Opera Philadelphia

Discovering Hope

Dr. Derrick Thompson, Director of Choral Activities for Delaware State University, has developed the following lesson plan as a response to Movement II and V of Cycles of My Being.

II. Hope (pt. 1)

When walking hope is a swagger
When breathing hope is oxygen
When drunk hope is wine
When dirty hope is water
When unfilled hope is a well
When unwell hope is medicine
When impatient hope is patience
When lonely hope is company
When poor hope is money
When hungry hope is meat
When hunted hope is a knife
When sleeping hope is a lullaby
When angry hope is a blade
When wounded hope is what heals me.

V. Hope (pt. 2)
When weary hope is a hymn
When uninspired hope is vision
When perplexed hope is reason
When unsettled hope is peace
When lost hope is direction
When frustrated hope is calm
When unsure hope is certainty
When worried hope is serenity
When betrayed hope is forgiveness
When depleted hope is reserve
When dancing hope becomes grace
When fatigued hope is a second wind
When dead hope is life.

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About Dr. Thompson

Derrick L. Thompson, baritone, choral conductor, and music educator is a native of Madison Heights, Virginia. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music with an emphasis in vocal music education from Lynchburg College (2008), a Master of Arts degree in music from Morgan State University (2010), and a Master of Education in Music and Music Education (2018) and a Doctor of Education in the College Teaching of Music and Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University (2019). He is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in choral conducting from Messiah University.

Dr. Thompson made his professional vocal debut in 2007 with the Opera on the James (Lynchburg, Virginia) as the Duke in Gounod's Romeo et Juliette. He is an active recitalist, chamber musician, and operatic performer. His most recent performances include bass soloist in Faure’s Requiem, Rutter’s Mass of the Children, and Handel's Messiah; Ben in Menotti's The Telephone, Prince Torado in Dunbar's Dream Lovers, bass soloist for Beethoven's Mass in C Major, King Balthazzar and the Page in Amahl and the Night Visitors and more. Dr. Thompson made his Maryland debut in November 2008 as the baritone soloist for the world premiere of the oratorio, The Chartered Course, celebrating the 300th Anniversary of the City of Annapolis.

Dr. Thompson spent his 2010-2011 season as the artistic director and conductor of the Tianjin Concert Hall's Mulan Children's Choir (Tianjin, China) and made his debut as a soloist with the International Festival Chorus (Beijing, China) and Peking Sinfonietta in Handel's Messiah. In April, he returned to the stage in his role debut as Jesus/Bass Soloist in Bach's St. Johannes-Passion. Dr. Thompson also taught private voice lessons while in China, having two young students placing first and second place in the Hong Kong Young Artist Competition.

In May 2014, Dr. Thompson recorded his first CD titled ‘Spirituals,’ including selections by composers such as Harry T. Burleigh, Moses Hogan, and Jacqueline Hairston.

Dr. Thompson’s conducting career continues to grow as he serves as a guest conductor and clinician for numerous district, county, and all-state choral performances. His most recent engagements include guest conductor for Louisa All-County Elementary Chorus, Campbell All-County Elementary Chorus, and Richmond All-City Middle School Chorus. He remains an active researcher in the field of choral and vocal music. His research interest involves developing the young singing voice, communication in the choral rehearsal, and teaching methodologies for the choral and applied voice setting. His most recent writings can be found in ChorTeach: Practical Teaching Ideas for Today’s Music Educator.

For eight years, Dr. Thompson taught in the Virginia school system, teaching elementary general music and conducting middle and high school choirs. He has also served as an adjunct faculty member at Lynchburg College and Teachers College, Columbia University. Dr. Thompson is currently in his second year at Delaware State University, where he serves as the Director of Choral Activities and Visiting Assistant Professor of Music. Dr. Thompson also serves on the board of the Delaware Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association as Chair of Diversity Initiatives.

Dedicated funding for the Sounds of Learning Dress Rehearsal Program has been provided by The William Penn Foundation, Hamilton Family Charitable Trust, Eugene Garfield Foundation, Wells Fargo, Universal Health Services, Hirsig Family Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation, The McLean Contributionship, and Mr. William A. Loeb

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