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

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

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

Banks Are Made of Marble

This song was written in 1949 by Les Rice, a farmer from New York State, USA. It deals with the perverse injustice, exploitation and inequality Rice saw all around him. Pete Seeger wrote about Les Rice and this song: “Like most small farmers, he was getting intolerably squeezed by the big companies which sold him… Continue reading Banks Are Made of Marble

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?

Walk On

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… Continue reading Walk On

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

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