The Music of Elizabeth Alexander

Songs of Youth

An exploration of the thrill and impatience of growing up

Words by Elizabeth Alexander

An atmospheric and energetic two-movement work about the thrill and impatience of growing up. Its lyric, comprised entirely of verbs suggesting stages of growth, creates a progression from “waiting, watching, wondering” to “doing, daring, flying!” An optional vibraphone part lends more color to this unique youth choir showpiece.

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Text

Songs of Youth

I. When?

When? When?
Stretching, seeking, slumbering…

What a world of shapes and colors, gentle hands and lullabies.

Crawling, reaching…

Will there be a time to use my eager arms and open eyes?

Waiting, watching, wondering…
When? When? When?

II. Now!

Now! Now! Now!

Sailing, soaring, running, racing,
Speeding, sporting, cheering, chasing,
Shouting, sharing, doing, daring —
No more wondering when!

Working, wishing, dreaming, dancing,
Reaching, risking, choosing, chancing,
Growing, giving, learning, living —
No more wondering when!

Trusting… Trying… Loving… Crying…

Sailing, soaring, running, racing,
Speeding, sporting, cheering, chasing,
Shouting, sharing, doing, daring — flying!

Now! Straightaway!
At once! No delay!
It’s now or never, here and now,
Without hesitation the moment to live…is Now!

Elizabeth Alexander with students from Waunakee Middle School
© 1992 by Elizabeth Alexander

Performers

Performers

Premiere: Waunakee Middle School Chorus / Elizabeth Alexander (Waunakee, WI)
All-District 7th & 8th Grade Choir / Elizabeth McFarland (Saint Charles, MO)
Elisabeth C. Adams Middle School Chorus / Gabrielle Johnson (Guilford, CT)
Louisville Youth Repertory Chorus / Frank Heller III (Memphis, TN)
Ross School Chorus / Adam Judd (Bridgehampton, NY)