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If You Can Walk You Can Dance

A contagiously joyful Latin dance song
Commissioned by Farmington High School Friends of Music [SAB version]
Commissioned by Gumpoldskirchner Spatzen (Vienna, Austria) [SSA version]
Winner of the Euphonia! Vocal Composition Competition
Zimbabwean proverb

An optimistic Zimbabwean proverb sets the stage for this contagiously joyful Latin dance song. This best-selling piece is full of surprises, including a brief a cappella interlude, some finger snapping, and a five second “break” during which the chorus members all talk!

If You Can Walk You Can Dance has sold over 40,000 copies and been performed on every continent except Antarctica. (Penguin choir, anyone?) Its affirming message is conveyed with wholeheartedness and wit, making it a perennial favorite for singers and audience alike.

Zimbabwean proverb

If you can walk you can dance,
If you can talk you can sing.

Composer's Note: 

Many conductors have contacted me to ask exactly how I'd like the talking to begin or end, how long the repeated chorus should go on, or how much choreography I think is appropriate.  My answer to this is: "Heck, yes!"

"If You Can Walk You Can Dance" has inspired extended instrumental solos, a great deal of choreography, and some very imaginative personal touches - The Male Ensemble Willamette even incorporated a jaw-dropping "Men Without Hats" moment!  I've come to believe that as long as the performers believe in the message of this song, there's no "wrong way" to sing it.


SAB, piano
Farmington District Middle School Choirs / Scott Campbell (Farmington, CT) * Premiere
American Embassy School of New Dehli, India / Joseph Curtis ~

     The American School of the Hague (The Hague, NETHERLANDS)
Capital Pride Singers / Joseph Eppink (Albany, NY)
Chicago All-City Elementary Youth Chorus / Barry Elmore (Chicago, IL)
Choir of First Unitarian Church of San Jose (San Jose, CA)
Choir of West Hills Unitarian Fellowship / Allison Wilski (Portland, OR)
Choir of Davies Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church / Dixon Redditt (Camp Spring, MD)
Choir and Chamber Singers of the Blake School / Dan LeJeune ~
     Minnesota Music Educators Conference (Minneapolis, MN)
Choir of Waunakee Elementary School / Kathy Bartling (Waunakee, WI)

Choir of Unitarian Universalist Community of El Paso / Stanley Ross (El Paso, TX)
Choir of First Unitarian Universalist Church / Jason Shelton (Nashville, TN)
Choirs of Lunenberg Middle School / Kyla Silver (Dodwell, VA)
Common Chords / Elizabeth Alexander (Ithaca, NY)
Connecticut Middle School Honors Choir / Sal Cicciarella ~
     Connecticut Music Educators Conference (East Hartford, CT)
Coro Infantile del Conservatorio de Mieres / Duarte Reyes ~
     IV Gala Coraldanza 2010 (Benefit for the Red Cross) (Mieres, SPAIN)
Durham All-County High School Chorus / Rodney Wynkoop ~ Duke University (Durham, NC)
Euphonia! / Brenda Kayne  (Overland Park, KS)
Indiana All-State Choir / Paul Rardin (Indianapolis, IN)
Memorial Junior High School Choir / Carol Schaap (Lansing, IL)
Middle School Honor Choir / Darlene P. Elkins ~

     Association of Music in International Schools (Munich, GERMANY)
Minnetonka Middle School West Choir / Jennifer Evenson (Minnetonka, MN)
"Pzazz!" Moriarty Middle School / Denise Baccadutre (Moriarty, NM)
Oak Creek East Middle School Choir / Tanya Anderson (Oak Creek, WI)
Rhode Island Senior Division All-State Choir / Paul Rardin ~
     VMA Center for the Arts (Providence, RI)
Seton Hill College Choir / Marvin Huls (Greensburg, PA)
Tacoma Youth Chorus (Tacoma, WA)
TransVoices / Dorothy Williams ~ Mayflower United Church of Christ (Minneapolis, MN)
University Chorale of University of Massachusetts-Amherst /
     Wayne Abercrombie (Amherst, MA)
Waunakee Elementary School Choir / Kathy Bartling (Waunakee, WI)
Western Wayne Middle School Choir (Wayne, PA)

SATB, piano
Kantorei, The Singing Boys of Rockford / Joel Ross
     (Rio de Janeiro, Parati & Petropolis, BRAZIL)  * Premiere

Cantabile Chamber Chorale / Rebecca Scott (Piscataway, NJ)
Kaohsiung Medical University & National Taiwan University Choirs / Mary Kay Geston
     (Kaohsiung & Taipai, TAIWAN)
Choir of Community Church of Chapel Hill / Glenn Mehrbach (Chapel Hill, NC)
Choir of Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lynn / Frances Fitch (Swampscott, MA)
Kantorei, The Singing Boys of Rockford / Joel Ross (IL, MN, MO, IA and WI)
Orange Coast College Chorale / Eliza Rubenstein (Newport Beach, CA)
Princeton Pro Musica / Frances Slade ~
     ACDA Eastern Division Conference (Philadelphia, PA )
Waldon Hill Vocal Ensemble / Joe Mish ~
     First Unitarian Universalist Church (Rochester, MN)

SSA, piano
Gumpoldskirchner Spatzen
/ Elisabeth Ziegler ~
     Saint Michael Gumpoldskirchen (Vienna, AUSTRIA)  * Premiere

Amadeus Chorale Cantorei Singers / Darla Bair (Rochester, NY)
ASTER Women's Chamber Choir / Christina Lynn-Craig (Boulder, CO)
Gumpoldskirchner Spatzen / Elisabeth Ziegler ~
      Osterreich Singt! Fesitival (Mattersburg, AUSTRIA)
Bach Children's Chorus / Linda Beaupré ~ Toronto Centre for the Arts
     (Toronto, Ontario, CANADA)
La Guardia Arts High School Choir / Jana Ballard (New York City, NY)
Ohio University Singers / Peter Jarjisian ~ Ohio University (Athens, OH)
Saint Catherine University Women's Choir / Patricia Connors (Minneapolis, MN)
Saint Mary's College Women's Choir / Nancy Menk (Notre Dame, IN)

Syracuse University Women's Choir / Barbara Tagg (Syracuse, NY)
Twin Cities Women's Choir / Mary Bussman (Saint Paul, MN)
Voices Rising / Leora Zimmer (Boston & Cambridge, MA)
Woman Voices / Patty Connors ~ Saint Catherine University (Saint Paul, MN)
Women in Harmony / Catherine Beller-McKenna (Portland, ME)

TBB, piano
Perfect Harmony Men's Chorus / Ian Riddell ~
     Pride Festival (Madison, WI)  * Premiere

Chesapeake Bay Choral Workshop Choir / Fern Jennings (Alexandria, VA)
Crane School of Music Men's Ensemble / Peter Durow ~ SUNY Potsdam (Potsdam, NY)
De Profundis / David Poole (Albuquerque, NM)
Florida Music Educators Association Conference / Keven Fenton (Tampa, FL)
Haystack Choral Workshop / Rodney Eichenberger ~
     Portland State University (Portland, OR)
Kantorei, The Singing Boys of Rockford / Joel Ross ~
     Organization of Kodaly Educators Conference (Chicago, IL)
Male Ensemble Willamette / Paul Klemme ~ Willamette University (Salem, OR)
Stetson Chorale and Men's Chorale / Andrew Larson ~
     Stetson University (Deland, FL)
University of Michigan Men's Glee Club / Paul Rardin ~
     (Toledo, Medina Del Rioseco, Granada, Atarfe, Cordóba & Madrid, SPAIN)





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