Homegrown Composition Honoring Mother Teresa To be Performed at NIU
October 20, 2017

DEKALB—A musical composition, “Poorest of the Poor,” written by NIU professor Thomas Bough about Mother Teresa of Calcutta, will be performed by the NIU Wind Symphony and the Concert Choir on Oct. 25 at 8 p.m.

The free performance will take place in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall in the Music Building on Lucinda Ave. at the east end of Northern Illinois University.

The composition was commissioned by the University of San Diego and their band director, Dr. Jeff Malecki. It was performed first by them on Sept. 25, 2016.

“The music was written to reflect (Mother Teresa’s) childhood in Albania, her life and work in Calcutta, and to literally tell her story in music and song,” says Dr. Bough.

“(It) begins with an Albanian folk dance that depicts the musical character of the land of her birth,” he says.

“Since her ministry in Calcutta, India, lasted nearly 50 years, the next portion of the music draws from the North Indian (Hindustani) tradition.  The melody of this section is based on the raga called Bhairavi, which includes a number of tones recognized in Western music as chromaticism.  The words of the song ... tell the story of her life and ministry, largely by quoting her favorite Bible verses.”

“Writing this piece has been an amazing journey,” Dr. Bough says, crediting several people’s help “to tell the story of Mother Teresa (now Saint Teresa) in the music and song.”