Leaves of Greens was performed Sunday, October 30 at the 2011 Southern Foodways Symposium.
Composer's Note, by Price Walden:
When the Southern Foodways Alliance first approached me with the idea of a “collard green opera,” my first instinct was to immediately run the other way. However, the more I thought about it, the better the idea seemed to me. The Southern tradition is full of things that are grandiose and larger- than-life; why not apply that notion to such a peculiar and beloved vegetable?
The bulk of the text comes from a collection of poems entitled Leaves of Greens: the Collard Poems, edited and compiled by Luke Whisnant and Alex Albright and published in 1984 by the annual Ayden Collard Green Festival in North Carolina. The music and lyrics are supplemented by a few more poems and traditional hymns. The structure of the piece is in 3 main parts, each dealing with a different aspect of Southern life: relationships with parents, Southern mythology, and relationships with grandparents.
Leaves of Greens is scored for soloists, choir, piano and percussion and lasts approximately 25 minutes.