been waiting for.


digital download

"River" (J. Szymko) - UUSM vocalists