It's Not My Fault!

by John Riggio

We suppose this song is a rebuttal to pretty much every tune we've written that places the blame squarely on the groundhog for adding six weeks of winter upon seeing his shadow on February 2nd. We thought we'd talk about Groundhog's Day from the groundhog's point of view this time.

The song has a bit of drama to it, so we start in a court of law before the music ever begins. There is general talking and whispering in the court, and a gavel sounds. Mr. Groundhog (defendant) is being accused of adding six weeks to an already blustery winter, and he is asked to enter his plea. Of course, he pleads "not guilty," and the song begins. As you pick students to read these parts, remember the judge needs to enunciate well and come across in a foreboding manner, while Mr. Groundhog should be silly sounding. Kudos to Ari and Kelsey who did these rolls in the studio extremely well. There are no effects on Kelsey's groundhog voice – she did that on her own! Once the song (and trial) is over, we had our judge declare Mr. Groundhog "not guilty," after which you hear much rejoicing in the classroom, er, courtroom. Of course, you could choose to alter the outcome if you wish – pronounce him guilty and sentence him to ten lashes with a wet noodle, have him try to make a deal with the court as the bailiffs take him away, etc. That's up to you.

The song itself is a narrative, backed up by a horn band. The melody is fairly easy, but to help your students, we've added an alto sax guide, and trumpets also take up the melody during the forte sections of the tune.

During the first verse, the word "weather" is pronounced "weath-air," because it's silly and it just has to rhyme with "fresh air." Be sure to have your singers emphasize the notes at bars 17-20, 'cause groundhogs really don't control the weather. Try to sing the scoops as written, as this sounds cool and is what our horn band peeps did as well. Of course, in live performance, you'll need a groundhog and a judge, as well as people in your courtroom. The judge will need a robe, and if you don't have a groundhog outfit, perhaps a fuzzy hat would work. If you have a mallet and a table, they can serve as the judges' gavel and bench. If you pronounce Mr. Groundhog "not guilty," your courtroom people will need to celebrate with him. Alternately, if Mr. Groundhog is found "guilty as charged," you might want to have a couple of bailiffs to haul him out while he declares his innocence (It wasn't me! It was my cousin, Phil! He's been secretly controlling the weather for years! He gives all us groundhogs a bad name!), or tries to make a deal with the court.

In case you want to do the dialog yourself or just leave it out entirely, we have included a "no dialog" version on our web site.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.