Words and music by Dennis Livingston


Note: The choral SATB-piano version is heard here (there are other arrangements noted below), using MIDI sounds for voices and piano thus, no lyrics on this recording.



Length of song: 2:52

Song style/genre: Moderate, jig-like tempo

Key(s): G maj

Note range (Low/High): Arranged for SATB

About the song: Wassail songs derive from an English tradition that bears directly on the spirit of this piece. A "wassail" is a spicy, hot drink made from fermented apples that was served to groups of singers who, on New Year's Eve, roamed from house to house asking for warmth, a drink from the wassail bowl and a bit of food and money. In return, they extended their blessings and promised to be back the next year. The title of a wassail song often took the name of a local village or region, as I have done here for the Boston suburb in which I live.

While BROOKLINE WASSAIL borrows the form of a traditional wassail song, the musical arrangement and content are clearly contemporary. In particular, the wassailers here ask not for alms for themselves, but, in Verse 3, for charity to those who are poor and ill. With its use of multiple voices, four-part harmonies and a rousing jig tune, the song could make a striking and appropriate conclusion to any holiday show, especially events geared to charitable fund-raising.

Song versions: Three versions of the song are available.
(1) For unaccompanied soloist

(2) For four unaccompanied voices in barbershop quartet style

(3) For larger SATB choral group with piano obbligato

Gender point of view: Irrelevant

  CONTACT DENNIS  to request sheet music and/or a CD or MP3 for this song. The message should include your name, address, phone (optional), e-mail and your website, if any.

Back to SONGS main page



 Download Acrobat Reader for free!