Oh Me! is a modern choral setting of texts compiled from Shakespeare sonnets, classical poetry, and actual messages men have sent to women on dating applications such as OKCupid and Tinder.

For my fourth consecutive year at the Choral Chameleon Composers Institute, I felt like taking a break from my usual Google Variations approach to see if a different kind of music emerged.

And then I ended up with a text that pretty much did exactly what I do with the Google Variations. Particularly All The Heart (interested to hear if other people hear the similarities).

I assembled the text for this piece as a mash up of lines from classical poetry, Shakespeare sonnets, and actual messages men have sent to women on dating applications such as Tinder and OKCupid. In this context, it is not always easy to tell the florid, overwrought prose sent by modern day Romeos from the original poems they were mimicking. I was particularly interested in exploring what makes some expressions of affection endearingly romantic and others disturbingly creepy. It is also fascinating (albeit horrifying) to see how quickly these declarations of undying love turn to aggression when the objects of their fantasies don’t respond they way they’re expected to. While some moments of the piece may seem comedic, the underlying dynamics of these exchanges are anything but.

I’m particularly happy with the section right around 3:40 (which was a particularly hard chunk to write… but is kinda the heart of the piece for me). I wrestled with keeping the male voices of the piece from being overly comic or overly sympathetic. The setting needs the right balance of absurdity, awkwardness, arrogance, and underlying menace. I also thought it was important to give the women the last word, even if it’s infused by self-doubt…


Oh Me!
O me! what eyes hath love put in my head?
Listen up and listen good my dark haired goddess
I came across your profile and was quite enamored
by such an articulate, heavenly blessed beauty
No less than a wonder by Nature designed.
People like you exist and yet
I contemplate that my eyes but deceive me
as I have dreamt of the day that we would meet.
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear’d with sluttish time.
Beautiful smile and hair is profile pic! What brings site to you this?
What new paradigms could our lives beseech through commonality
I don’t have any issues physically or emotionally.
My love is like a melody that’s sweetly played in tune.

Walk with me when your heart needs company,
Take my hand when you feel all alone,
Turn to me when you need someone to lean on,
Coz I’m the one you can always depend on!
Thou art my life, my love, my heart, The very eyes of me
When are you come for be my bride?

I’m sorry if it’s a rude question, but I’m just being honest.
I attract a lot of bad energy. People always want to fight me.
I have needs…
You owe me!
Listen up and listen good.
Never say that I was false of heart
Did I do something wrong?