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Lullaby: I will protect you
from james (book of ruth)

for soprano and piano


Duration: 3 minutes

Text: English by Zac Kline

Program Note:

james (book of ruth) is a dramatic oratorio that deals with the LGBTQ+ community’s experiences of HIV/AIDS and stigma. It is partly inspired by the rejection I’ve received from my Fundamentalist Christian family along with my experiences in a serodiscordant relationship; it is also inspired by the healthcare and advocacy work of Ruth Coker Burkes in Arkansas during the height of the AIDS crisis.


This lullaby is sung in the prologue as a memory: James remembering his mother’s promise to protect her child. However, when James is most vulnerable and in need of his mother’s love and support, she rejects him because of the disease he has and his same-sex relationship.


I will protect you.

I will watch over you while you sleep.

I will watch you,

Will be here when you wake.


A Mother Protects Her Child

(I will always protect,

will always)

Eyes like My Eyes

Hands like My Hands

Blood like my Blood

Blood that is My Own


(you run through me,

I run through you)

I will always be here

always be here for you


Kelley Hollis, soprano; Julia Scott Carey, piano

Juventas New Music Ensemble

First Church, Boston, MA

January 25, 2020

Oratorio Premiere:

Inversion Ensemble with Trevor Shaw, conductor
Sam Kreidenweis as James
Mary Kettlewell as his mother
Katrina Saporsantos as Ruth

Recorded at KMFA Draylen Mason Music Studio, Austin, TX
Broadcast, June 25th, 2021


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