I Met A Bear

arr. Paul Jennings

If you already know this tune, you probably learned it at camp, maybe sitting around a campfire. Like all campfire songs, you will probably get as many variations on the tune as you have people who have learned it. We took good lines from favorite versions, actually made some rhyme that didn't, and, since we were writing for younger singers, we straightened out the verses rhythmically so that every verse has exactly the same rhythm. We assume that you may use the lyrics you already know, or that you might further adapt the lyrics to suit your needs...or to stretch the creative talents of your singers. Please do so with our blessings.

Actually, this song originated in 1919 as the popular song, "Sipping Cider Through A Straw." One reason we didn't arrange this song in earlier years is that it just crossed into the public domain. (Note that our version is now copyrighted, however.)

In this arrangement, we use ten verses. We could have gone longer; we could have gone shorter, but this number gets the story told and gives you plenty of room to adapt. (One verse we omitted, for instance, is a last verse that just repeats "The end, the end." You may want to use it in place of the new last verse.)

The recording features a rhythm section with banjo and guitar, and wind players that vaguely approximate a dixieland group. They even break into a full dixieland treatment on the tenth verse to "bring it all home." We had wanted an old-fashioned washboard, but our percussionist added a different twist by playing a rub board, or frottoir, the zydeco instrument that looks like a chest protective made of wrinkled metal. It was played with metal spoons. Also note that the bear's roar at the beginning of the arrangement and between verses is actually our percussionist playing the cuica, sometimes called a Lion's Roar.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.