Testimony

A choral piece inspired by interviews from the “It Gets Better Project.” It begins with individual expressions of self-hatred and despair that lead bullied and isolated young people to contemplate ending their lives, but moves to a collective assurance from their older counterparts who, having survived this storm, recount how much better their lives are and how grateful and glad they are to be living them.  Originally written for the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, “Testimony” has been widely performed by both men’s and mixed choruses and is available in both TTBB and SATB form.

TESTIMONY

By Stephen Schwartz, texts inspired by the “It Gets Better Project.”

I don’t want to be like this
I don’t want to be who I am
Every day that I don’t change
I blame myself
I am not trying hard enough
(I don’t want to be like this)
I am not trying hard enough
(I don’t want to be how I am)
When they find out
No one will love me
I’ll lose my family
And all of my friends
(I’m trapped like a fish with a hook in its mouth)

I am impersonating the person I show as me
I’m an imposter
I am a spy behind enemy lines
I pack my feelings so deep inside me
They turn to concrete
(I don’t want to be like this
I don’t want to be who I, how I, what I am)

Every night I ask God to end my life
(I am an abomination)

Overlapping:
God take this away or take me away …

I don’t want to be like this …
I don’t want to be who I am, I don’t want to be how I am,
I don’t want to be what I am
I don’t want to be anymore …
Today I’m going to hang myself
Today I’m going to slit my wrists
Today I’m going to jump off my building …
Take me away, take me away, take me away …

 

Video

It Gets Better “Testimony” – San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus

Resources

SATB & TTBB Sheet Music

 

 

 

 
Hang in, hang on
Wait just a little longer
Hang in, hang on
I know it now, I know it now
If I had made myself not exist
There is so much that I would have missed …

I would have missed
So many travels and adventures
More wonders than I knew could be
So many friends
With jokes and laughter, not to mention
The joy of living in authenticity
Sometimes I cry
Life can still be hard
But there’s no part of me
Still crying: “Hide me”
I would have missed
The chance to sing out like this
With people I love beside me

I have been brave
I grew, and so did those around me
And now look what a life I’ve earned
It gets more than better
It gets amazing and astounding
If I could reach my past, I’d tell him what I’ve learned:
I was more loved
Than I dared to know
There were open arms
I could not see
And when I die
And when it’s my time to go
I want to come back as me
I want to come back as me.