We’ll Stand Together

This song, written by Jim Sharkey, a member of the Illawarra Union Singers, was born out of the Covid 19 pandemic. Jim writes, I had the music & words for this song in my head while my wife and I were in Yackandandah in March 2020. We had been to the Port Fairy Folk Festival.… Continue reading We’ll Stand Together

The Blantyre Explosion: A Song

This song commemorates a coal mining disaster, in the Scottish town of Blantyre, in the vicinity of Glasgow in 1877. The explosion was a firedamp, or methane, explosion. It beggars belief that this initial disaster, killing 207 men and boys, some as young as 11, was followed by others, in 1878 and 1879. Equally unthinkable… Continue reading The Blantyre Explosion: A Song

Lament for Manus Island:
A Choral Arrangement

Lament for Manus Island In Parts I was asked for an arrangement of this song for a mixed voice ensemble, so here it is. The score is written with melody, (plus a descant in the chorus), to be sung by sopranos and/or tenors, an alto line and a bass line, with guitar chords indicated. For… Continue reading Lament for Manus Island:
A Choral Arrangement

Mnogaja Ljete

I’m unsure of the provenance of this song or the score presented here. Zlatko, of Zlatko’s Balkan Cabaret fame, introduced the song to the Illawarra Union Singers.  The song is apparently a congratulatory song, and can be translated as “Many Summers”, or  “Many Years”. “Original” Score: (.pdf) My Transcription of the Score (.pdf) My Transcription… Continue reading Mnogaja Ljete

Which Side Are You On?

Arrangement 1 Arrangement 2 Arrangement 3 Arrangement 4 This seminal song was written by Florence Reece in 1931, in Harlan County, Kentucky.  These  arrangements for  a mixed voice choir, the Illawarra Union Singers, by Doug McPherson. “In 1931, the miners and the mine owners of that region were locked in a bitter and violent struggle… Continue reading Which Side Are You On?

Lament for Manus Island

Image Source: https://thenewdaily.com.au Click here, for the arrangement in parts: This is a song I felt compelled to write in October 2017, aghast at Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers. The second verse of our national anthem has the lines, “For those who’ve come across the seas, We’ve boundless plains to share;”. We should be more… Continue reading Lament for Manus Island

It’s Getting Really Hard to Sing Advance Australia Fair -Simpler Version

An older more complex arrangement of this can be found by clicking here. The version below, 1.3, has the alto voices doubling the bass part, except for the ends of lines 4 and 5.  There is no tenor line, but there are descant notes in the melody line for the cadences, again at the ends… Continue reading It’s Getting Really Hard to Sing Advance Australia Fair -Simpler Version

Join Your Union: Simplified

Simplified Arrangement Click here for a more complex arrangement. The resources below are for an arrangement of John Warner’s song, with the Alto line the same as the Bass, except for the end of each phrase. The basses of course sing an octave lower. The tenor line is identical to the melody, except for a… Continue reading Join Your Union: Simplified

Singing Exercise: Octave Glissandi For Altos

By Gregory "Slobirdr" Smith - Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum)

This is an exercise in seamlessly changing registers, moving from one part of the voice to another. The aim should be a smooth sound sliding from one note to another, and back again. The exercise is probably easier to sing than to read about, so feel free to jump in, play the sound file and sing… Continue reading Singing Exercise: Octave Glissandi For Altos

Ballad of 1891

This is a song about the 1891 Australian shearers’ strike.  The song has been arranged in three parts: Words: Helen Palmer; Music: Doreen Jacobs; ©1950 Doreen Bridges Sheet Music Here is the definitive score, I’ve worked from, sourced from the Sydney Trade Union Choir, (STUC) in Cm. Sydney Trade Union Choir Score (.pdf) From this… Continue reading Ballad of 1891