top of page
cover page to the score to John F Paul's How I came to be

How I came to be - SATB choir, violin and narrator


Kim Stafford's poem "How I came to be" caught my attention when it appeared in the Spring 2011 edition of Portland Magazine. The poem relays the story of how Kim's parents (the poet William Stafford and wife Dorothy) meet during World War II. Not all poetry gets my composition juices flowing, especially modern poetry, but by the fourth line of Kim's poem I was already imagining a choral setting with solo violin. By the time I got to the word "decrescendo" I was hooked! Work on the piece did not begin in earnest until December 2012, shortly after the passing of my mother, who could cook but never quoted Willa Cather in my presence. The piece was written for the Marylhurst Chorale to celebrate my parents' 61 years of marriage. Theirs was a quiet endeavor that began shortly after the Good War, continued through the raising of three children, and faced its toughest challenge at the end battling my mom's Parkinson's disease. May we all be so fortunate as Kim's and my parents, finding our own code to "knit the world together once again."


The premier took place March 2013 at Marylhurst with Kim, Kim's mother Dorothy, and Kim's family in the audience.

  • File format

    Downloadable .zip file includes the choral part and violin part.

bottom of page