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Stephen Schwartz - "Testimony" Song

TestimonyTestimony Lyrics, Mp3 Download, Background

About "Testimony"

Broadway and film composer Stephen Schwartz wrote the choral number "Testimony" for a 2012 concert performance by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (www.SFGMC.org.) The song's journey began when Dr. Timothy Seelig, the artistic director for the group, asked permission to perform a concert entirely from Schwartz's catalog of songs from Broadway shows and movies. Schwartz not only approved the concert, but decided to write an original piece for them.

He had previously enjoyed writing multi-part choral harmonies for songs like "Children of Eden" and "In the Beginning" from his musical Children of Eden, and others, as well as a choral piece, "Keramos."

This this new work, he needed a subject and ideas for lyrics. Schwartz told a reporter, "I wanted to do something that was subject matter meaningful to the Chorus itself, to the organization." He ended up working with Dan Savage who, with his partner, had launched the "It Gets Better" project some years earlier. To develop the song, Schwartz watched many of the project's videos and drew phrases and feelings from the book It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living.

This approach was similar to his work on the 1978 Broadway musical Working, for which he and other songwriters drew from Studs Terkel's interviews of workers. About this latest venture, Schwartz has commented, “I liked using the words of the people who contributed to the ‘It Gets Better Project.' So 'Testimony' is quite authentic in terms of what’s being expressed, and then I just set it musically.”

Dr. Tim Seelig says, “In four decades of conducting and commissioning new choral works, ‘Testimony’ is one of the most profound works of choral art I have ever experienced.”


Broadway Records: "Testimony" at Broadway Records Essential Voices USA

The "It Gets Better" Project and Book

Testimony Lyrics Source: It Gets BetterIt Gets Better It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living

From the book description for "It Gets Better":

Growing up isn't easy. Many young people face daily tormenting and bullying, and this is especially true for LGBT kids and teens. In response to a number of tragic suicides by LGBT students, syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage uploaded a video to YouTube with his partner, Terry Miller. Speaking openly about the bullying they suffered, and how they both went on to lead rewarding adult lives, their video launched the It Gets Better Project YouTube channel and initiated a worldwide phenomenon.

It Gets Better [the book] is a collection of original essays and expanded testimonials written to teens from celebrities, political leaders, and everyday people, because while many LGBT teens can't see a positive future for themselves, we can.

Defying Gravity Stephen Schwartz biographyWE ALSO RECOMMEND:

Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked is the first and only biography of this popular songwriter. The author drew from her eighty hours of interviews with Schwartz, as well as from over 100 interviews with his colleagues, friends, and family members. DefyingGravityTheBook.com - available in paperback and ebook

"Testimony" Lyrics

TESTIMONY By Stephen Schwartz

The text is inspired by the "It Gets Better" project. It was written for the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus performance.

I don’t want to be like this
I don’t want to be who I am
Every day that I don’t change
I blame myself
I am not trying hard enough
(I don’t want to be like this)
I am not trying hard enough
(I don’t want to be how I am)

When they find out
No one will love me
I’ll lose my family
And all of my friends
(I’m trapped like a fish with a hook in its mouth)

I am impersonating the person I show as me
I’m an imposter
I am a spy behind enemy lines
I pack my feelings so deep inside me
They turn to concrete
(I don’t want to be like this
I don’t want to be who I, how I, what I am)

Every night I ask God to end my life
(I am an abomination)

God take this away or take me away …

I don’t want to be like this …
I don’t want to be who I am, I don’t want to be how I am, I don’t want to be what I am
I don’t want to be anymore …
Today I’m going to hang myself
Today I’m going to slit my wrists
Today I’m going to jump off my building …
Take me away, take me away, take me away …

Hang in, hang on
Wait just a little longer
Hang in, hang on
I know it now, I know it now
If I had made myself not exist
There is so much that I would have missed …

I would have missed
So many travels and adventures
More wonders than I knew could be
So many friends
With jokes and laughter, not to mention
The joy of living in authenticity
Sometimes I cry
Life can still be hard
But there’s no part of me
Still crying: “Hide me”
I would have missed
The chance to sing out like this
With people I love beside me

I have been brave
I grew, and so did those around me
And now look what a life I’ve earned
It gets more than better
It gets amazing and astounding
If I could reach my past, I’d tell him what I’ve learned:
I was more loved
Than I dared to know
There were open arms
I could not see
And when I die
And when it’s my time to go
I want to come back as me
I want to come back as me.

More Choral Music from Stephen Schwartz

see also Keramos and the Sheet Music page Choral music

Additional Articles on "Testimony"

Huffington Post story about "Testimony" "Testimony" article by Pollo Del Mar