The overwhelming challenges of the past several years – political and social strife, natural disasters, and a worldwide pandemic – have threatened our physical and emotional welfare. The world seemed to be engulfed in flames, and, for many, the future seemed to be filled with despair. We hope that the listener is inspired by the choral artistry and passionate interpretation of the music on OUT OF THE ASHES and that this album may help everyone find the assurance of a better day.
Dies Irae opens the album by portraying the “day of wrath” and the feeling of “the earth dissolving into embers.” As the smoldering ruins sprawl before us, it is natural to feel lost, breathless, and desperate to find any sign of sanguinity. Holding Our Breath and Death Came A-Knockin portray the feelings of darkness and personal pain as we are both condemned and seeking culpability for the anguish we feel. Out of the shadows, we ask for a savior in Give Me Jesus, and seek the promise of a new paradise if only we can Hold On Just a Little While Longer. The familiar strains of the Ave Maria comfort us as we pray: Freedom Come for Me. It comes in the form of Sleep, and though the woods are still dark and thick, though the flames continue to flicker, and the ashes blow in the showering sparks, we have survived. We watch in awe as the sun slowly rises over an Unclouded Day. As this promised paradise is revealed, we begin to understand we are not powerless. The light of hope has returned, the work of our Healing Heart has begun, and we can lift our beautiful voices again in celebration of the Good News. Through a greatness beyond ourselves, we have a prayer in Sicut Cervus asking us to remember that like a deer needs water so to do we need a higher power that will promote a world of unity and love rather than hate. Just as the phoenix rises from its ashes, humankind has the power to create a new brilliant light in the hearts of the people that must forever shine. We must let This Little Light of (Ours) shine throughout the world to leave it with peace and a prayer for the Lord to abide with us in Dominum Vobiscum. It is in this glow that we all shall rise up and finally Fly Away.
— David Holdhusen