No Dirty Dishes

by John Riggio

Here's a march with some levity in it! If you've ever looked at a pile of dirty dishes and let out a sigh of discontent, this song is for you. "No Dirty Dishes" extols the virtues of finding ways to not have to wash the dishes – by eating out, using paper plates, etc. In other words, not getting the dishes dirty in the first place.

Inside story - John originally wrote this song in 4/4, because he heard the strong 1-2-3-4 beat in it. The only problem with that is that it's loaded with triplets, which look a bit messy on paper. It was pointed out to him that another great march, "Seventy-Six Trombones" from The Music Man, has that same 1-2-3-4 pulse, but it's written in 6/8, which looks much better for publication. So that's what we've done here.

Since this song is fully orchestrated, there is always an instrument playing the melody – either strings, horns, flute and clarinet, or trumpets – so your students always have a guide to keep them on track. The piano also has the melody for a good chunk of the tune, but it's not prominent in the mix. If you rehearse with a piano, however, it may be useful.

And this is meant to be silly: "No dirty dishes! That's the life for me!" What are these, pirates? Even the "Tra la la's" at the beginning and end of the song are silly. For added comedy, we had our singers sing the last "nooooo" in bar 37 faux operatically (with exaggerated vibratos). In performance, you could have students wear aprons and brandish pots and pans as props. (Glass items might break, so metal or plastic is safer.) And here's an idea: Tie it to your Mother's or Father's Day program by insisting that going out to dinner yields, what else? No dirty dishes!

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.