The Music of Elizabeth Alexander


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Disenfranchised

The Catherine Roma Consortium Commission for GALA Festival 2024!

Music: Elizabeth Alexander

Words: Elizabeth Alexander

Disenfranchised calls out voter disenfranchisement for what it truly is: an insidious power game with winners and losers, ever-changing rules, and a deliberate intent to exclude. A serious subject for sure, but expect no scolds or lectures! Instead this song wields that most powerful and underutilized weapon, humor! Brace yourself for some sly nods to nursery songs, carnival music, and patriotic chestnuts. There’s also a high likelihood that singers might just add some dramatic flourishes of their own!

The SATB, SSA and TBB voicings of this song are specially designed to facilitate programming with combined, flexibly-voiced and intergenerational choirs. Commissioned by a consortium of GALA Choruses, Disenfranchised will receive premiere performances by participating choirs during the 2023-2024 concert season and receive a combined choir performance at GALA Festival 2024 in Minneapolis. GALA choirs wishing to participate in this commission may learn more about it here.

This song is currently available only to GALA member choruses by participating in the consortium commission. It will be available for sale to ALL choirs starting in July 2024.

Want a sneak peek? Check out our demo video below!

Details and Ordering Information

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Composer Notes

Composer Notes

Disenfranchised combines my love of musical wit and an honest examination of ourselves and our society. You’ll also find that energy in songs like these:

Text

Disenfranchised

There’s a little game round here,
We play it once or twice a year.
Each and every citizen can play.
We set up all kinds of polling places,
Fill them up with friendly faces,
beckoning us out to Voting Day.

Come one! Come all!
It’s the highlight of the fall!
We’re so lucky to be living in the USA!
There’s just one tiny clause:
Keep your eye on the dealer ‘cause
One hand giveth while the other hand taketh a-way.

We’re playing Disenfranchised!
A game that’s stood the test of time.
It’s not all that complicated,
Just don’t get eliminated,
It’s a classic paradigm.
Di-di-di-di-di-disenfranchised!
This is the way it’s always been.
Ever since the tabulated
Votes were all from educated
White, landowning men,
We’ve been playing Disenfranchised.

Come one! Come all!
Make sure you don’t drop the ball!
It’s democracy so everybody has a say.
Although a rule or two
Could be a stumbling block for you,
Rest assured that everybody who wants to can play.

We’re playing Disenfranchised!
A game that’s stood the test of time.
It’s not all that complicated,
Just don’t get eliminated,
It’s a classic paradigm.
Di-di-di-di-di-disenfranchised!
This is the way it’s always been.
Ever since the tabulated
Votes were all from educated
White, landowning men.

The rules are simple. The rules are fun.
The rules are the same for everyone.
Are you ready? It won’t take long.
To help you out we wrote this song:

Don’t be homeless, on parole,
Need translation at the poll,
Need time off or need a ride,
Need a helper by your side.
Need to vote a different day,
Find your poll’s too far away,
Skip a Voting Day or two,
Or not have your ID with you.
Don’t be purged or relocated,
Formerly incarcerated,
Live upon a reservation,
Not have prior registration.
Plus some other rules we’re still debating.
It can be a bit frustrating…

But once you’ve cast your vote, my friend,
You’ll know there’s nothing grander.
No longer will you be a mere bystander.
Until you stop and take a little gander,
And find that you are in a gerrymander!

Looks like you’re Disenfranchised!
Just look at how those lines are drawn.
You had thought the game was finished,
But your vote has been diminished
By the upper echelon.
Di-di-di-di-di-disenfranchised!
You’re nothing more than just a pawn.
And you somehow missed the notice
That the status of your vote is
Going, going, going, going, going, gone –

You’re disenfranchised!

© 2023 by Elizabeth Alexander