COVID Positive

Instrumentation: SATB & Piano, SSAA & Piano, TTBB &Piano
Purchase: Contact composer directly
Duration: 18:00 (7 movements)
Language: English
Story:  On March 21, 2020 I tested positive for COVID-19.  I contracted it after traveling to Utah earlier in the month for, of all things, a choir convention.  I was exceedingly lucky that I experienced a mild version of the virus – I didn’t even think to go get tested until my smell and taste disappeared.

I caught the virus in the relatively early stages of the pandemic – in retrospect I think that was lucky too.  There were certainly more unknowns in March than there are in July, and my greatest fear was that I had brought this vile thing into a space where it could harm my family.  Thankfully, in the end, none of them ended up catching it from me.

COVID Positive is a setting of a collection of thoughts I jotted down inconsistently from March to June.  Many thanks to my friend Jace Saplan who encouraged me to set my own words to music – something I almost never attempt and was frankly terrified to do.

The first movement is a setting of my COVID-19 test results as they first appeared in an email from my doctor.  Similarly, the seventh movement is a setting of the same email from my COVID-19 antibody test after I recovered from the virus.   IgG (I found out after googling) is medically short for Immunoglobulin G, the most common antibody. 
I. Component Results I
Component Results
SARS-CoV-2 Interp
Your Value

II. My Value
My test result lists my “value” as positive.  That’s reassuring, I guess.  To know I have positive value, that is.  I try really hard to be a good dad, husband, son, etc.  I guess it’s good to know that a stick in my nose confirms my efforts to be somewhat effective.
III. 38th
I was the 38th positive COVID-19 test in Hawai‘i.  Usually being in the top 40 in your state is something good.  Yes!  Top 40!  I’ve made it!  If only it was 38th best “tennis player” or “best tenor for all-state” or “best dad” or oo like “38th place finisher in the marathon” (I’d even take 38th place in my own age bracket), or 38th best “poke shop” or “acai bowl.”  Maybe those don’t sound as good as they did in my head.  I guess I’m just hungry.
I want to be the 38th best dad – in the top 40 of dads.  “Best dad,” like it says on my coffee mug.  That would be enough – knowing I’m the 38th best dad in Hawai‘i.  Instead I’m just the 38th positive test in Hawai‘i.

IV. I Couldn’t Live With Myself
I worry for my family.  What have I exposed them to?
The phrase “I couldn’t live with myself if…” is so cliché it’s not even cliché, but if this goddamn virus infects my kids I will be so full of simultaneous grief and parentally-induced desperate concern and rage that I couldn’t live with myself.
I know that I am blessed and privileged – I have my job and I have my family.  I’m loved and I love.
I worry for my family.  What have I exposed them to?

V. A Pernicious Duck
At one point or another, all parents are overcome by some primal, protective set of emotions.  For me, it first happened at Moanalua Gardens when my older daughter had just turned one.  She was feeding some ducks in a pond as all one-year-olds are like legally required to do at some point and there was this one duck that stayed a bit back from the other ducks and kept looking at my daughter with what I (inexplicably in retrospect) interpreted as malice.  I’m non-violent and non-confrontational; however, I looked right back at that little pernicious duck right in its little duck eyes and my head said (not I said in my head, but rather my head actually said to itself – it’s different somehow) “I swear to God I will end you if you get near my daughter.”  This kind of duck-strangulation-based train of thought was entirely new to me.  It is the kind of thought only a concerned parent can have, overwhelmed by a primal desire to protect and save and cuddle and cherish and love.  My job is to protect my kids – I have this virus.  I failed in my job.

VI.  I Worry
I worry for my family.  I try really hard to be a good son, husband, dad.
I worry for my family.  All parents do.

VII. Component Results II
Component Results
SARS-CoV-2 IgG Interp
Your Value

perusal score