Welcome Back!

by Teresa Jennings/arr. Paul Jennings

This swinging big band chart is an enthusiastic way to tell anyone in any situation, "Welcome back!" Perfect for the beginning of school, it's simple and general enough to be used for any welcoming ceremony throughout the year.

The melody is sparse at first, leaving plenty of room for snapping and instrumental response. The chords are bluesy and, in fact, the form of the song is based on a 12-bar blues.

When it goes into the next section at measure 18, the dynamic level drops dramatically as the singers point to the object(s) of their welcoming message. The response in part 2 during this section is optional, but if you have any older boys, give them a shot at it. It's only one note and kind of fun to sing. Be sure they don't lose track of their dynamic level. It does crescendo into the next section, which features a piano solo. At this point, there is an optional divisi in octaves. Simple enough to sing, it might help those shy young men continue on the lower parts. Let your students listen to the singers on the recording to hear how much energy they put into it.

After the piano solo (played masterfully by our own Paul Jennings), the song goes back to the D.S., which does repeat before going to the coda. We have suggested that you interject an optional ad lib solo during this part of the song. Again, those sparse melodies allow plenty of room for a bit of solo action. On the recording, we asked one of our singers, Katy Gentry, to try a blues solo. (See the sidebar on Katy on page 54.) She agreed and as you can hear, the results are quite something. (We have had many comments from teachers telling us that they appreciated the opportunity to showcase an individual within their midst with solo opportunities such as this.) If you have a soloist or soloists in your school, let them play around with this solo section. They can borrow ideas from Katy or come up with their own ideas and variations.

Also, during the D.S., we changed the snaps to claps, though it is not indicated on the music. We felt that it had more of a gospel flavor at this point, and claps just felt right!

At the end of the song, the last chord is held out. Listen to the drum fill and piano gliss at the very end to determine when to cut your singers off. Also be sure to let your soloist continue her/his ad lib over that last chord.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.