HELIOS by TIMOTHY C. TAKACH | May 20, 2023 | 5:00 PM

First United Methodist Church of Orlando 2nd Floor

Timothy Takach’s Helios is a concert-length work that explores the mythology surrounding our galaxy. Hear the horse-led chariots in Neptune, and the siren call of the sopranos and altos as they sing of Jupiter. Takach is one of choral music’s leading composers, and his gifts for melody and drama are evident throughout this unique contemporary work. This will be the Southeastern US premiere of Helios featuring visual projections created by artist Deborah Johnson.

Mr. Takach, the composer himself will be in attendance, and audience members who join us for the Starlight Fundraiser Dinner immediately following the concert will be able to meet and participate in a talkback with the composer.


Prelude (Chaos and Order)

Chaos was the law of nature; Order was the dream of man. Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.
– Henry Brooks Adams 

I. Pluto (At the Border) 

Here is where chaos starts. 

It is the fiercest hunger. 
It is a great tearing pain 
that so occupies the mind 
that there is nothing else. 

It is being breathed. 
It is being breathless. 

Standing on the border 
of chaos means standing 
in a sharp cold wind 
on the highest pass 
in the arctic mountains.

It means plunging 
into stars. 
It means soaring into jade seas. 

Here at the border 
we are not in chaos yet.
This is more relentless 
than chaos. And 

more beautiful. Far, 
far more beautiful. 
– Patricia Monaghan, “Mandelbrot Set: 4. The Border” (used with permission.)

II. Neptune (The Storm Was Loose) 

Neptune, meanwhile, greatly troubled, saw that the sea was churned with vast murmur, and the storm was loose and the still waters welled from their deepest levels: he raised his calm face from the waves, gazing over the deep. He calls the East and West winds to him, and then says: 
“Tantane vos generis tenuit fiducia vestri? 
     “Does confidence in your birth fill you so?
Iam caelum terramque meo sine numine, venti, 
     Winds, do you dare, without my intent, to mix earth with sky, 
miscere, et tantas audetis tollere moles?” 
     and cause such trouble, now?” 
So he speaks, and swifter than his speech, he calms the swollen sea, scatters the gathered cloud, and brings back the sun. He sways their passions with his words and soothes their hearts: so all the uproar of the ocean died, as soon as their father, gazing over the water, carried through the clear sky, wheeled his horses, and gave them their head, flying behind in his chariot. 
– Virgil: Aeneid I lines, 124-156 (edit), trans. A.S. Kline, (used with permission.)

III. Uranus (White Silences) 

Beyond geography. Beyond blood. 
Beyond latitude. Beyond salt. 

Beyond continents. Beyond tears. 
That kind of coldness. 

My hair is beaded with crystals. 
Forgetful and aloof, I am slipping 

into white silences, becoming 
cold skin over hard finality. 
– Patricia Monaghan, “White Silences” (used with permission.)

It is the stars, 
The stars above us, govern our conditions.  
– William Shakespeare, King Lear, 4.3.32-33

IV. Saturn (Longing for Infinity)

When I was nine years old, 
I first looked through a telescope, 
And what I saw astounded me: 
Floating in the inky black, 
The orb of Saturn, like a pearl,
Encircled in its perfect rings. 
So small it seemed, and yet as large
As almost a thousand Earths; 
So close, and yet so very far way. 

The sight awoke in me 
A longing for infinity 
And all its wonders: 
The spinning planets, burning stars; 
Galaxies of endless worlds 
Hurtling headlong through the void; 
The many-colored nebulae— 
Graveyards of exploded stars, 
And nurseries of the new; 
The universe extending 
In ever-widening spheres 
Of color, light, and energy; 
An endless source of wonder and humility. 

This journey through infinity 
Began for me when I first beheld 
The icy rings of Saturn 
From a field on Earth 
That summer evening 
When I was nine years old. 
– Charles Anthony Silvestri 
– Commissioned for Helios

V. Jupiter (A Wife Betrayed)

Look at him. 
Just look at him.
Smug and fat, pompous, preening, 
Rolling about in bedsheets 
Of orange and scarlet satin, 
Surrounded by his paramours— 
Io and Europa, 
Iocaste and Eurydome, 
Leda, Adrastea, 
Callisto, Themisto—  [Even S-2010-J2, that slut!] 
So many I can’t even count 
Or care to remember. 
And yet, I do remember. 

Look at him. 
He cares little for my honor, 
Even less for my feelings. 
I am his lover! His wife! His queen! 
And yet no planet wanders named for me! 
No stately Juno to glide about the sun, 
Wrapped in swirling clouds of rose and silver grey… 
Alas, that is not to be, 
For Jove takes all. 
Attracts all. 
Rules all. 

But I am Juno, 
Mighty Queen of gods and men, 
And I demand my due! 
I shall be a tempest, 
Red and roiling like an angry sore, 
Digging into his tender side— 
A bright red spot to spoil his splendor, 
A reminder of the ageless rage 
Of a wife betrayed. 
So, look at him! 
All who gaze at him, 
From now until the ending of the worlds, 
Shall see only me! 
– Charles Anthony Silvestri 
– Commissioned for Helios

VI. Comet (Transmigration) 

Then Jupiter, the Father, spoke…” Take up Caesar’s spirit and change it into a star… He had barely finished, when gentle Venus stood, seen by no one, and took up the newly freed spirit of her Caesar from his body, and preventing it from vanishing into the air, carried it towards the glorious stars. As she carried it, she felt it glow and take fire, and loosed it from her breast: it climbed higher than the moon, and drawing behind it a fiery tail, shone as a star.
– Ovid: Metamorphosis, trans. A.S. Kline, (used with permission.)

Interlude: With My Face to the Sun

I wish to leave the world 
By it’s natural door; 
Do not put me in the dark 
I am good, and like a good thing 
I will die with my face to the sun. 
– José Martí, excerpt from “A Morir” 

VII. Mars (Love Asleep and Waiting) 

A solitary planet spins alone 
But never alone 
     There are moons
     There are stars 
A silent man lives alone 
But never alone 
     There are voices
     There are songs 
Under the rocky surface 
     There is ice 
     Where once was water 
Under the cold hide 
     There is ice 
     But also blood 
A lonely planet spins amidst 
     The endless celestial bodies
     The vast potential of space 
A single man can never be lonely 
     If he’s a son, a father, a brother 
     If he’s a husband, a friend, a lover 
Peel back the planet’s skin 
     And find water, waiting, for the sun 
Peel back the body’s fierce façade 
     And find love, asleep, and waiting
– William Reichard
– Commissioned for Helios

VIII. Moon (Everything is Made of Light) 

The moon translates a rhythm 
of this night that knows no breath.
  Everything is made of light. 
The whole world is glowing. 
– William Reichard, (used with permission.)

IX. Earth (Only Here) 

My skies blaze and dazzle with ice, 
lava burns in my veins. 
All the glories of the gods are here— 
but no gods gave me their name. 

Mars may boast about war, 
but only here are there blades,
and only here blood-stained soil. 

Venus may preach on love, 
but only here does an eye meet an eye 
and whole new heavens are born. 

Only here is there spring, 
only here the breath of the rose. 
Only here is there miracle, suffering, awe— 
and only here do they kneel in prayer. 
– Brian Newhouse 
– Commissioned for Helios

X. Venus (Everything Seems Possible) 

What is life with nothing to contain it? 
Shore or edge of night, first rising star 
For you 
Her favorite word is linger 
For her 
Bliss is the blackest sky 
The way she lights it 
With her beauty.   
When the sea became the sea 
She moved like she still moves 
In the opposite direction 
Towards that something 
To define her, beyond 
which everything seems 
– Julia Klatt Singer 
– Commissioned for Helios

Interlude: Opening Inward

I am, at this moment, walking in a direction you cannot imagine, you who judge everything in terms of forward motion, you who imagine me unmoving, waiting as you pass through my world like a brilliant burning comet, leaving faint periodic traces in a spiral galaxy: I am opening inward, 
spiralling towards nothingness and truth, moving in no direction you can imagine, opening like an expanding universe with no unmoving point within it. 
– Patricia Monaghan, excerpt from “Nothing is Ever Simultaneous” (used with permission.)

In my breast are the stars of my fate.  
– Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (ad. TCT) 

XI. Mercury (Move Towards Freedom) 

a pendulum can only swing 
(no matter how fast how slow) 
can only swing in that small space
(no matter how fast how slow, no matter)
it can only swing 
one degree 
one degree of freedom, 
that is what it is called, 
that limit cycle, 
(back & forth, no matter 
back & forth, fast and slow):

one degree of freedom 

But there is a way to get more 
there is a way to move 
there is a way to reach 
infinite degrees of freedom:

move towards chaos, 
move towards change, 
move towards turbulence 
there are so many degrees of freedom 
there are so many degrees 
uncounted uncountable 
a rolling ring of freedom 
so many degrees of freedom 
this close to chaos 
– Patricia Monaghan, “Degrees of Freedom” (used with permission.)

XII. Sun (Perihelion)



Orlando’s own professional vocal ensemble, the Solaria Singers is a professional choir comprised of the finest vocalists in Central Florida. Solaria performs fresh interpretations of the greatest choral works of history as well as the most adventurous, compelling, and meaningful music composed for vocal ensembles in the 21st century.

Composer, Helios

Inspired by captivating narrative, speculative fiction and making better humans through art, the music of Timothy C. Takach has risen fast in the concert world. Applauded for his melodic lines and rich, intriguing harmonies, Takach has received commissions and premieres from GRAMMY Award-winning ensembles Roomful of Teeth and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the St. Olaf Band, Cantus, U.S. Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus, Lorelei Ensemble, VocalEssence, the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, The Rose Ensemble, and numerous other organizations. His compositions have been performed on A Prairie Home Companion, The Boston Pops holiday tour, nationwide on PBS, many All-State and festival programs and at venues such as the Library of Congress, Kennedy Center and Royal Opera House Muscat.

He is a co-creator of the theatrical production of All is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914, by Peter Rothstein. The critically adored show has had over 120 performances since its premiere in 2006. He was also selected for the 2014 Nautilus Music-Theater Composer-Librettist Studio. In 2018 his oratorio We, the Unknown premiered at the Folly Theatre in Kansas City featuring the Heartland Men’s Chorus, and in 2019 “Su Rahva Koda (The House of Your Kindred)” was premiered by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. 2019 also saw the premiere of Helios, Takach’s new 65’ work for a cappella choir inspired by the solar system. In 2015 Takach placed third for The American Prize for Composition for Wind Ensemble for his piece “Frost Giant.” He was Composer-in-Residence for the Texas Boys Choir from 2019-2021 and for The Singers–Minnesota Choral Artists from 2018-2023.

Takach has frequent work as a composer-in-residence, presenter, conductor, clinician and lecturer for conventions, schools and organizations across the country. He is a full-time composer and lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two sons.


The Solaria Star Light concert featuring Tim Takach’s Helios will be held in the 2nd floor Contemporary Worship Center. The dinner will be in the ground floor Gathering Space, and the 8:00 PM concert “Visionary Light” will be held in the Sanctuary, which is also accessed from the ground floor.
ADDRESS: 142 E Jackson St Orlando, FL 32801

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