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 compassionate.
Here is a recording of the song. It’s far from a professional recording, but just something I put together in my kitchen.
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 of lines 4 and 5. These could be sung by a tenor and/or a soprano.
This song is Keith Binns’ 2014 rewrite of the lyrics to Advance Australia Fair; a commentary on the xenophobia inherent in our current policy on asylum seekers arriving by boat.
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 phrase at the end of the 1st line, and a phrase in the chorus.
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 along. DON’T FORGET THE IMPORTANCE OF BREATH SUPPORT!
The first exercise is written for altos. This exercise starts with a slide from the F below middle C, to the F above middle C. It then moves up chromatically, by semitone, finishing with a slide from middle C to C above middle C. This range starts at the bottom of the alto range, as defined by the New Harvard Dictionary of Music, and finishes a tone below the top of the Alto Range
This is an arrangement of a song by ‘Dogmatic Music’, From ‘Walk On’ Kit – Reconciliation Week, Sorry Day. The educational resource, to commemorate Sorry Day or Reconciliation Week, designed for schools can be purchased and downloaded here. You can hear their excellent rendition of the song here.
You can find out more about Dogmatic Music and band members Paul McGee, Neil McCann, John Littrich and Sarah McCann here.
You can find out about John Littrich’s amazing folk band, the Water Runners here.
Many thanks to John Littrich for allowing the Illawarra Union Singers to use this song.
This sheet music, arranged in 3 parts is adapted from the original Dogmatic sheet music. In a mixed voice choir, the main melody marked alto in the score could be sung by altos and/or baritone voices. The line marked S for soprano, could be sung by sopranos and/or tenor voices. The bass line should be sung by basses. Score, (All Parts)
Good practice is to sing the part you are learning on its own, and then test your learning by singing it against the “All Parts” track. These practice tracks contain a “click” track, to signal the tempo, and tempo changes in the coda.
From this I transcribed individual parts. Lyrics to be sung in unison, (or by male singers only), are in bold italics. Some numbered piano fingerings are included, along with guitar chords in the melody part. These are all .pdf files. Melody/Soprano Alto Baritone I’ve also created a lead sheet, with just the melody line, transposed to Am. To get to Cm, use a capo on the 3rd fret.. Melody/Soprano Am
Here is an arrangement of Billy Bragg’s veritable anthem, “Power In A Union”, based on the American Civil War song, “The Battle Cry of Freedom”, which was written by the wonderfully named George F. Root. This arrangement by Christine Evans, with annotations including chords and the appropriate entry point for the bass voices. Aside from these annotations neither any of the arrangement, nor any of the practice tracks are my work.
Pete Seeger’s simple but effective song about mankind’s inability to learn the lessons of history. A simple arrangement for the Illawarra Union Singers. Scroll down for Pete’s story about how the song came to be.
“I had been reading a long novel, “And Quiet Flows the Don”—about the Don River in Russia and the Cossacks who lived along it in the 19th century. It describes the Cossack soldiers galloping off to join the Czar’s army, singing as they go. Three lines from a song are quoted in the book: ‘Where are the flowers? The girls plucked them / Where are the girls? They’re all married / Where are the men? They’re all in the army.’ I never got around to looking up the song, but I wrote down those three lines.
“Later, in an airplane, I was dozing, and it occurred to me that the line ‘long time passing’—which I had also written in a notebook—would sing well. Then I thought, ‘When will we ever learn.’ Suddenly, within 20 minutes, I had a song. There were just three verses. I Scotch-taped the song to a microphone and sang it at Oberlin College. This was in 1955.
“One of the students there had a summer job as a camp counselor. He took the song to the camp and sang it to the kids. It was very short. He gave it rhythm, which I hadn’t done. The kids played around with it, singing ‘Where have all the counselors gone? / Open curfew, everyone.’
“The counselor added two actual verses: ‘Where have all the soldiers gone? / Gone to graveyards every one / Where have all the graveyards gone? / Covered with flowers every one.’ Joe Hickerson is his name, and I give him 20 percent of the royalties. That song still brings in thousands of dollars from all around the world.”
This version has each verse written out, with music, words and dynamic markings. This arrangement, in particular the phrasing, is based on a live performance originally released on a 1964 album, “I Can See A New Day”.
I don’t know the provenance of this song. The two bits of sheet music I have found have the attribution, “Devised by Raised Voices of Climate Change Demonstration”, London December 3rd 2005. Tune: “Mayenziwe ‘Ntando Yakho”.
Version 1.ii contains a couple of piano fingering numbers, and the pickup measure is just the single quaver.
Simplified SATB Version
This version, for a smaller group of mixed voices has the tenor singing the melody, along with the soprano, and the basses singing the alto line, (obviously an octave lower), with the exception of 3 notes at the end of lines 1 & 2, and the last line.