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The finale is a setting of the Shakers' most famous song, "Simple Gifts," sometimes attributed to Elder Joseph Bracket (1797 - 1882) of the Alfred, Maine community, and also said (in Lebanon, New York, manuscript) as having been received from a Negro spirit at Canterbury, New Hampshire, making "Simple Gifts" possibly a visionary gift song. It has been used in hundreds of settings, most notably by Aaron Copland in the brilliant set of variations which conclude his Appalachian Spring. Without ever quoting him, my setting begins at Copland's doorstep, and quickly departs. Throughout its little journey, the tune is never abandoned, rarely altered, always exalted.

By 1825, the Pleasant Hill Shaker village was a handsome community with large stone and brick dwellings and shops, grassy lawns, and stone sidewalks. One visitor, though dubious about their mode of worship, was impressed by their prosperity and delighted by their hospitality. He concluded that they were a "trafficking, humane, honest and thrifty people." [7]

Kephart, William M. (1987). Extraordinary Groups. 3rd ed. New York: St. Martin's Press.

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Instructions: In a cocktail shaker without ice, combine two ounces of blended Scotch (we’re using Famous Grouse), 3/4 ounce of elderflower liqueur, an ounce of fresh lemon juice, a quarter-ounce of honey syrup (that’s honey dissolved in an equal part of hot water), and one egg white. Shake all that up without ice to aerate it — that’s called a “dry shake” — and then add ice and shake again for a “wet shake,” to chill it down. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a thin lemon wheel.  

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