The Gift of Music

Music in My Mother’s House
Stuart Stotts, words and music
Arranged by J. David Moore
“This has long been a favorite piece of mine, reminding me of some of the tunes by The Weavers or Peter, Paul & Mary. It has the easy style of a folk song and tells the story of a family of women – sisters and mother all singing together at home – just the way I remember my early childhood. My mother taught me to play the piano, guitar and banjo and I know my life-long love of music came from her.


“There’s a wonderful piano interlude in the piece taken right from Scott Joplin’s Heliotrope Bouquet, and a choral interlude that helps us imagine mother and children sitting in a cozy living-room singing together.”
-Cricket Handler, Artistic Director


There were windchimes in the window, bells inside the clock
An organ in the corner, tunes in the music box
We sang while we were cooking, or working in the yard
We sang although our lives were really hard
There was music in my mother’s house
There was music all around
There was music in my mother’s house
And my heart still feels full with the sound
She taught us all piano, but my sister had the ear
She could play the harmony to any tune she’d hear
Now I don’t claim much talent, but I’ve always loved to play
And I guess I will until my dying day
Those days come back so clearly, although I’m far away
She gave me the kind of gift I love to give away
And when my mother died, and she’d sung her last song
We sat in the living room, singing all night long

Brian Holmes, Composer
Jane Kenyon, Poet


I got out of bed on two strong legs. (It might have been otherwise.)
I ate cereal, sweet milk, ripe flawless peach. (It might have been otherwise.)
I took the dog uphill to the birch wood.  All morning I did the work I love.
At noon I lay down with my mate (It might have been otherwise.)
We ate dinner together at a table with silver candlesticks.  (It might have been otherwise.)
I slept in a bed in a room with paintings on the walls,
and planned another day just like this day.
But one day I know, it will be otherwise.


“The music is pretty and contemporary, with changing meters and an almost jaunty sound, until the end of the piece, when it becomes more somber.  The text is made more poignant by the knowledge that the poet died at the age of 47 of leukemia.


“As a footnote, the composer Brian Holmes and I were music students together at Pomona College and sang in choir and glee club many decades ago!  It is a pleasure to be conducting his piece, and we believe that he plans to attend this performance.”
-Artistic Director, Jill Anderson

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