Laura Erickson's For the Birds

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Madame Jeanette

This post is not about birds. When I was in high school (class of '69), one of the popular songs being sung by high school and college choruses was "Madame Jeanette," music by Alan Murray, lyrics by Edward Lockton. I first heard the song, sung by the West Leyden Choir, at my elementary school in 1965--the high school choir performed at an assembly to sort of let us know what high school was all about. And I was blown away. Because of how exquisitely they sang that song, it was my fondest desire to get into that choir.

When I made it, I pestered Mr. Roth until he pulled out the music so we could sing it--now that I think back on it, he probably preferred to change music now and then so he didn't have to deal with the exact same songs year after year, but he kindly gave in. I loved singing it as much as I loved listening to it, but it was an a Capella arrangement with tight harmonies that a single voice just didn't do justice to, so once choir was over, that was the end of my lovely song. My sister-in-law gave me the music for it one Christmas, but that didn't work to reproduce my lovely singing experience, either.

I've so wished I had a recording of it, but now, thanks to the miracle that is Google, I just found one! This recording of Madame Jeanette is sung by the Dartmouth Glee Club, a men's rather than a mixed choir, but is lovely nonetheless. It's on the Dartmouth Class of '65 webpage.

Now I'm going to have to actually go get Stephen Jay Gould's book Bully for Brontosaurus because, also thanks to the miracle that is Google, I just learned that in it he discusses this amazing song. I read an excerpt at Google Books.