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

1872: A Song About the Maritime Union of Australia

This song touches on key events in the history of the MUA, and direct action taken by that union in the interests of peace and justice. It was written by Walter Pritchard, Katie Newfield and Jonathon Snook, and is one of the songs featured in Walter’s musical play, “The Mayday Queen of the Scarlet Belt”. … Continue reading 1872: A Song About the Maritime Union of Australia

Peace, Hope & Love! SATB Arrangement

This is a song for peace, adapted by Doug McPherson from a hymn by Trisha Watts. Each year, on August 6th, a group of us meet at a peace monument in Wollongong mall, to commemorate the bombing of Hiroshima. We sing a couple of songs, and have a minute of silent reflection. This year, 2020,… Continue reading Peace, Hope & Love! SATB Arrangement

Put It On The Ground

This song, published in both “The Little Red Song Book” and “Sing Out” magazine, was closely associated with the Industrial Workers of the World, an international trade union movement. The song’s copyright is marked 1947. Recording’s are scarce. This arrangement uses the lead-sheet published in “The Little Red Song Book” as a starting point. One… Continue reading Put It On The Ground

The Price of The Coal: Climate Change

Here is an adaptation of a song written by Wendy Richardson. The original song focuses on the price of the coal in the context of the lives of the miners. This version of the song, with verses written by members of the Illawarra Union Singers, focuses on the price of the coal in terms of… Continue reading The Price of The Coal: Climate Change

The Appin Tragedy

The night of Tuesday, July 24, 1979, shook not only the small mining community of Appin but the entire Illawarra, with the region’s families dependent on their men going underground day after day (Cox 2009).  This song uses words from a poem by Sid Wright, and music written and arranged by Sarah De Jong. This… Continue reading The Appin Tragedy

A Lament for Liberal Party Leadership

-Or lack thereof. This song is based on a somewhat earlier song, “The Nonsense Song”, written at the height of Tony Abbott’s “leadership” of Australia.  This current song only has 3 verses, dealing with the 3 most recent Prime Ministers. Sheet Music Sheet Music (Cropped) Scroll down for the sheet music, with performance notes in… Continue reading A Lament for Liberal Party Leadership

Love and Justice: A Song

An adaptation of “Love and Justice”, a women’s anthem by independent musician and ARIA award winner Kavisha  Mazzella. The Illawarra Union Singers thank Kavisha for her permission to perform the song, adapting it for a small mixed voice choir. Sheet Music The Original Sheet Music Lyrics The files below are adapted from this original music.… Continue reading Love and Justice: A Song

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