Ted and I spent twelve hours at the New England Folk Festival today. Ted has been running our church’s children’s choir, and I’ve been running our church’s folk choir, and we were both looking for new music (or maybe new approaches to old music) that we could introduce to our church.
Here are five things I brought home from the festival:
(1) You can sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as a round, and it sounds pretty good (see below for details).
(2) Several performers yesterday sang Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times Come Again No More,” obviously in response to the current economic downturn. Our folk choir might be swayed by the Zeitgeist, and add “Hard Times” to our repertoire. (“Hard Times” sheet music here.)
(3,4) I heard two songs that have some potential for liberal religious worship services: “Take My Hand” by Ben Tousley, and “Gentle Hands” by Ellen Schmidt. Both songs might need a verse dropped or other minor tweaking, but both songs would fit in with many Unitarian Universalist worship services.
(5) The best one-liner came from Ken Mattson, whom I know from Unitarian Universalist conferences (as well as shape note singing and dulcimer festivals). During a singing workshop that he was co-leading, someone in the audience went on a little too long with an obscure question about Stan Rogers. After about three minutes of this, Ken gave a big smile, and said, “We’re losing valuable singing time here.” What a great line for getting a workshop — or a rehearsal — back on track.
To sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as a round…
Split into two groups. Group One sings: “Somewhere over the rainbow…” and Group Two comes in with “Somewhere…” as Group One sings “…way up high….” After Group One finishes “…that you dare to dream really do come true,” they stop singing until Group Two finishes that phrase.
Then both groups sing the bridge together in unison (“Someday I’ll wish upon a star… that’s where you’ll find me.”)
Then Group One sings “Somewhere over the rainbow…” and Group Two comes in when Group One sings “…bluebirds fly….” After Group One sings “Why, oh why, can’t I?” they stop singing until Group Two finishes that phrase.
Then both groups sing the tag in unison: “If happy little bluebirds fly….”