Hard Times Sung Out

Let us pause in life’s pleasures, and count its many tears
While we all sup sorrow with the poor.

We started rehearsing at 1:30 and performed a concert at 7. It was my blessing to spend part of a day with these young men from throughout Southwest Michigan (MSVMA District 6), and especially to present this beautiful American tune, doubly dedicated to our hurting hearts and to the lovely Alice Parker, who celebrates her 90th birthday next week.

Hard times come again no more.


Here’s what I said to introduce the piece, which we sang only three days after the Paris attacks of Novmeber 13.

Obviously when I programmed this piece, I had no idea of the tragedies we’d be talking about on social media and in our conversations. But I think pieces says exactly what we’re all feeling: we’re just tired of the hard times. We’re tired of all these terrible, terrible things happening. And in light of that, I want to share a quote from Leonard Bernstein, who said “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”

I don’t think we can solve the world’s problems with music. But I do think we can help an awful lot with passionate music-making.