Invitation to Love for SSA a cappella


Invitation to Love won First Prize in Category 3 of The King’s Singers New Music Prize. Category 3 is for children’s choir and the piece works equally well for women’s voices. This is the world premiere given 28 February 2021 by Cathedra, directed by Michael McCarthy, at Washington National Cathedral.

The text is by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) who was an American poet, novelist, and short story writer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Born in Ohio to freed slaves from Kentucky, he became one of the first influential Black poets in American literature.


Come when the nights are bright with stars
Or (come) when the moon is mellow;
Come when the sun his golden bars
Drops on the hay-field yellow.
Come in the twilight soft and gray,
Come in the night or come in the day,
Come, O love, whene’er you may,
And you are welcome, welcome.


You are sweet, O Love, dear Love,
You are soft as the nesting dove.
Come to my heart and bring it rest
As the bird flies home to its welcome nest.


Come when my heart is full of grief
Or (come) when my heart is merry;
Come with the falling of the leaf
Or with the redd’ning cherry.
Come when the year’s first blossom blows,
Come when the summer gleams and glows,
Come with the winter’s drifting snows,
And you are welcome, welcome.