The old fiddle, dobro, banjo, and guitars in this song will take you and your students on a journey back to the Old West. Here's another great chance to bring music across the curriculum and reinforce a unit study on the Gold Rush era.
The song takes place on the streets of the Gold Rush town of Sonora, California. (Can your students name other famous Gold Rush towns?) Use this song to invite discussion about the Gold Rush and the Westward Expansion in general. What, when, where, etc. Of course, not everyone struck it rich. Through this song, we witness the lament of one sorrowful old miner who didn't.
What a hoot your singers will have twanging out the chorus like an old prospector. And twang, they must! The melody is easier than it appears, going right where you'd expect. Our studio kids learned quickly and really enjoyed hamming it up. Choose a unison voicing for younger groups (part 1) or challenge older groups with the optional parts 2 and 3 for some real fun, especially with the ending. Note that only part 2 joins part 1 at the chorus the first time, while part 3 joins them both the second time. (You can alter this to include part 3 the first time if you'd rather.) We've posted practice mixes for parts 2 and 3 on our web site to make learning even easier. We've also provided an accompaniment mix that includes only parts 2 and 3 so that you can use it with a unison group and still have the effect of 3-part singing. (See bottom of page 68 for details.)