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Come My Tan-Faced Children (2019)

for mezzo-soprano and piano | 00:05:40

by Melissa Dunphy | text by Walt Whitman

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Come, My Tan-Faced Children was commissioned by Lyric Fest for premiere at "Carol of Words - Walt Whitman in Song" (Suzanne DuPlantis & Laura Ward, Artistic Directors), and written for Raehann Bryce-Davis.

The composer particularly recommends this work for performers of color.

Listen to a podcast about the creation of this work here:

Come, my tan-faced children,
Follow well in order, get your weapons ready;
Have you your pistols? have you your sharp edged axes?

For we cannot tarry here,
We must march my darlings, we must bear the brunt of danger,
We, the youthful sinewy races, all the rest on us depend.

O resistless, restless race!
O beloved race in all! O my breast aches with tender love for all!
O I mourn and yet exult—I am rapt with love for all!

Adapted from "Pioneers! O Pioneers!" by Walt Whitman
First published in Drum-Taps, 1865

Artwork by Melissa Dunphy


  • 03 Nov, 2019: MaKayla M. McDonald at Old North Church, Marblehead, MA
  • 02 Nov, 2019: MaKayla M. McDonald at Old West Church, Boston, MA
  • 09 Apr, 2019: Raehann Bryce-Davis (Lyric Fest) at The Church of St. Matthew & St. Timothy, New York, NY
  • 06 Apr, 2019: Raehann Bryce-Davis (Lyric Fest) at Academy of Vocal Arts, Philadelphia, PA


  • Calliope's Call Art Song and Vocal Chamber Music Call for Scores Winner 2019