SATB a cappella choir

Commissioned by Texas Choral Directors Association for their 2013 convention, "Vespertilians" has now been performed several times in Texas by professional and high school level choirs. The Latin text is taken from Ovid's epic poem "Metamorphoses," and describes three sisters who change into bats!

Perusal Score: 

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Order Sheet Music
Catalog Number: 
Publishing Series: 
JH Music
Total Pages: 
Commissioned By: 
Texas Choral Director's Association
Premiere Date: 
Premiere Ensemble: 
Cantare Houston
Premiere Conductor: 
Kevin Riehle

CANTARE Houston (Kevin Riehle, conductor)
Flower Mound High School Concert Choir (Dr. Mark Rohwer, conductor)

Text Author or Source: 

The day was ended and that time had come which you could say was neither light nor dark, uncertain night, when yet some day remains. It seemed as though the house suddenly shuddered, and unaccountably the oil lamps flared and blazing torches lit up every room, and howling all around them everywhere were the false images of savage beasts.
Meanwhile, the sisters have been seeking refuge in various places from the glaring flames, and as they try to slip into the shadows, a slender membrane glides over their limbs and meager wings enclose their withered arms; darkness conceals from them the true extent of the great changes now come over them; not downy feathers, but translucent wings sustain their flight, and when they try to speak, their much diminished bodies now emit only the very tiniest of voices, telling their woes in little high-pitched squeaks.
Shunning the woods, they congregate in houses, nocturnal fliers fearful of the day, creatures named for the time they first appear: vespertilians. [Or, as we say, bats.]

(For a line by line translation of the Latin, please contact the composer at