Music from "Body Soldiers"

SKIM performs "Make it out" by Ted Hearne

SKIM performs "Make it out" by Ted Hearne


written for five-to-six musicians:
cello, horn (doubling accordion), electric guitar, piano, drums
with sung and spoken word parts

Body Soldiers
Jan. 2008, Chicago

performed by Josephine Lee and SKIM
Nathan Koci, Jody Redhage, David Hanlon, Taylor Levine, Ron Wiltrout
directed by Mollie Stone and Ted Hearne

additional performances:
Opera On Tap/VisionIntoArt/Beth Morrison Productions
21c. Liederabend; Galapagos, Brooklyn NY, November 2009
performed by Isaiah Robinson and SKIM

Tribeca New Music Festival, New York, May 2010
performed by Josephine Lee and SKIM

Body Soldiers is an evening-length concert, conceived by Mollie Stone and Ted Hearne. It combines original works and arrangements by Ted Hearne with music we learned on our two-month trip to South Africa in 2006, when we visited choirs who were adapting the words and dance movements of anti-Apartheid songs to reflect their current struggle against the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Spearheaded by choral conductor Mollie Stone, we taught several traditional Xhosa and Zulu songs that have been adapted to directly address the pandemic to a choir from Chicago. It is an educational performance that seeks to explore the ways in which music can be used as a vehicle for social change.

Two of the original pieces I composed for Body Soldiers can be heard below:


text by SKIM
Anyday she's due, she's coming,
But the money we need, we have none
Can't let her fill my shoes, cuz I'm already half done
If only, they gave us all the medicine
They say it coulda cured the birth of my innocent
My unborn, coulda been protected
The rich buy treatment
but my child won't reach it, why?
forgive me, spirit knows I have tried
But it seems I been strugglin just to find

Prosperity is their destiny, Poverty is mine
Prosperity is their destiny, Poverty is mine

And now we're running,
Out of time

One of us won't make it out…

How can you watch me die, my condition is medical
How can you watch us die? the solution is political
My love equals lust in your eyes
But for your sins, why should I die
I'm gay and alive, Wearin no disguise
but my smile despite how wild–
this diagnosis mysterious
they might have a treatment but I never seen it
they said this is the punishment,
a plague for gays—AIDS,
God made this, they say
homos oh no ain't supposed to make it
Passed away and they praised him - a hero?
When he killed so many people
But they commend the predator, condemn the prey
idolize my killer and ignore my pain

One of us won't make it out…

What can I say? I like her and she likes looking my way
See I got what it takes, to do what I need, then shake
Let me demonstrate,
This is the way I operate
Get her in bed and alternate
new day, new names,
numbers in my pocket, Condoms,
Win some, lose some, Who's really countin?
This is me-
High school fantasies, what I see
every girl in this city my sweet treat,
H.I.V. can't stop me, please,
blood tests forget it, I'm clean cuz I said it
only mess with the fresh and innocent
Cuz they listen
They listen

One of us won't make it out…

Infections every day, Moans of pain
hospital occupations contain
psychological strain, Mental concentration,
Trainin for physical gain
Nowhere to be found,
Like after Katrina,
No FEMA on the grounds
I can't believe the pace, the rate of this disease spreadin in haste,
And I still pray its fake
I slipped and the needle pricked my skin,
I went blank, my heart sank,
and I ran to the sink
How could this be?
This shouldn't be me
(Results take too long, and come too soon)
My baby needs me, what will I do?

One of us won't make it out…
I'm sure it won't be me.


In this part of the performance, we examine the experience of a black South African man being diagnosed by a medical professional. The accompany music paints the ensuing confusion, shock, and perhaps the giant cultural divide between doctor and patient.

text by Janina Morrison, M.D. M.P.H.

You have AIDS.

You can't believe it? Let me explain.

Your blood has tested positive for the antibody to the human immunodeficiency virus. Your blood was first tested by an enzyme immune assay known as the ELISA test. This demonstrated the presence of HIV antibodies and was then confirmed by a Western Blot test. These tests are extremely accurate.

Therefore, you are infected with HIV.

Your blood has also been tested for levels of the particular immune cells most affected by HIV, the t-helper cells, also known as CD4 cells. The number of CD4 cells in your blood is your CD4 count. Your CD4 count is 100. Any CD4 count below 200 is considered indicative of the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

So, like I said, you have AIDS.

Am I going too fast? HIV. CD4. AIDS. Any questions?

You seem like maybe you'd like a bit more information.

The human immunodeficiency virus is an encapsulated single-stranded RNA retrovirus, coated with CD4 receptors which bind helper T cells of the human immune system, facilitated by coreceptors which strengthen the interaction. CD4. CCR5. CXCR4.

Because your CD4 count has fallen below 200, you are now at risk for infections that take advantage of your weakened immune system. These are called opportunistic infections and include tuberculosis, pneumocystis, Kaposi sarcoma, cytomegalovirus, candidiasis, aspergillosis, progressive multi-focal leukoencephalopathy, oral hairy leukoplakia, and toxoplasmosis.

Too much information? Well, how about some good news? Because your CD4 count is below 200 and you have come to our clinic, you are eligible for treatment. First you will receive vitamins. And bactrim, which protects you from some infections. And we encourage you to eat a healthy diet with lots of vegetables and protein-rich, low-fat meats. Even better, though, if you qualify for our internationally recognized, globally funded, cutting-edge, state of the art, developing world, low resource, research-oriented, potentially short term, possibly sustainable protocol, you may have the opportunity to receive anti-retrovirals.

These include nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors like
nevirapine, also known as viramune
zidovudine, aka AZT
lamivudine, aka 3TC
stavudine, aka d4T
Also, possibly, protease inhibitors, such as
Idinavir, ritonavir, nelfinavir, saquinavir, tipranavir, fosemprinavir, atazanafir
You must be taking at least three drugs at all times to prevent mutation of the virus. You must take your three drugs every day. You must take the drugs at the same time each day. If you make mistakes with your drugs, your virus may become resistant to the drugs. Some of the drugs must be taken with food. Some of the drugs must be taken on an empty stomach. Some of the drugs will make you nauseous. Some of the drugs will make you feel full. Some of the drugs will make you gain weight. Some of the drugs will give you diarrhea. Some of the drugs will give you a headache. Some of the drugs will make you depressed.

If you do not take these drugs, you will die.



Place (2018, 80 min.)
18 instruments, 6 voices
Sound from the Bench (2014/2017, 40 min.)
mixed choir with 2 electric guitars and percussion
Coloring Book (for Roomful of Teeth) (2015, 30 min.)
vocal octet
The Source (2014, 65 min.)
7 instruments, 4 voices
Partition (2010, 20 min.)
mixed choir with full orchestra
Katrina Ballads (2007, 60 min.)
11 instruments, 5 voices


Brass Tacks (2018, 6 min.)
large orchestra
Miami in Movements (2017, 35 min.)
large orchestra with video
Dispatches (2015, 18 min.)
large orchestra
Respirator (2015, 13 min.)
chamber orchestra
Stem (2013, 25 min.)
large orchestra
Law of Mosaics (2012, 30 min.)
string orchestra
Erasure Scherzo (2012, 6 min.)
large orchestra
Word for Word (2011, 10 min.)
large orchestra
Shizz (2010/2017, 4 min.)
versions for large orchestra and chamber orchestra
Build a Room (2010, 20 min.)
concerto for trumpet and orchestra
Patriot (2007, 9 min.)
large orchestra


DaVZ23BzMH0 (2016, 7 min.)
solo cello, with electronics
Parlor Diplomacy (2011, 20 min.)
solo piano
Nobody's (2010, 4 min.)
solo violin


(2-5 instruments)

Exposure (2017, 18 min.)
string quartet
To Be the Thing (2017, 10 min.)
voice, electric guitar and percussion, with live electronics
The Answer to the Question That Wings Ask (2016, 11 min.)
string quartet and narrator
Furtive Movements (2013, 14 min.)
cello and percussion
Interlude for Fingers (2013, 4 min.)
two vibraphones
Candy (2011, 8 min.)
electric guitar quartet
Thaw (2009, 12 min.)
percussion quartet
Ghostspace (2009, 8 min.)
mixed quartet (accordion, electric guitar, piano, drums)
Vessels (2008, 10 min.)
trio (violin, viola, piano)
Crib Dweller (2007, 8 min.)
mixed quintet (bass clarinet, elec. guitar, trumpet, trombone, horn)
23 (2005, 8 min.)
mixed quintet (flute, horn, elec. guitar, piano, drums)
Warning Song (2006, 7 min.)
voice and cello, with electronics
One of Us, One of Them (2005, 8 min.)
piano and percussion
Forcefield (2004, 5 min.)
viola and vibraphone

(6-13 instruments)

One Like (2016, 7 min.)
14 musicians
For the Love of Charles Mingus (2016, 9 min.)
6 violins
Baby [an argument] (2016, 11 min.)
10 musicians
By-By Huey (2014, 10 min.)
sextet (fl, bcl, vln, vc, pno, perc)
"The Cage" Variations (2014, 20 min.)
6 instruments (fl, cl/bcl, vln, vc, pno, perc) with baritone solo
Crispy Gentlemen (2012, 15 min.)
7 instruments (fl/picc, cl/bcl, vln, vla, vc, pno, perc)
But I Voted for Shirley Chisholm (2012, 8 min.)
11 instruments+tape
Randos (2012, 8 min.)
7 instruments (L'Histoire septet)
Cutest Little Arbitrage (2011, 12 min.)
6 instruments (2 sax, trombone + rhythm section)
Is it Dirty (2010, 8 min.)
16 instruments with 2 singers
versions for 10 instruments and 6 instruments
Eyelid Margin (2009, 12 min.)
10 instruments (brass quintet + 5 double-reeds)
Snowball (2008, 6 min.)
8 instruments (bcl, tpt, tbn, vln, acc, egtr, pno, dr)
version for 7 instruments (bcl, bn, tpt, tbn, vln, db, perc)
Illuminating the Maze (2008/2016, 15 min.)
6 instruments (tpt, hn, tbn, egtr, pno, dr)
version for 11 instruments
Music from "Body Soldiers" (2008, 10 min.)
5 instruments + singer
Cordavi and Fig (2007, 8 min.)
13 instruments
Antiphon (2003, 8 min.)
9 instruments (3 cl, bcl, 3 tpt, tbn, pno)


Animals (2018, 9 min.)
Fervor (2018, 3 min.)
What it might say (2016, 5 min.)
Coloring Book (2015, 30 min.)
Consent (2014, 7 min.)
Ripple (2012, 10 min.)
Privilege (2009, 14 min.)
Mass for St. Mary’s (2008, 10 min.)

Music for youth choir:
Room for Something (2011, 8 min.)
Away (2010, 6 min.)
Because (2006, 6 min.)
Murder on the Road in Alabama (2003, 6 min.)


Like Glass (Dorothea Lasky songs) (2017-19)
voice and ensemble; versions for voice and piano
To Be the Thing (2017, 10 min.)
voice, electric guitar and percussion, with live electronics
Intimacy and Resistance (2010, 5 min.)
voice and piano
Charleston Songbook (2008, 20 min.)
voice and piano w/ lead sheets
I Remember (2007, 8 min.)
for three sopranos, or one soprano with electronics
I Carry Your Heart (2007, 5 min.)
voice and piano
Warning Song (2006, 7 min.)
voice and cello, with electronics


We Are Radios (2018)
Miami in Movements (2017)
The Answer to the Question That Wings Ask (2016,)
Hand Eye (2015)
New Dances for the League of David (2014) 
You're Causing Quite a Disturbance (2013)
R WE WHO R WE (2013)
Histories (2012)