Here We Go A-Shoveling

adapted/arr. Teresa & Paul Jennings

One day this past winter while shoveling our Wisconsin snow – again – we were struck by the rhythmic dance of shovel on driveway/plop of snow over and over and over. Indeed, it reminded us of the galley scene in the movie Ben Hur, where the drum is beat to indicate the tempo with which the oars were to be rowed. In our experience, the shoveling did not get faster as the oars did (thank goodness), but the idea stuck, and this tongue-in-cheek adaptation was the result. Starting with a lovely chorale style introduction, it soon devolves into a pulsing grind, complete with scrapes and plops, punctuated with an anvil clank. The verses are sung with a touch of disdain and the bridge goes fully minor to complete the feeling. Before circling back to the shoveling groove, there is a brief moment of respite with a familiar spring-like theme (a new and different one each of the three times), teasing and encouraging us to carry on, ever mindful of the coming warmer weather.

The song is entirely unison, and since it is based on a familiar carol, it should be pretty easy to pick up. And of course, singing along with our recording will help your kids learn the nuances quicker.

If you have an opportunity to use this one in performance (in person or remotely), consider letting singers be actors, too. Have them dress in outdoor winter garb and let them ham it up with the "woe is me" attitude. (If you use shovels, lightweight plastic prop versions would probably be safer.)

Be sure to listen for the distinctive "Wilhelm" scream before bar 21 the third time. What is it and why do we keep using it? Wikipedia offers the tale of its history and how it has become a running joke for tons of movies, notably including Star Wars movies and a bunch of Disney and Pixar movies. So we're in good company.

This song includes a "Diving Deeper Into The Music" learning assessment PDF.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.