Songs of the Session

In an effort to recreate and honor a tradition that was begun back in 1957, when Frank Hamilton would teach the same song to different levels of players, we proudly present The Songs of The Session.

Each session two songs are chosen, one from the songbook and one from the general repertoire. All classes are encouraged to learn these tunes and apply the skills they are working on at their individual levels.

March - April 2017

Spring is near and there are all sorts of wondrous songs to sing and share with each other. Here are two that we picked for this lovely season. As always, a chestnut from the current book and a traditional gem that will show up in - ta-da! - the next edition of the Old Town School Songbook!

"If I Were the President"

Here's a song penned by Old Town School luminary and gifted teaching artist, Michael J. Miles. As a member of the School's Outreach Program, Miles created this "zipper song" for students to offer their own suggestions on how the President should run the country. Originally written during the George W. era, this tune never gets tired and ideas always flow. A zipper song is one often used in the protest genre where there is a word or phrase which the singer can substitute whatever is apropos to the situation such as in the tune "We Shall Not Be Moved."

Chart for "If I Were the President"

"The Parting Glass"

As it is known, this tune is sung at the end of the gathering of friends. Its origin goes back to 16th century Scotland and was later adapted by the Irish. Its earliest known printed version was in 1770. Like many folk songs, lyrics and melody have been tweaked over the years. It has been recorded by countless artists including The Clancy Brothers,The Pogues, Steeleye Span, The Wailin' Jennys, Peter Hollens, and the ginger Jesus himself, Ed Sheeran. Back in the early '60s, Bob Dylan lifted the melody for his haunting number "Restless Farewell."

Chart for "The Parting Glass"

For more information on the song's origin and history:

The Old Town School of Folk Music, Inc.
4544 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago IL 60625  •  773.728.6000