The Music of Elizabeth Alexander

No One Gets A Program

A sassy take on a wise old saying

Music: Elizabeth Alexander

Words: Dutch proverb / Elizabeth Alexander

“In the concert of life, no one gets a program.” Dutch proverb

This song may start out as a straightfordward blues riff but it quickly goes off the rails! Gleefully expanding on the Dutch proverb “In the concert of life no one gets a program,” a wild ride ensues, with touches of whimsy, philosophy, and joie de vivre.

Performers may take liberties with any aspect of performance, from small vocal nuances all the way to improvised riffs and unabashed cadenzas.

Details and Ordering Information

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Composer Notes

Composer Notes

No one gets a program for this song — and that includes the composer herself! Performers may take liberties with any aspect of performance, from small vocal nuances all the way to improvised riffs and unabashed cadenzas. Although it’s scored for 1 or 2 voices, it can easily be performed by a small collection of confident singers. Similarly, instrumentation possibilities include anything from a solo pianist to any assortment of warm-bodied players.

Text

No One Gets a Program

“In the concert hall of life, no one gets a program.” Dutch proverb

The world was making music long before I joined the show,
I still have lots to learn, but there is one thing that I know:
No one gets a program in the concert hall of life.

You never see the music, you never see the text,
You know you’re on when someone hollers: Honey, you’re up next!
No one gets a program in the concert hall of life.

Sometimes you’ll find your courage, sometimes you’ll lose your nerve,
Sometimes you won’t be ready when life pitches you a curve:
No one gets a program in the concert hall of life.

In all my years of living, there’s one thing that I’ve learned:
You never know when you’re gonna get burned!
No one has the brains or intuition
To predict the Spanish Inquisition.
No one, no one, no one!

Sometimes you’re suddenly dancing a waltz,
Then when you’re just getting used to it, out of the blue comes a
Polka! Grab a partner! Enjoy it while you can,
For it won’t last forever.
There will be days when you sing songs of praise,
There will be elegies, there will be lullabies.

So tap your feet, and take it in, and sing along, my friend,
Enjoy it while you can — ’cause you don’t know when it will end —
No one gets a program in this concert hall,
There is no dress rehearsal or a crystal ball,
But everyone who sings their heart out gets a curtain call.

There’s an opening in the chorus,
Come and join us in the concert hall of life!

Dutch Proverb
Additional lyrics by Elizabeth Alexander
© 2010 by Elizabeth Alexander

Performers

Performers

Premiere: Marti Mendenhall, Elisabeth Harrington and Elizabeth Alexander (Madison, WI)
Andy Wilkowske, Kathleen Humphrey, Ruth MacKenzie and Elizabeth Alexander (St. Paul, MN)
Henry Sgrecci and Emma Vawter (Bethesda, MD)
Sheryl Bass and Mary Ellen Heelan (Palatine, IL)