First Snow

SA, piano

Beloved by children, but understood in a different way by more mature upper voice choirs, this is a song of the regret of winter, with the promise of spring. Score sample and recording of the 2004 SWACDA 5th-7th Grade Honor Choir, Bob Chilcott conducting, below.

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A song of the passing seasons, of the passing of generations, of the seasons of life. Dr. Dunlop wrote this poem as her mother was passing from Alzheimer’s disease.


Pay particular attention to the sounds of the f’s and s’s as they make the sound of falling snow.


–Sheila Dunlop
Soft as feathers, floating snow
In the wood a gentle doe
Forest king lays down his antlered crown
Winter covers autumn’s glow

Hoof-prints by a frozen pool (Fawn follows near)
Winter blows harsh and cruel (Senses sharp with fear)
Grass gone, trees feed the hungry deer (Sweet joy of..)
Autumn bows to winter’s rule

Ice-coated branches reflecting the starlight,
Clothed in crystalline sighs of delight.
Clear, starlit darkness, endless night,
Tree-jewels sparkle, shatter the light!

In the glade, a doe and fawn
one remains and one moves on.
Young and old turn in the dance;
Spring will come when Winter’s gone.

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