We are pleased to introduce the Elise Witt Choral Series,
a set of Elise Witt compositions arranged for choir by Michael Holmes.

About the Songs

Au Revoir Les Bateaux (Bye Bye Boats)
I Do Remember You
My Journey Yours
My Salsa Garden
Night Blooming Jasmine
Open the Window
SpiralThank You
Una Nuova Armonia (A New Harmony)
YRRIs
(Why Are Our Eyes In the Front Of Our Heads?)


Arranger's NoteComposer's Note

Purchase by MailSecure Online PurchaseIn The News


Arranger's Note

The music of Elise Witt exudes an innate charm, worldliness, and wit, topped with an irresistable singability. It is an arranger's joy, especially when the vocal lines lend themselves so readily to choral treatment. My challenge was to write choral arrangements that do justice to the uniqueness of Elise's beautiful contralto voice. It is mysterious in that it's the kind of voice that sounds lower than it actually is. It can sound light and flexible down low, while still providing the needed power and non-strained focus in the upper range. From the first day I worked with her, I knew that choral arrangements of her songs would flow like a river. Elise is also a first-rate song leader, and having these songs in parts finally available in print will facilitate a much wider distribution, especially since hundreds of people who have attended her workshops all over the country have been requesting them for some time. I hope that you will enjoy singing these arrangements as much as I have with my own choir in Silver Spring, Maryland.
-- Michael Holmes



Composer's Note

What a joy it is to finally have my music arranged in choral treatment. I have performed and recorded most of these songs in concert versions, and for years I have been teaching and leading them with choruses, choirs, ensembles, and community groups around the country and abroad. But I have always dreamed of hearing them in full glorious choral arrangements. In Michael Holmes I have found the perfect arranger and collaborator. We are both extremely eclectic in our musical tastes and experiences. We both have a background in classical music, and we both have deep love and involvement in a myriad of musical styles ranging from gospel, folk, and blues, to jazz improvisation and ethnic music from around the world. Because Michael is both a singer and a choral conductor, as well as a music scholar, his vision is the perfect complement for my (sometimes "quirky") songs. In this series you will find music for many occasions, from inspirational to memorial to humorous. We encourage you to include improvisation and creativity in the execution of these pieces. This series also lends itself to a complete concert with all the variation in dynamics, style, and content that tells a story, the story of the power of song to transform us individually, and to unite us as community.
-- Elise Witt




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Titles

Price

Arranged for:

Au Revoir Les Bateaux (Bye Bye Boats)
EWCS-1002
Bi-lingual homage to New Orleans and the Mississippi River
$1.75 SATB
.mp3 sample
This recording is from Elise's CD "Open The Window" and is not the choral arrangement, but will give you an idea of the song. If you have any questions, please contact Elise at emworld@mindspring.com
SSAA
TTBB

I Do Remember You
EWCS-1005
Anthem honoring those who have inspired us
$1.95 SATB
.mp3 sample
This recording is from Elise's CD "Valise" and is not the choral arrangement, but will give you an idea of the song. If you have any questions, please contact Elise at emworld@mindspring.com
SSAA
TTBB

My Journey Yours
EWCS-1006
Multi-lingual vocal collage representing the refugee's journey (Amharic, Arabic, Bosnian, English, Kurdish, Mano, Somali, Vietnamese)
$1.75 SATB
.mp3 sample
"
My Journey Yours" is not yet recorded on CD. This is a rough recording to give you an idea of the song. If you have any questions, please contact Elise at emworld@mindspring.com
SSAA
TTBB

My Salsa Garden
EWCS-1008
A recipe for Salsa set to Salsa music
$1.95 SATB
.mp3 sample
"
My Salsa Garden" is not yet recorded on CD. This is a rough recording to give you an idea of the song. If you have any questions, please contact Elise at emworld@mindspring.com
SSAA
TTBB

Night Blooming Jasmine
EWCS-1007
Multi-layered partsong exploring light in darkness, and darkness in light
$1.75
SMezATBarB
.mp3 sample
This recording is from Elise's CD "Mezzanine" and is not the choral arrangement, but will give you an idea of the song. If you have any questions, please contact Elise at emworld@mindspring.com
SSSAAA
SSAA
Night Blooming Jasmine for CONCERT BAND
EWCS-1007 CONCERT BAND
Concert Band Score & Parts
$59.95 CONCERT BAND

Open the Window
EWCS-1001
Anthem inspired by a Georgia Sea Islands Spiritual
$1.75 SATB
.mp3 sample
This recording is from Elise's CD "Open The Window" and is not the choral arrangement, but will give you an idea of the song. If you have any questions, please contact Elise at emworld@mindspring.com
SSAA
TTBB

Spiral
EWCS-1003
Swing jazz song re-examining our assumptions about language
$1.95 SATB
.mp3 sample
This recording is from Elise's CD "Open The Window" and is not the choral arrangement, but will give you an idea of the song. If you have any questions, please contact Elise at emworld@mindspring.com
SSAA
TTBB

Thank You
EWCS-1009
Multi-lingual vocal collage of gratitude (French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Kiswahili, Russian, Arabic, Italian, German, Japanese, Hebrew, English)
$1.95 SATB
.mp3 sample
This recording is from Elise's CD "Open The Window" and is not the choral arrangement, but will give you an idea of the song. If you have any questions, please contact Elise at emworld@mindspring.com
SSAA
TTBB

Una Nuova Armonia (A New Harmony)
EWCS-1010
Harmony viewed from underwater and outer space in Italian
$1.95 SSAA
.mp3 sample
This recording is from Elise's CD "Love Being Here" and is not the choral arrangement, but will give you an idea of the song. If you have any questions, please contact Elise at emworld@mindspring.com
SSA

YRRIs (Why Are Our Eyes In the Front Of Our Heads?)
EWCS -1004
Jazz vocalise on perspective
$1.95 SATB
.mp3 sample
This recording is from Elise's CD "Open The Window" and is not the choral arrangement, but will give you an idea of the song. If you have any questions, please contact Elise at emworld@mindspring.com
SSAA
TTBB




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E M World Records
PO Box 148
Pine Lake GA 30072

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EM World Records
PO Box 148, Pine Lake GA 30072
e-mail emworld@mindspring.com
(404) 297-8398
About the Songs
Elise Witt • Choral Series


AU REVOIR LES BATEAUX
by Elise Witt
© Elise Witt, Non Si Sa Mai Music ASCAP
Recorded on OPEN THE WINDOW © EMWorld Records
www.elisewitt.com * www.cdbaby.com/cd/elisewitt2

Au Revoir Les Bateaux was born in 1990, on the banks of the Mississippi, after a long tour through southwest Louisiana with my band the Small Family Orchestra. Happily exhausted after the energetic dancing, lively music, delicious food, and open-hearted hospitality of Cajun country, I found respite in New Orleans, gathering energy for another round of great music, dance, and food at the Jazz & Heritage Festival. Staying with friends on the border between the French quarter and the Marigny, I spent hours each day, sitting on the quai, watching the boats gliding up and down the mighty Mississippi River. With the sounds of Cajun and Zydeco music still ringing in my ears, this song emerged.

I dedicate Au Revoir Les Bateaux to all the New Orleans and Gulf Coast residents who lost so much during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Many of these folks still have not been able to return home, and live in exile remembering this vibrant city, unique in all of America.

Sitting on the edge of the Mississippi queen
Au revoir, les bateaux
So many boats carry so many dreams
Au revoir, les bateaux
J’étais assise au bord de la rivière
Au revoir, les bateaux
Tant de bateaux ‘vec des rêves et prières
Au revoir, les bateaux

Waters carry them far away
Au revoir, les bateaux
Who knows where they’ll be on some other day?
Au revoir, les bateaux
Les eaux les portent bien loin dans le vent
Au revoir, les bateaux
Qui sait où ils arriveront ‘vec le temps?
Au revoir, les bateaux

I DO REMEMBER YOU
by Elise Witt
© Elise Witt, Non Si Sa Mai Music ASCAP
Recorded on ALL SINGING ©EMWorld Records

In every hand that fights to right an old wrong
In every child who learns to sing a new song
In every hand that helps another to rise
In every child who reaches up to the skies
I do, I remember you
I do, I remember you

And when the mountain seems to steep
You remind me of the dream we keep
When the day becomes too long
You remind me to sing a new song
And I do, I remember you
I do, I remember you

When the job gets to gettin’ too tough
You remind me that one’s not enough
When I think I can do it alone
You remind me my heart’s not a stone
I do, I remember you
I do, I remember you

In every hand that opens toward me in love
In every child who spreads her wings like a dove
In every hand that crosses over the line
In every child who learns to speak her own mind
I do, I remember you
I do, I remember you
I do, I remember

My Journey Yours
by Elise Witt
© Elise Witt, Non Si Sa Mai Music ASCAP
Recorded on ALL SINGING ©EMWorld Records

My Journey Yours was originally commissioned by a multi-disciplinary arts project of the same name with Refugee Family Services in Clarkston, Georgia. RFS serves more than 2500 refugees each year from countries including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Burma, Burundi, Iraq, Iran, Kurdistan, Somalia, Sudan, and Vietnam. Programs help refugee women and children regain self-sufficiency through education and economic opportunity. The project My Journey Yours served to incorporate arts into the social service work of the agency.

My Journey Yours musically represents the refugees’ journey from their homelands, through the seemingly unending days of waiting, to the challenge of creating a new life as Americans in Clarkston, Georgia. For the first section of the piece, the RFS staff members--themselves refugees and immmigrants--translated the phrase “my journey, yours” into their language, and each woman sang me a song she remembered from childhood. I gathered lullabies, children's songs, and musical games from each of the countries represented. With each language, I took a musical phrase from their song and put the words "my journey yours" in their language over that musical phrase. Then I stacked these musical phrases on top of each other into a multi-lingual, multi-cultural vocal collage. Improvisation over the collage is encouraged and recommended. Connecting this section to the next are musical phrases in Vietnamese and Somali, calling out the anguish of leaving home, and the intense difficulty of the journey. Many of these people have spent up to 25 years in refugee camps.

The last section of the piece represents the new home, shared by refugees from many lands. It uses a 6/8 Bosnian chord progression, with the words "my journey yours" sung in English. Once this section is established, I recommend vocal improvisation over it, allowing individual voices to speak/sing while the group holds the foundation. Allow this part time to develop and flourish.

Pronunciation Guide
Kurdish: GAHSH-tee-meen, GAHSH-tah-kaht
Arabic: REKH-luh-TEE, HEE-yah REKH-luh-TAHK
Mano (Liberia): LOO-pyah, TAH-pyah
Amharic (Ethiopia): YEH-neh goh-ZOH nah YAHNG-kuh
Bosnian: MOY-yuh POO-toh VAHN-yuh TVOY-yuh
Vietnamese: Hahng Jing Gwah Toy, Hahng Jing Gwah Ahng
Somali: Soh-DAHL KAY-gah, EE-oh KAH-gah


MY SALSA GARDEN
by Elise Witt
© Elise Witt, Non Si Sa Mai Music ASCAP
Recorded on ALL SINGING © EMWorld Records

My Salsa Garden was inspired by my neighbor Harriette Bugel, who helped me plant my first garden in Pine Lake, Georgia. She said, “Wouldn’t it be fun and delicious to plant a salsa garden?” That made me think, “Wouldn’t it be fun and delicious to concoct a song whose lyrics are the ingredients of salsa, accompanied by salsa music?” So, here’s the recipe. ¡Buen provecho!

Do you have a recipe for my Salsa Garden?
Cilantro, lime, cumin, coriander,
Onion, garlic for my Salsa Garden.
Really red, really ripe, really red, really ripe,
Real tomatoes, juicy, juicy, for my Salsa Garden.
Hot jalapeños, aiiiiii, for my Salsa Garden!

Come on and dance with me
In my garden
Dance with me

Thanks to Ann Kilkelly for the salsa rhythms from her tap dancing.
Thanks to Joanne Hammill, Kate Long, and Sue Ribaudo
for helping me concoct a musical setting for the recipe.


NIGHT BLOOMING JASMINE
by Elise Witt
© Elise Witt, Non Si Sa Mai Music ASCAP
Recorded on MEZZANINE © EMWorld Records
www.cdbaby.com/cd/elisewitt1

In 1989, Paula Larke, Jo Carson, Linda Parriss-Bailey, Celeste Miller, and I were commissioned by the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans to create a collaborative performance, Five Women From the Southeast: How We Came To Be Here. Our first meeting at Paula’s house in Shelby, NC began with telling our life stories. A theme that emerged in all the stories was the stereotypical images and values associated with black/white, day/night,wrong/right.

By the end of the first long day of talk, we all agreed that we needed a walk. We set off through the pleasant mountain town of Shelby. Paula and I, having the longest legs in the group, were soon many paces ahead. Suddenly we were brought to a standstill by the most brilliantly blooming bush we had ever seen. In the light of almost dusk, it was an intense, vibrant, glow-in-the-dark pink. As we lingered to admire this phenomenon of nature, an elderly woman emerged from the house. She obviously appreciated how much we were marvelling at this plant, which she said had been a gift from her “gentleman friend” of many years. Now, since he had passed away (at the age of 83), it was her fond memory of him. Its name, she told us with the delight of remembered sweetness, is the Night Blooming Jasmine. Paula and I exchanged a glance, agreeing wordlessly that it was a perfect metaphor for the images from that day’s storytelling. We knew right then that it would make a great song.

More than a year later, we were still enthusiastic about the idea, but had yet to set pen to paper. Then I received a call from the director of Alternate ROOTS, our organization of Southeastern community artists, asking me to lead singing at the upcoming annual meeting. Could I please initiate the meeting with a song that would set the scene for our week of work dealing with dismantling racism and examining issues of color, discrimination, black/white, dark/light, day/night, wrong/right?

The next morning, I awoke hearing Night Blooming Jasmine emerge in full musical splendor. Later that evening, in the mountains of Georgia, it had its first run-through with a 200-voice chorus of Alternate ROOTS artists. Paula helped with some arranging and revision, and since then it has been sung in workshops and meetings all over the country and overseas and is in the repertoire of the Threshold Choir. It seems to glow in the dark.

Chorus: In the darkness we walk with light
In the darkness we walk with light
Like the night blooming jasmine
We light up the night
In the darkness we walk with light

Verse 1: A shining darkness glows in me
Its warmth and beauty set me free

Verse 2: There is a darkness in my soul
Its strong black power makes me whole


OPEN THE WINDOW
by Elise Witt
© Elise Witt, Non Si Sa Mai Music ASCAP
Recorded on OPEN THE WINDOW ©EMWorld Records
www.cdbaby.com/cd/elisewitt2


Inspired by Heist the Window Noah, a Spiritual from the Georgia Sea Islands, Open the Window is a rousing choral anthem, a perfect call and response song for concert audience participation, and a wonderful teaching tool. Illustrating situations that need opening for the dove to fly in, the song is a palette for singers to create their own verses. Participants sing about a personal, a community, a national, or a global issue, which cries out for the dove’s intervention. Improvisation is highly recommended. Open the Window has been translated into many languages, some of which are included below. Sign Language is an ideal accompaniment for the song, and a kinesthetic tool to get shy singers involved.
Open the Window has been published in Singing the Journey, the new Unitarian Universalist hymnal supplement to Singing the Living Tradition, and Sing Your Faith, the Unitarian hymnal in the U.K.

Chorus: Open the window, children
Open the window now
Open the window, children
Open the window, let the dove fly in

Mama and Papa are fighting like snakes
Baby is cryin’ like her heart will break

Neighbors lock their doors, build fences so high
Don’t see what’s to discover on the other side

Borders ‘round countries, borders ‘round the skies
The only border close you in is the border ‘round your mind

Some people have money, some people have none
What’s the use of having money if your heart’s gone numb?

This big old world is in a great big mess
Let’s open the window, find peace and rest

Spanish Abran la ventana, niños
Abran la ventana ya
Abran la ventana, niños
Abran la ventana que entre la paloma

French Ouvrez la fenêtre, mes enfants
Ouvrez la fenêtre maintenant
Ouvrez la fenêtre, mes enfants
Ouvrez la fenêtre, laissez entrer la colombe

German Öffnet die Fenster, lasst die Taube herein

Farsi Pan jarraró voskon taw, kabutaró bían

Yoruba Shi le kõn aiyo ki ore so kalé

Kirundi Ogururá ididishá, oréke i numa yinjíre

Vietnamese Mõ cúa sô va dê con chim, hòa binh bay vaò

THANK YOU
by Elise Witt
© Elise Witt, Non Si Sa Mai Music ASCAP
Recorded on OPEN THE WINDOW © EMWorld Records
www.cdbaby.com/cd/elisewitt2

A fun performance piece, Thank You has a middle section that allows for creativity and multi-cultural harmony. Construct a vocal collage, using the words for “thank you” in various languages. Whenever possible, invite native speakers to teach the pronunciation, so that singers can discover the colors and rhythms inherent in the sounds each language. Compose a repeatable rhythmic/melodic phrase for each language. Then, layer the musical phrases into a multi-lingual tapestry of interlocking parts. Below is the collage I created with my students at an international school in Atlanta.I also accompany this song with Sign Language.

Verse 1 We can say it to our mamas
Say it to our papas
Say it to our children too

Chorus My friends love to hear it
I love to hear it
Thank you, thank you, thank you

Verse 2 We can say it in the morning
Say it in the evening
Lunchtime and dinner too

Chorus

Bridge My ears love to hear it, thank you
My hands love to hear it, thank you
My heart loves to hear it, thank you very much

Verse 3 We can say it in Spanish,
German, Kiswahili
French and Chinese too

Chorus

Merci (French) * Gracias (Spanish) * Grazie (Italian) * Hsei Hsei (Mandarin Chinese)
Asante sana (Kiswahili) * Spasiba (Russian) * Shukran, tislam ideyki (Arabic)
Danke schön (German) * Arigato (Japanese)

Verse 4 We can say it when we're laughing
Say it when we're crying
Say it when we're standing still

Chorus

Verse 5 We can say it in the moonlight
Say it in the starlight
Bright noonday sunlight too

Chorus


SPIRAL
by Elise Witt
© Elise Witt, Non Si Sa Mai Music ASCAP
Recorded on OPEN THE WINDOW © EMWorld Records
www.cdbaby.com/cd/elisewitt2

Some people get so scared at the sound of “revolution”
A revolution just goes ‘round
‘Round and ‘round and ‘round it goes
Planet Earth, the greatest show
A circle ends where it began
What threat is in that hand?
If you wanna move on sing a Spiral Song

Some people get so scared at the sound of “conservative”
Conservative, conservative means “save”
Of all the things we throw away
I tell you there will come a day
Waters, skies and trees and birds
Have secrets that we all can learn
Traditions customs down the line
Our children keeping time
If you wanna move on sing a Spiral Song
A spiral turns and turns and turns
And where it goes we’ll only learn by following its curve
It never stays in place, in place
It moves on out in outer space, listen on the curve

Some people get so scared at the sound of “radical”
Radical, radical means “root”
Are we so far out on a limb
We’ve lost our touch with the soul within?
The limb it leads back to the tree
The tree has roots that grow so deep
The roots of one tree twine the next
Let’s get back down to the root of the matter!
We need to learn the history, We need to search the mystery
We need to just let this one be where it can go

Some people get so scared at the sound of “liberal”
Liberal, liberal means “free”
Are we so scared, oh why so scared
To see us when our souls are bared?
Do we not trust, oh why not trust
The sacred message placed in us?
Is it so hard, oh why so hard
To liberate our love?
If you wanna move on sing a Spiral Song


UNA NUOVA ARMONIA
(A NEW HARMONY)
by Elise Witt
© Elise Witt, Non Si Sa Mai Music ASCAP
Recorded on lOVE BEING HERE ©EMWorld Records
www.cdbaby.com/cd/elisewitt3

Italian

Sto cercando una nuova armonia
La vita che da tempo era mia
Granelli di sabbia compongono un castello
Un'onda del mare, come martello.

E nell'acqua dove vorrei vivere
Quando sento le balene devo seguirle
Di notte sogno fondali marini
I miei piedi abbandonano la terra.

Sono in armonia con le molecole
Non sento più la mia pelle
Tra me, il mare, e l'aria
Non c'è piu differenza
Finisce e comincia la danza.

Ho sentito parlare un'astronauta alla radio
Per cinque mesi ha galleggiato libero
Tornando a terra, pur essendo contento,
Sentiva il peso dimenticato

Sto cercando una nuova armonia
La vita che da tempo era mia
Granelli di sabbia compongono un castello
Un'onda del mare, come Martello

English Translation

I am looking for a new harmony
The life which was mine
Grains of sand make a castle
A wave of the ocean like a hammer

In the water is where I want to live
When I hear whales I want to follow them
At night I dream underwater
My feet are already leaving the earth

I am in harmony with the molecules
I no longer feel my skin
Between me, the sea, and the air
There is no longer any difference
The dance ends and begins

I heard an astronaut speaking on the radio
For five months he floated free
Returning to earth, though he was happy
He felt the forgotten weight

I am looking for a new harmony
The life which was mine
Grains of sand make a castle
A wave of the ocean like a hammer


YRRIs
Why Are Our Eyes In the Front of our Heads?
by Elise Witt
© Elise Witt, Non Si Sa Mai Music ASCAP
Recorded on OPEN THE WINDOW © EMWorld Records
www.cdbaby.com/cd/elisewitt2

Why are our eyes in the front of our heads?
What a funny design
How one-sided
How peculiar
Why are our eyes in the front of our heads?

If our eyes were 'round on the other side of our skull
Would we walk backward and shake hands behind?
They say foresight is better than hindsight
Then would we rewrite the history books
Include our story too?

If our eyes were all around our heads
A sort of halo, if you will
Would our panoramic view afford us
Clearer vision
Brighter in our view

You couldn't sneak around behind me
And if you did
You couldn't
You couldn't sneak
You couldn't sneak around
You couldn't sneak around behind me
And if you did
And if you did

And what if, God forbid, we had no eyes at all
Would we look inside and see?
Would our nose be twice as long?
Our fingers twice as strong?
Our tongue attuned to every taste and song?
What's been there all along

Why are our eyes in the front of our heads?

In Argentina south is up and north is down
From outer space the world looks perfectly round
See you 'round


In The News
Elise Witt • Choral Series

An article in the times-georgian.com (Carroll County, Georgia) about the Clear Rivers Chorus performing "The Spiral Song".

Clear Rivers Chorus: Music with a purpose


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