A surround-sound concert “radio drama”
Based on the extraordinary life of Rahab of Jericho (Joshua 2 & 6)
Mezzo-soprano and wind symphony with audience participation
36 minutes. Grade 5


Conductor Jeffrey Scott Doebler, mezzo-soprano Beth Ray Westlund (Rahab), and composer Jesse Ayers,
“Rahab” is one of the most moving, intense, and exciting compositions I have ever had the priviledge of conducting. The story, music, surround-sound acoustics, and audience participation are compelling. I can’t wait to perform it again.
–Dr. Jeffrey Scott Doebler, former President, Indiana Bandmasters & former President Indiana Music Educators.
Composer Jesse Ayers, mezzo-soprano Laurie Lee Troxel-Cosby (Rahab), and conductor Mark Crim
A mountain top experience for all involved. One of my very favorite ETBU memories.
–Mark Crim, former Director of Bands, East Texas Baptist University

(Extra hardcopy scores and parts by also be ordered at the Pepper link.)

(This vocal score is included in the digital and hardcopy full band set)

“Rahab” was a riveting experience. It will go down as one my most meaningful artistic endeavors!
— Dr. Laurie Lee Troxel-Cosby, soprano

Special instrumentation notes:
• 2 piccolos (divisi)
• Prominent duo passages for oboe and english horn
• 2 trps & 3 horns leave stage for surround-sound passage
• Prominent exposed parts for harp (or elec. keyboard substitute)
• 4-6 bass drums or floor toms around audience for surround-sound passage

Excerpt, Cynthia Wohlschlager

YouTube player

Complete work, Beth Ray Westlund & Windiana

YouTube player

Performed by:

  • The East Texas Baptist University Symphonic Band; Mark Crim, conducting; Laurie Lee Cosby as Rahab
  • Valparaiso University Chamber Concert Band; Jeffrey Scott Doebler, conducting; Cynthia Wohlschlager as Rahab
  • The Windiana Concert Band; Jeffrey Scott Doebler, conducting; Beth Ray Westlund as Rahab
  • PREMIERE: The Luther Summer Music Honors Band; Jeffrey Scott Doebler, conducting; Beth Ray Westlund as Rahab

Artists who have sung the role of Rahab

Cynthia Wohlschlager with the Valparaiso University Chamber Concert Band, Jeffrey Scott Doebler, conducting
Marua Cock with the Valparaiso University Chamber Concert Band, Jeffrey Scott Doebler, conducting
Beth Ray Westlund with the Windiana Concert Band, Jeffrey Scott Doebler, conducting
Laurie Lee Cosby with the East Texas Baptist University Symphonic Band, Mark Crim, conducting

Program Notes

The story of Rahab of Jericho is found in the Old Testament in Joshua 2: 1-21 and Joshua 6: 25.  On the eve of the destruction of Jericho, Rahab, a harlot whose house is on the great, impregnable city wall, providentially encounters two Israelite spies sent by Joshua to spy out the land.  She hides them from her King’s soldiers, saving their lives, and in exchange, she is spared when the city is destroyed.  Rahab is an important Old Testament figure because her story, fascinating as it is, does not end with her exodus from the doomed city.  Her name surfaces not once, but three times in the New Testament. (Matthew 1: 5; Hebrews 11: 31; and James 2: 25.)  

Rahab was begun September 2010 during an artist residency at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire, continued at a lakeside cottage in rural Maine belonging to the composer’s colleague and friend, visual artist Barb Drennan, and completed in December 2010 at the composer’s home in Canton, Ohio.   

The composer is most appreciative of the generous support for this project by Malone University, the MacDowell Colony, and Barb Drennan.  He also wishes to thank playwright Justin Sherrin, wordsmith Alexandra Gomez-Robbins , and fellow composer William Vollinger for their valuable suggestions about the libretto. 

Other Works Based on the Old Testament