Mister Sun

adapted/arr. Paul Jennings

This is a lively, happy song for your singers squirming in their seats waiting for summer vacation. As with many old songs, we try to find out where they came from, but in this case our hunt dead-ended around 1906, though there are clues for looking further. It appears that this is a song written for children that actually gained some popularity with the invention of the phonograph. We found mention of it in a copyright filing that identified it as a sequel to an earlier hit from the Remick Company, "Mister Moon." (That makes sense...) "Mister Moon" isn't around much today, but this song is.

The way we have always known this song is as a bouncy, easygoing tune, often with movement or other actions for the children singing it. So our version is set as a shuffle/swing tune which opens with a tone painting of the sun rising with whole-tone chords, worth discussing with your students as they listen. The orchestration is lots of fun, with bass clarinet and muted brass, and a stellar performance by our rhythm section.

The arrangement and recording have three verses. For the first and third verses, your kids sing the song. For the second verse they do body percussion, clapping and patsching. And to add a little extra drama, they then try to combine the singing with the body percussion.

If you troll the Internet, you will find other approaches to the tune activity-wise including on YouTube™, especially for movement ideas. You can also add simple classroom percussion to taste.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.