Find some “nice” songs

So I’ve just learned that the main leader for our Girl Scout troop won’t be at the meet­ing today, as she’s sick. No prob­lem (I missed last week due to a migraine). But then she wants me to “teach the girls nice songs” because we’re going to an assist­ed liv­ing home next week and she wants them to be able to sing some­thing for the res­i­dents. “God Bless Amer­i­ca” and “The Star-Span­gled Ban­ner” were two sug­ges­tions, but she wants them to learn oth­ers, and oh, can I find words on the inter­net and print them out for all 20 girls so they can keep study­ing them (more like­ly lose them) between now and next week? And make sure they’re nice songs. (That is, I think, code for inof­fen­sive, famil­iar, and easy to sing.)

The Star-Span­gled Ban­ner, while it’s our nation­al anthem, isn’t a par­tic­u­lar­ly “nice song.” It isn’t easy for many peo­ple in this world to sing, and when I’ve led the girls in it in the past as part of our open­ing flag cer­e­mo­ny, it was a fair­ly painful thing to hear. They should, at least, be famil­iar with it.

“God Bless Amer­i­ca” is far more singable. It also adds an unnec­es­sary reli­gious ele­ment. We’ve got Chris­t­ian, Jew­ish, pagan, and Uni­tar­i­an Uni­ver­sal­ist kids in the troop that I know of—who knows what else? And why do I have a feel­ing that peo­ple who find “God Bless Amer­i­ca” whol­ly unre­mark­able would get pret­ty freaked out if I start teach­ing their daugh­ters “The Witch Song” which is also, by my stan­dards, a nice song? (I know leader would absolute­ly flip out and pos­si­bly attempt an exor­cism if she ever hears the “w” word out­side ref­er­ences to Hal­loween costumes.)

So… find­ing songs that will be famil­iar and enjoy­able to a most­ly senior cit­i­zen audi­ence and that the girls in the troop (most of whom seem to have very lit­tle expe­ri­ence with actu­al­ly mak­ing music so far in their lives) will enjoy enough to actu­al­ly try to sing, and that they can learn in the hour I’ll have them all togeth­er this after­noon. Oh, wait, I won’t have a full hour, there’s snack time for 15 minutes.

This is not going to be an easy task, and I real­ly hate doing things poor­ly. I real­ize that many peo­ple will say, “Oh, it’s the thought that counts! They’ll just be hap­py to hear the girls sing!” But I have this weird, “if you’re going to do it, do it right” thing I’m stuck on. Grrr!

Hmm. “This Land is Our Land” will prob­a­bly pass if we only do the first verse or so, not the real polit­i­cal ones. Will “If I Had a Ham­mer” be famil­iar to these kids? “Michael Row the Boat Ashore” is tru­ly dif­fi­cult to mess up. I’m draw­ing on mem­o­ries of songs my third-grade teacher sang with us, but that means ear­ly ’70s stuff. Most kids know “Puff the Mag­ic Drag­on” right? I can’t base any expec­ta­tions on what Katie knows, because she’s been heav­i­ly exposed to a wide vari­ety of music through­out her life and would be as like­ly to sug­gest “Blood in the Board­room” (Ani Difran­co) as “Amaz­ing Grace.”

This is one of the many times that I wish I’d man­aged to learn to play the gui­tar, but I’m way too wimpy about my fin­ger­tips. Oh, yeah—we have 5 to 14-year-olds in the troop! And songs that appeal to the 5‑year-olds are prob­a­bly going to be a hard sell to the 14-year-olds.

Cur­rent Mood: 😡aggra­vat­ed
Cur­rent Music: Around the Camp­fire by Peter, Paul & Mary
Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
Posts created 4259

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