March Of The Leprechauns

by Teresa Jennings

While this tune is obviously geared to the celebration of St. Patrick's Day, which falls on March 17, it will be fun for younger students any time of the year. It can be used in a strictly classroom setting, or put on in a show using one or more classes for performance.

Either way, here are some suggestions for use.

The chord symbols are indicated on the music and can be easily adapted for autoharp. (Use an A7 chord in measure 19, which will go with either the tape or with the piano part which covers the C# in the bass. Also, wherever a G/D chord is indicated, have the autoharp(s) play the G chord and leave the D to the piano or tape.)

Since the song is a "question and answer" type of piece, you can divide your class into two parts, letting part one sing the first and third verse, while part two would sing the second verse. Both part one and two can join together for the "Marching" refrain. If you do decide to split them up, be sure to have them address each other while they sing as if they were actually having a conversation.

You will note that some of the lyrics are underlined. This is for added emphasis on those particular words. The emphasis can be exaggerated a bit for theatrics, and even almost spoken, instead of sung. Physical reinforcement of the emphasized words can be added by pointing a finger at the persons being questioned (...or answered, depending on which verse you're on) while that word is being sung.

If you're using the tape, it might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the ritard and length of time that the word "snow" is being held in the third verse. That way, you can cue the cut-off and a tempo for your students. If you are using piano accompaniment, decide the length of the fermata, and be consistent in your use of it.

As added enhancement in a performance situation, consider adding costumes. Leprechaun outfits could be fun and simple to make, using materials easily found or recycled from other sources.

A tunic, made of green fabric or paper, can be belted at the waist for the basic costume. Add a cardboard or paper hat (colored green, of course!), and a few other impish details, such as pointed or buckled shoes, freckles, spectacles or tights, and you've got instant Leprechauns!

A word of caution: Do not use food coloring on hair! It doesn't wash out! If you must use make-up for green faces, etc., use the kind that washes off easily in soap and water.

As far as movement ideas go, let them march! This would be especially effective if you only used it during the "Marching!" refrain. Plan a path for the marching ahead of time so as to avoid collision, and designate positions for each Leprechaun. Assigning a number to each one for line-up is one easy way to keep things straight. Single file marching is probably best for actual "going from one place to another" movement. Marching in place, is also a good idea if your space is limited. Either way, plenty of enthusiasm (and concentration on marching with the beat) will add a lot to the performance!

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.