Illawarra Union Singers Music Arrangements & Practice Tracks

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 point of difference is the last line of each verse, where I have used a Peter Paul & Mary recording as a reference point.
The arrangement is mostly in two parts, bass and melody. In the last line of both verse and chorus, I have added an alto line. In the first line of the chorus I have added a tenor line, and at the cadences notes for tenor and alto are added. In short, this is for a small group of singers, who may not be able to muster the forces for SATB throughout the song. The “missing” voices could easily be added later.

Sheet Music .pdf

Practice Tracks

How to download practice tracks:





All Parts


Peter Paul & Mary Recording


Illawarra Union Singers Music Arrangements & Practice Tracks

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 environmental costs.

The arrangement is in 2 parts, for higher and lower voices.

Sheet Music

Practice Tracks

Practice your own part, and then practice singing that part with the both parts track. Click here for instructions on how to save practice tracks from this site.

Upper Voice


Lower Voice


Both Parts


A Sung Demo Track With Both Parts: Male Voices

Here is the sheet music, in .jpg format:

Notes on versions:

Illawarra Union Singers Music Arrangements & Practice Tracks

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 arrangement, for the Illawarra Union Singers, has been transcribed with a couple of tweaks to the bass line, and guitar chords added, by Doug McPherson.

Sheet Music Gm: Score

This is the original key. To save room the unison parts are only written on the soprano/alto stave.

Soprano Part

Soprano & Drum Parts

Soprano & Alto Parts

Tenor Part

Bass Part

Sheet Music Em: Score

This should only be used by a guitarist, with a capo on the 3rd fret.

Sarah De Jong’s Original Sheet Music

Practice Tracks

In most instances, the practice tracks include an introduction, not written into the sheet music.



Melody, Sung with Drum Beat
-Sung by a tenor; not a soprano


Alto, Sung:

The sung parts are only where the alto differs from the soprano line.


Tenor, Sung


Bass, Sung


All parts: These tracks below use combinations of instruments representing the four vocal parts. It may be useful to learn your part and then sing it with the accompaniment of these instrumental parts, to test how well you have learnt the part. Of these two tracks, the string arrangement may be more in keeping with the spirit of the song.

All Parts: Woodwinds

All Parts: Strings

Lyrics: Syllables separated by hyphens

Here is the music in jpg format:

Notes on changes from previous versions of the song.

Cox, B, 2009 ‘Appin mine blast: a day that shook our world’, Illawarra Mercury, 23 July, viewed July 2 2019, <>

Illawarra Union Singers Lament for Liberal Party Leadership Music Arrangements & Practice Tracks

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 .jpg format.

Practice Tracks
Practice Suggestion: Practice your part, singing all the choruses of the song, with the practice track for your part.  Then practice your part against the “All Parts” track.

Chorus: All Parts, Sung


Chorus: Melody, Sopranos and Altos


Chorus: Tenors


Chorus: Bass


Verse and Chorus: Instrumental, Melody

Notes on versions of this song.

Illawarra Union Singers Solidarity: IUS Version

Solidarity Forever: An Arrangement for the Illawarra Union Singers

“Solidarity Forever”, written by Ralph Chaplin in 1915, is a popular union anthem. It is sung to the tune of “John Brown’s Body” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic“. Although it was written as a song for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), other union movements have adopted the song as their own.

This arrangement, for a small mixed voice choir with guitar accompaniment, sounds like this. It is based on an SATB arrangement by C. Shaw and E. Blyth which is sung by the combined Sydney, Newcastle and Illawarra union choirs.
The key has been lowered from Bb to G.
The melody, identical to the combined choir version except for the lower key, is to be sung in unison by baritone and/or mezzo-soprano voices.

Sheet Music: (.pdf format)
Sheet Music: (.pdf format, cropped)
Lyrics: Word Document

If printing the cropped sheet music, look for a printer setting that says “fit”, or “fit to printer margins”. If that doesn’t work for you download the first, uncropped file.

Practice Tracks

If you aren’t sure how to download tracks from this site, click here.

Melody: Mezzo-Soprano
Melody: Baritone

Identical to the soprano line, except an octave lower.


The alto part is identical to the combined choir arrangement linked to above. The end of the first verse uses the same notes from verse 2 in that arrangement. The beginning of verse 2 uses the same notes as verses 3 & 4. The pitch is lower than the combined choir version.


The tenor part contains a solo harmony line for most of the first verse, to complement the solo sung by a soprano or baritone. This could also be sung by a contralto or a soprano. The rest of the tenor line is the same as the combined choir arrangement, except for the last note of the chorus, and of the coda. The beginning of verse 2 uses the same notes as verses 3 & 4. The pitch is lower than the combined choir version.

All Parts Together

Good practice may be to practice your part with its individual track, and then sing this against the all parts track.

Notes on previous versions:

And finally here is the sheet music in jpg format:


And the lyrics as text:

Solidarity: IUS Version

When the union’s inspiration through the workers’ blood shall run,
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun,
Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one,
But the Union makes us strong!

Solidarity forever, solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
For the Union makes us strong!

Is there aught we hold in common with the greedy parasite,
Who would lash us into serfdom and would crush us with his might?
Is there anything left to us but to organize and fight?
For the union makes us strong!

They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn,
But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn,
We can break their haughty power gain our freedom when we learn,
That the Union makes us strong!

In our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold,
Greater than the might of armies magnified a thousand fold,
We can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old,
For the Union makes us strong!

Coda After Final Chorus:

For the Union makes us strong!

Illawarra Union Singers Music Arrangements & Practice Tracks

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 all his fertilizer, insecticide and equipment, and the big companies that dictated to him the prices he would get for his produce. Out of that squeeze came this song.”

It seems to me that the song has particular resonance and currency in Australia at the moment, following the largely ineffectual Royal Commission into Banking. This arrangement is based on an earlier Michael Roper arrangement.

Sheet Music: (pdf, tightly cropped)

To print the music above, look for a setting that says “Fit” or “Fit to Printer Margins”, for a nice big printout, or if that doesn’t work, print the music below.

Sheet Music: (pdf, margins)
Practice Tracks

Soprano/Melody: 2 Verses Plus Chorus


Soprano/Melody: Final Chorus


Soprano/Melody: Final Chorus; With Click Track


Alto: Chorus Only


Tenor: Chorus Only


Bass: Chorus Only


Bass: Chorus Only, With Click Track


Here is a recording of the Weavers singing the song, in Bb:


And the same Weavers’ recording, with a pitch shift to C:

This last recording with the pitch shift puts the recording into the same key as the arrangement presented here.

How to download practice tracks.

Finally here is the sheet music in .jpg format:

Notes on version changes.

Illawarra Union Singers

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


The files below are adapted from this original music. If using the lyric sheet above, the following arrangement skips the “ah” chorus, and abbreviates the fanfare.

Adapted Sheet Music 1.9 

If you have a previous copy of the adapted sheet music or practice tracks this file documents, in part at least, changes made.

Practice Tracks

These practice tracks work closely with the adapted sheet music. The exact phrasing of the words in verses 2 and 3 may not be identical to what needs to be sung. They are all about 20% slower than the performance tempo. Good preparation might include practising your own part, and then, when confident, practice with the “All Parts” track. Click here for instructions on how to download these practice tracks.

Soprano With Click Track


Soprano Without Click Track


Alto With Click Track


Tenor With Click Track


Tenor Without Click Track


Bass With Click Track


Bass Without Click Track


All Parts


And as a reference point:

The Original Recording

And, (inspiring, but somewhat daunting), from YouTube,
The Original Amazing Performance


Illawarra Union Singers Music Arrangements & Practice Tracks

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 the solo version,  click here!

Sheet Music

Lament for Manus Island 4.7 Bm

Lament for Manus Island 4.7 Am
Guitarists may prefer this; capo on 2nd fret for Bm.

The next files are identical to the ones above, except they don’t contain the descant notes in the melody.
Lament for Manus Island 4.7: Bm

Lament for Manus Island 4.7: Am

If you have a previous version of this music the next document lists the main changes which have been made: “Lament for Manus Island” versions.

Practice Tracks

In the all parts track, the melody is the flute sound, the alto the oboe sound, and the bass, a baritone sax.









All Parts Together


Here is the original, solo, version of the song. I recorded this in my kitchen.

Here is the sheet music in .jpg format.

A Minor

B Minor


And finally, a YouTube video I created to go with the song:

Illawarra Union Singers Mnogaja Ljeta Music Arrangements & Practice Tracks

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 with Piano Reduction & Chords (.pdf)
Practice Tracks

The target voice instruments in each track for SATB are, respectively,  flute, oboe, clarinet and baritone saxophone. The verse is repeated 4 times in each track.









All Parts


A Roughly Hewn Illawarra Union Singers Rehearsal

And finally, a YouTube performance that pretty much  approximates this score:

Illawarra Union Singers Music Arrangements & Practice Tracks Which Side Are You On?

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 (called the Harlan County War). In an attempt to intimidate the Reece family, Sheriff J. H. Blair and his men (hired by the mining company) illegally entered their family home in search of Sam Reece. Sam had been warned in advance and escaped, but Florence and their children were terrorized in his place. That night, after the men had gone, Florence wrote the lyrics to “Which Side Are You On?” on a calendar that hung in the kitchen of her home.”

Many  different performances of this song can be found.  These arrangements are based on a recording made by Florence Reece later in life, recorded live in a broadcast studio, and later released on the album, “Coal Mining Women”.  The  arrangements presented here use Florence’s words and mostly her melody line, but open with the chorus, and repeat the chorus throughout.  Neither the sheet music nor the practice tracks reflect the rhythm changes needed for the words in different verses, particularly in verses 5 and 6.  The arrangements are further informed by the Almanac Singers rendition of the song in 1941. Neither the sheet music nor the practice tracks reflect the rhythm changes needed for the words in different verses, particularly in verses 5 and 6.

Scroll Down, or Click Here for Arrangement 2, Melody, Alto, Tenor and Bass

Arrangement 1

Melody, Tenor and Bass: Altos could sing the bass part, an octave up in the verse.

Sheet Music: .pdf Format
Practice Tracks:

In each of these tracks the targeted voice uses a piano sound.







Harmonically, this arrangement is notated in Dm, but the melody is essentially pentatonic, and could also be considered to be in the (modern) Dorian mode of the C scale; the 6th note and 3rd notes are omitted in the melody.

Arrangement 2

This arrangement is for Melody, (Soprano and/or Tenor), Alto, Tenor and Bass. The chorus is in unison, except for a tenor harmony. In the verses, the Melody and Tenor lines are in unison, with a harmony part written for Alto voice, and a Bass line.

Sheet Music: .pdf Format
Practice Tracks

The melody and bass tracks are the same as in arrangement 1. The alto track is new, and the tenor track dispenses with harmony in the verse and reverts to the melody.  The target voice uses a piano in each track, except the Alto which uses an oboe sound.  The All Parts track is an experiment, and uses the sounds of a wind quartet: flute, oboe, clarinet and basoon.





All Parts

Arrangement 3.2

The differences between versions 2.1 and 3, are the tenor line in the chorus and chords in the chorus, bars 3 and 7.  The alto track is simplified, mirroring the melody except for the first and last bar. The practice tracks use the piano in the target voice. The all parts track uses a wind quartet.

Sheet Music .pdf Format
Practice Tracks

Practice your own part, and then try singing this with the “All Parts” track.





All Parts

Arrangement 4

This arrangement contains a more fully developed alto line, and one note altered in the bass line, 2nd quaver in bar 13 changed from A to F. For melody and tenor practice tracks, see arrangement 3, above.

Sheet Music .pdf
Sheet Music .pdf Cropped
If printing the cropped music, look for a setting that says “Fit”, or “Fit to printer margins.”





All Parts

Here is version 4 in .jpg format:

Notes on Recent Versions of This Arrangement

Source Recordings

Florence Reece

Here is a recording of Florence Reece, with the pitch altered to Dm, the same key as the arrangements above.

The Almanac Singers