DERRY — Pinkerton Academy will have a new song to honor its 200th anniversary.
University of New Hampshire music professor Andrew Boysen has been commissioned by the Derry high school to write a musical work to help honor the milestone.
In a fitting tribute to Pinkerton, the words of poet Robert Frost’s poem “A Prayer in Spring” will be the song’s lyrics. Frost taught English at Pinkerton while he lived at his Derry farm on Route 28.
The new song will join Pinkerton choral students and wind ensemble musicians and will be performed for the first time at a special anniversary event in the fall.
“I’m really happy that this worked out,” Boysen told music students during a presentation March 14. “This is definitely something I wanted to do.”
Boysen spoke to several classes to explain his process for writing a new work and why choosing this particular Frost poem was important.
Having the Frost connection is one more added highlight to make the anniversary work all the more special for students, staff and alumni as they celebrate the school’s birthday this year.
Boysen said it is believed “A Prayer in Spring” was written around the time Frost lived and worked in Derry.
The four-stanza work has all the right words to give those who hear the song a sense of what Frost was thinking then, but how universal the text remains today.
“It’s all about appreciating what you have today,” Boysen said.
Some of those words, “Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today; and give us not to think so far away,” remain timeless to this day, he said.
Boysen has been called upon to create special works before. Having a special song for Pinkerton was proving to be a challenge at the start.
“What kind of impression am I going to leave with this piece?” Boysen asked the students. “There is a lot of thinking ahead as I sit at the piano.”
Putting four simple stanzas of a Frost poem can go in may directions, he added. As a composer, he wants to create a certain style of music that listeners can appreciate.
There will be hints of his own musical interests and styles within the piece. He has sketched out the piece, but hasn’t decided on his ending just yet.
Boysen said there is nothing more American than Frost’s words and he hopes he does the poet justice.
“I think it fits with the text,” he said of his music. “It will sort of have an Americana-ish flare to it. Hopefully, it’s a good marriage between the two.”
Pinkerton Academy will host many special events this year to honor the 200th anniversary. Information is available at pinkertonacademy.org.