Frank Ticheli is associate professor of music at the University of Southern California and served as composer-in-residence with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra from 1991 to 1998. He has composed numerous works for bands and orchestras, as well as chamber and wind ensembles, and his music has won many prestigious awards. Simple Gifts is founded on Shaker songs. The first, "In Yonder Valley," is widely held to be the oldest surviving Shaker song with text. It is a simple hymn praising nature; listen for the birdcall sounds at the beginning. The second movement, "Dance," uses an 1830 Shaker tune which was probably sung in church by a small group while the rest of the congregation danced. The third movement, based on a Shaker lullaby, "Here Take This Lovely Flower," is a "gift song." These are songs that were received from spirits by Shaker mediums while in a trance. The piece ends with the most famous Shaker song, "Simple Gifts." --James Huff 21:36, March 25, 2007 (EDT) (from the program notes of The Claremont Winds, submitted with permission)