Hold Fast Your Dreams

Collaborator: Louise Driscoll

Song Type: , ,

Associated Artists: Zoe Allen


On August 20, 2021, Shokat Projects welcomes the world-premiere recording of Georgia Stitt’s “Hold Fast Your Dreams,” performed by the wife-and-husband team, soprano Zoe Allen and conductor/pianist Christopher Allen. “Hold Fast Your Dreams” is the first single from the Allens’ upcoming album (out September 7, 2021), Beneath the Sky.

Hold Fast Your Dreams was written by Georgia Stitt in response to Zoe Allen’s request for a song exploring the experience of becoming a mother. The resulting art song is joyfully informed by Ms. Stitt’s fluency in the immediacy and expressivity of musical theatre, and is performed with a personal edge by Ms. Allen.

Zoe Allen explains, “Hold Fast Your Dreams really resonates for me personally, and is a gorgeous snapshot of what I have aimed to do with the entire album of Beneath the Sky; I faced a deep need to express my voice as an artist, as a woman, as a parent, partner, daughter, and creator. In wanting to better understand my own story, I turned toward music to see the world through my daughter’s eyes. Georgia is so immensely talented, and her personal experiences as a woman, as an artist, as a mother, were so resonant with my own. I am thrilled to be able to sing her work, and am pleased to say that we’re working towards future collaborations as well. (More on this soon!)”

On the lyrics (a poem by Louise Driscoll, see below), Georgia Stitt says, “When Zoe and I started talking about including a new piece of mine on this album, I knew I wanted to find a text by a female poet that celebrated motherhood but didn’t romanticize it. This 1916 poem spoke so clearly to me, suggesting that a mother’s desire is to raise a child with hope even when the surrounding world seeks to crush it. That need feels as relevant now as it must have a hundred years ago, and I was thrilled to get to write music that linked all of us mothers — Louise Driscoll, Zoe Allen, and me — across time.”

Hold Fast Your Dreams
Louise Driscoll, 1916
Hold fast your dreams!
Within your heart
Keep one still, secret spot
Where dreams may go,
And, sheltered so,
May thrive and grow
Where doubt and fear are not.
O keep a place apart,
Within your heart,
For little dreams to go!
Think still of lovely things that are not true.
Let wish and magic work at will in you.
Be sometimes blind to sorrow. Make believe!
Forget the calm that lies
In disillusioned eyes.
Though we all know that we must die,
Yet you and I
May walk like gods and be
Even now at home in immortality.
We see so many ugly things—
Deceits and wrongs and quarrelings;
We know, alas we know
How quickly fade
The color in the west,
The bloom upon the flower,
The bloom upon the breast
And youth’s blind hour.
Yet keep within your heart
A place apart
Where little dreams may go,
May thrive and grow.
Hold fast—hold fast your dreams!