Shara Nova composer

The Crossing | Donald Nally conductor

Release Date: April 28, 2023
Catalog #: NV6504
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Vocal Music

TITRATION: a term used in chemistry to describe the process where two reagents are mixed drop by drop to avoid the explosive reaction that would occur from pouring them together quickly. Titration is also used to describe a therapeutic process in which one approaches trauma very slowly, “drop by drop,” so as to avoid unnecessary distress, flooding and potential re-traumatization. No title could be better fitting for Shara Nova’s new cycle of healing songs, recorded by The Crossing with conductor Donald Nally. TITRATION examines the experience of our own bodies, the capacity of our nervous systems, and the quest to identify and embrace our most difficult feelings. Styles converge, warm sounds emerge and voices soar next to laughter, humming, and the energy of Shara’s Indie band roots, with songs deeply inspired by Resmaa Menakem’s Somatic Abolitionist body of work and his call for communal practice. TITRATION offers a glimpse into various healing modalities while extending a hand of self-awareness to listeners alike.


Hear the full album on YouTube

"A remarkable cycle, remarkably performed and splendidly recorded."

Gramophone Magazine

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Freeze State Shara Nova The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor; Dimitri German, soloist 3:24
02 Safety In Peril or Calm Shara Nova The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor 3:04
03 What’s the Vibe, Vagus? Shara Nova The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor 1:05
04 Titration 1 Shara Nova The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor 1:02
05 How Do I Keep On Feelin’ In This Mean, Mean World Shara Nova The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor 2:08
06 Emotion Wheel Shara Nova The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor 2:46
07 Patterns of Protection Shara Nova The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor 5:11
08 The Grief of Which I Rarely Speak Shara Nova The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor 8:33
09 Titration 2 Shara Nova The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor 0:59
10 Turn Ya Head Shara Nova The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor 2:03
11 Imagine A Favorite Place Shara Nova The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor 4:25
12 I Seek to Change These Habits Shara Nova The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor 3:36
13 Yes / No Shara Nova The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor 2:11
14 I’m So Mad I Could Spit Nails Shara Nova The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor; Karen Blanchard, soloist; Maren Montalbano, soloist 5:19
15 Notice Sensation Shara Nova The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor 1:47
16 Pulses Shara Nova The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor 3:12
17 Titration 3 Shara Nova The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor 0:52

Katy Avery • Karen Blanchard • Micah Dingler • Joanna Gates • Dimitri German • Steven Hyder • A.J. Keller • Lauren Kelly • Anika Kildegaard • Maren Montalbano • Daniel O’Dea • Kyle Sackett • Rebecca Siler • Tiana Sorenson • Daniel Spratlan • Daniel Taylor • Shari Wilson

Kyle Sackett triangle
Daniel Schwartz glockenspiel

Donald Nally conductor
Kevin Vondrak assistant conductor
John Grecia keyboards
John Conahan, John Walthausen guest keyboards
Paul Vazquez sound designer

Titration was recorded August 10-12, 2022 at St. Peter’s Church in the Great Valley, Malvern PA

Titration was premiered August 5, 2022 at The Warren Miller Performing Arts Center in Big Sky MT
Executive Director/Artistic Director John Zirkle

Recording Producers Paul Vazquez, Shara Nova, Donald Nally, Kevin Vondrak
Recording Engineer Paul Vazquez
Assistant Recording Engineer Dante Portella
Editing, Mixing & Mastering Paul Vazquez

Titration was commissioned by The Crossing – Donald Nally, conductor, the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center in Big Sky MT, & Conspirare – Craig Hella Johnson, conductor; with support from Anne and Dennis Wentz and the Joel Brauer Fund for New Music.

Shara Nova’s music is published by Blue Sword (ASCAP) administered by Domino Publishing Company USA (ASCAP)

Album artwork by DM Stith

This album is made possible through the generous support of Carol Westfall, longtime friend and benefactor of The Crossing.

Katy Avery
Timothy V. Blair
Tyler Carrigan
Phil Cooke vice president
Mallory Dennis
Micah Dingler
Shawn Felton
Mary D. Hangley
Lisa Husseini
Cynthia A. Jarvis
Anika Kildegaard
Mary Kinder Loiselle
Michael M. Meloy
Donald Nally conductor
Pam Prior treasurer
Andrew Quint
Kim Shiley president
Carol Loeb Shloss secretary
Elizabeth Van de Water

Donald Nally conductor
Jonathan Bradley executive director
Kevin Vondrak assistant conductor and artistic associate
Shannon McMahon operations manager
Carolyn Merritt grant manager
Paul Vazquez sound designer
Elizabeth Dugan bookkeeper

The Crossing is represented by Alliance Artist Management.


Executive Producer Bob Lord

A&R Director Brandon MacNeil

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming, Morgan Hauber
Publicity Patrick Niland

Artist Information

Shara Nova


Shara Nova has released five albums under the moniker My Brightest Diamond and has composed works for yMusic, Brooklyn Rider, Nadia Sirota, Conspirare, Cantus Domus, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Roomful of Teeth, and many community choirs, as well as Aarhus Symfoni, North Carolina Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, and the BBC Concert Orchestra, among others.

The Crossing


The Crossing is a professional chamber choir conducted by Donald Nally, dedicated to performing new music and committed to addressing social, environmental, and political issues through nearly 180 commissioned premieres. Collaborating with prestigious ensembles and venues like the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, Park Avenue Armory, Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall, The Crossing has released 33 albums, earning three GRAMMY® Awards for Best Choral Performance and multiple nominations. The Crossing is Musical American 2024 Ensemble of The Year.

Donald Nally

Donald Nally


Donald Nally collaborates with creative artists, leading orchestras, and art museums to make new works for choir that address social and environmental issues. He has commissioned over 180 works and, with The Crossing, has 29 recordings, with two Grammy Awards and eight nominations. Nally has served as chorus master at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Welsh National Opera, Opera Philadelphia, and the Spoleto Festival in Italy.


Titration is a choral song cycle composed during the spring and early summer of 2022. As a person of southern heritage, growing up in a politically conservative family, but having traveled a “moon trip’s distance” philosophically from home, the political debates of the country always land at the dinner table, deeply dividing my family, and also dividing me. We disagree on a great many topics, and yet I love my family dearly. I carry the contradictions and tensions of my family within me, no matter how far away I may fly.

Home is complicated. Is home a feeling of safety? How is safety created? How do I make home in myself? How can we disagree so strongly, and still come to the table together? How do we make a society where all bodies can experience the same promise of safety? How can I become a safer person for other people? How do I work through difficult emotions like fear, grief, disgust or rage? How can I grow in my capacity to feel more?

As a child I often understood the best way to deal with big feelings was to go silently into my bedroom and remain there until I could come out with a “better attitude.” The story of my learning how to identify feelings and stay connected to my body is ongoing. The details of what has happened to me personally to make emotion and body awareness difficult were not necessary to tell. Instead I wanted to share some explorations in asking the question, “How do I keep on feeling in this mean, mean world?”

The song cycle is not a therapeutic model, but points to healing modalities, teachers, and ancient practices about which I hope you, the listener, will become curious to research. There is a “how” which I did not invent, but that can be cultivated deliberately. I would like to acknowledge and offer gratitude to the Somatic Abolitionist body of work of Resmaa Menakem specifically from whom I am learning to value humming, to orient to a space, to rock myself, to notice the silence, to notice the rage, and the importance of gathering with others in practice to heal racialized trauma. To the work of 4000 years of Qi-Gong practitioners and to Master Chunyi Lin and Master Daniel Li. To polyvagal theory author Deb Dana. To my compassionate Somatic Experiencing therapist. To artist Helga Davis who held my hand and told me about the co-regulation of heart rates. To everyone who has come together to practice with me, and to Laughter Yoga.

– Shara Nova

We are grateful for:
our artists, composers, audience, friends, and supporters;
The Warren Miller Performing Arts Center, Big Sky MT, John Zirkle, executive director/artistic director;
the staff and congregation at our home, The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill;

those who opened their homes to our artists during the recording of Titration:
Jeff and Liz Podraza, Corbin Abernathy and Andrew Beck, Daniel Schwartz and Michael Rowley, Lauren Kelly and Henry Koch, Anika Kildegaard and David Lemke, Steven Hyder and Donald Nally.

Shara would like to also thank her manager Andrea Troolin at Ekonomisk Management, Alyson Miller at Sound Accountants, Domino Publishing, as well as Anya Lynn Scarborough, Merrill Garbus, Toni Hartley, Casey Foubert, Aubri Adkins, Melanie Cooper-Pennington, Nathan Thatcher, Clay Gonzales, Douglas Hertz & Molly Joyce, and forever, Constantine Worden.

With love to my father and mother who first taught me to love singing together.


Freeze State
So afraid
Of danger


So afraid
I could not sleep
I could not eat

So afraid
I didn’t know what to do

What are you talking about?
Say you are sorry.
A blank-ness
I told you not to go over there
If you touch him again I’m going to break your hand
Stare at the wall
I didn’t know what to do
Stare at the wall
Come to the bathroom
I didn’t know what to do

…but ff-ff-ff-ff-ff-freeze

Wiggle it out

Safety in peril or calm
I hum to myself
I am returning home
whenever and wherever I hum
Turning in
Tune to myself
Where is the pulse?
How do I feel?
and if I still don’t know
If I still can’t find calm
Because Toshi Reagon ask…

What’s the vibe?
How do you know before you know?
How do you know
what’s the vibe?

How do I keep on feelin’ in this mean, mean world?
How do I keep this softness alive
with all this dying?
How do I build myself strong for the task at hand?
How? How?
How do I keep on feelin’ when I want to hide away?
Stay in the feeling
Stay in the feeling body
Stay in the feeling in body
A. Surprise
B. Happiness
C. Sadness
D. Disgust
E. Anger
F. Fear
G. Panic / Overwhelm
H. Surprise
I. Happiness
J. Disgust / Disappointment / Desperation / Repulsion / Anger / Delight / Stress / Annoyance / Exasperation / Fury
in honor of the 21 people murdered in the Uvalde TX school shooting

Patterns of Protection

Notice the Silences
Notice the Subject Change
Notice the Shaking
Notice the Rage

Mother taught me the pattern
Father taught me the pattern
Neighbors kept a consensus

Patterns of Protection
Change the Pattern

dedicated to those who have lost loved ones by suicide

The grief of which I rarely speak
finds its sound in private spaces

The hole of my mouth
is a pathway to the bottomless inkwell

I look for you in the blowing grass
I search for your cloud in my teacup
I check under my boot soles
are you there?

in the hole in the sky
a hole in the ground
the lights have changed in my constellation
how do I know where I am without you?
In the wake of your passing I ache.

To those with easy sayings
To those with short answers,
leave me and let me weep a while.

The grief of which I rarely speak
And to know…
I ache.

In the wake of your passing, I ache.
I know you in the blowing grass
I know the cloud in my teacup
I check under my boot soles
Are you there?

In the sky
The ground
Lights have changed in my constellation
How do I know where I am
How do I know
The lights

Look Look Around
Turn ya head around
Notice the exits
Notice the window
Notice the entrances
Notice the path leading away

Notice the body
Notice the change
Notice sensation

Imagine a favorite place
An open green field
Or a blowing wind through the forest

Imagine a favorite resting place
A candle flame on your nightstand
The coffee smell on the morning air
The afternoon light on your hugging chair

Imagine an ocean side or a cloud ride…

I seek to change these habits of avoidance
I disrupt my comfort
I interrupt my numbness
I brave disintegration
Exchange shame through honorable deeds

I seek to trade these habits of avoidance
For a new pattern
I disrupt my comfort
I interrupt my numbness
I brave disintegration
Exchange shame through honorable deeds

Do not abandon high ideals
Habits of harm
Do not run to distraction
Unresolved disappointments
Be curious curious
Projected fear
In cellular pattern

Increase Joy
your discomfort to find more Joy
Embrace this Terror
with persistent kindness
and insistence
Persistent Kindness

Yes / No

I’m so mad I could spit nails
I might shoot fire from my ears

M y   r a g e
M y   r a g e
My rage is as old as an age

Titrate Try Titration
Voo Voo
My rage

My eyes are daggers for days
I make my point in different ways
My throat’s aflame a fire
My belly burnin’ up with ire
Comin’ easy to my lips
I’m so mad I could spit

I’m so mad I could spit nails
Somatic I could spit nails
I’m so mad

This feeling got me sick
I’m so mad I could spit
Enough! Enough! Enough!
You are a pain in the neck
Enough! Enough! Enough!
You might be my death
My rage
My head is burnin’ up
My head is burnin’
My rage
From where do you shake?

Shake it out
Shake it out
Shake it out
Shake it out

Check in with the Body
Notice constriction
Notice the places of movement
The gripping
The buzz

Notice the rate of your breath
The width of your shoulders
The feeling in your hips

What is the body telling you?
Practice the pausing

Notice sensation

dedicated to Helga Davis

Do you know when we hold hands our pulses find one another?
Did you know when we hold hands our pulses find each other?
Find each other…
When we find each other, our pulses meet

[laughing / crying]


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