Soul Force is a one-movement symphonic work which attempts to portray the notion of a voice that struggles to be heard beyond the shackles of oppression. The music takes on the form of a march which begins with a single voice and gains mass as it rises to a triumphant goal.
Drawing on elements of popular African-American musical styles such as big-band jazz, funk, hip-hop and R+B, the piece pays homage to the cultural contributions, the many voices, which have risen against aggressive forces to create an indispensable cultural place.
I have drawn the work’s title from Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in which he states: “We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”
— Jessie Montgomery