In 2015, during my 10th year of teaching choir at Germantown High School, I was preparing to take my choirs to New York City to sing at Carnegie Hall under the baton of Dr. André Thomas. As with any trip of this scale, it took tremendous planning and fundraising, including a three-night Germantown’s Got Talent production. The students were getting super excited.
Part of the excursion was going to be a trip up the Empire State Building with chance to perform in an open area on the 80th Floor. I decided that I wanted to write something brand new for my choirs to perform for this special venue.
I wanted something that sort of said “America” without being overly patriotic, so I started thinking of folk songs. I couldn’t find one that really fit what I had in mind, so I decided to write my own. I know, I know…can it really be a true ‘folk song’ if I’m writing it in 2015? Probably not, but I feel that it is written as if people today were to start singing songs the way that our ancestors did. I think people would want to look back at the past.
That's what this song is. It's a song looking back at the songs of yesteryear. It's written in the style of Mack Wilberg's Bile Them Cabbage Down and Paul Busselberg's Skip to My Lou and other songs in that vein.
Written for SATB choir and piano, this was premiered in March 2015 by the GHS combined Chamber Choir and Honors Chorale on the 80th floor of the Empire State Building. It was more recently performed in May 2018 by the University of Washington Chorale under the direction of Dr. Giselle Wyers with Sereena Chin at the piano.
Sheet music is available at CadenzaOne.com.