From the Archives is a series created in tandem with new PIO! Editor Brigid Finucane. We share songs from the extensive archives here at CMN by our own, wonderful members. This song, perfect for Autumn, is by member Sammie Haynes.
I wrote “Fall’s Falling” while walking with my dog way back in the autumn of 1998. We heard honking in the distance and as it grew closer looked up in time to see a large chevron of geese flying right above us. The sky was wide open and the geese were in formation – like a capital “V”. The rest of the lyrics came to me as we walked home. Fall has always been a time of reflection for me…I love this time of year. It’s when my husband and I got married and welcomed a son (on the same day 8 years later) and yet I always feel a bit sad that the color and life and warmth of summer are fading. I tried to express that in the minor inflections in the melody. The song works well with preschoolers as they become aware of the seasons. Feel free to let them sing it in a higher key. Here are a few ideas:
1. When I perform the song I show my audience movements to go with the lyrics. Here they are, easily used in a classroom:
Verse 1 –
- When the leaves turn colors; come falling down – Stretch arms up high and move fingers slowly as you bring arms down and touch the floor/ground with fingertips
- Squirrels scurry; scamper up and down – use hands and pretend you’re climbing a tree
CHORUS – (Locate the southerly direction. Use a compass and the kids will be amazed. Have them move to different places in the room and see what happens to the compass needle…better still go outside and try it).
- Point to the south and flap your arms like wings
- Make a “V” by putting elbows together and spreading out arms as in a “V” or
- Honk and flap (the honking will likely get a bit out of hand – geese are loud!)
- They’re a sight to see – shield your eyes from the “sun” and look up
- Cradle your arms and rock the animal babies
- Be their “mom” and point your finger at your little ones
- Come get some sleep now – beckon with hands and put them together up to the side of your face, with head tilted to the side and pretend to sleep.
- At end of chorus repeat first gesture of first verse
Verse 2 –
- Pretend you’re a flower in the garden and hang your head down with a body in a slump.
- When the school doors open – begin with hands flat together in upright position and open them apart.
- Children running round – run in place
2. Ask the children for other signs of fall:
Sports; cooler weather; apple and pumpkin picking; hayrides; Halloween; raking and jumping in leaves. Perhaps they’ll want to write their own verses!
3. Parents may choose to use this song as they try to explain the nature of change or the loss of a loved one…life is ephemeral…for “every person, pig and pup” (Dr. Seuss)
“Fall’s Falling” is from my first children’s recording, “Many Hands” which features many talented friends and family members. There are quite a few things I’d change if I had it to do again but the spirit and joy of everyone who took part isn’t something that needs redoing. My husband, Cormac McCarthy (www.cormacmccarthy.net), sings on a lullaby with me; our son, Davis along with several of his friends sang their little hearts out; two of my friends, Linda Schrade* and Kathryn Thompson provided beautiful harmonies. Rick Watson (mandolin), Tom Yoder (fiddle; mandolin), Tom Richter (banjo), Gary Sredzienski (accordion) are all exceptional musicians and Jim Tierney supplied engineering expertise on a small budget and kept me giggling along the way.
*In August my dear friend and colleague, Linda lost her battle with ALS. No one could sing like her. I miss her every day. xo
More Music and Lyrics, click here: Fall’s Falling
Sammie Haynes is a singer/songwriter/performer of children’s and grownup music. She directs The Treetops Chorus, an after school chorus for children K-2 and is a Music Together teacher and director in ME and NH. She fronts a Texas-swing/rhythm & roots/country/folk band called MAINESQUEEZE and sings with her husband, singer/songwriter, Cormac McCarthy. www.treetopsmusic.com