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written for the Houston Symphony Resilient Sounds project
    June 2019

"2019’s ten most notable performances"

         -Houston Chronicle

Program Notes:
        Bella Laeta is inspired by the recollections of a Houston-settled refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is influenced by his description of his childhood in an embattled country as a "happy war time" and a story he was told as a child. The land was filled with beautiful lakes, mountains, and rivers, and the children spent their time playing games; however, the threat of war was always in the background. One of the stories told to children was that of the Nyoko Wakumba, a monster of the night that preyed upon children. The story served as a warning and a metaphor for the rebel factions that abducted children. Drawing on elements from the story, the music explores happiness, beauty, and youth in a world of pervading darkness.