Creative Works

Nursery Anniversary

For SAB chorus and piano, six short movements, (2002) 7:00
performance directed by Sean Doyle

Though Nursery Anniversary was written with young audiences in mind, the humorous and joyful spirit of the music has proven to be a delight for adult audiences as well.  The texts, written by the composer, are fractured nursery rhymes - the mutual product of memories from childhood and adult whimsy.  In a frenzy of eclectic influences including Jazz, Mahler, Schubert, and canonic writing, a variety of texts as well as musical source materials are gently lampooned.  

We Sing

We sing this song
it’s right not wrong.
The best we’ve heard
it’s clear not blurred.
Rhymes from nurs’ry
celebrate their annivers’ry.

These nurs’ry rhymes
for our new times
are just the thing
for us to sing.
Not the old ones,
bright new bold ones,
here’s our song now.


Little Jack Horner
sat in a corner
eatin’ a pumpkin pie.
‘There’s an eye in this pie’,
cried he, not shy.
‘It’s gross, not awesome.
When close, it gets gruesome.
I’ll not eat it.
No way!  Not I!’


three men in a tub.
Working out made them greasy and grimy.
So, who’s the dope
who forgot the soap?
With only sand paper
to finish this caper,
we will still be all slipp’ry and slimey.


Old Mother Hubbard
lived in a cupboard,
thinkin’ of bygone days.
She sat, just like that, wow!
her and her cat, meow!
singin’ songs of used-to-be ways.

Old Mother Hubbard,
she lived like this
till she was ninety-two.
After that the old dear
bought a nifty condo,
windows had a beautiful view.

Swingin’ Mother Hubbard,
no longer in that cupboard,
popped out o’ there,
breathed fresh air.
Now she’s clipping coupons,
salad with fresh croutons.
Looks like she’ll live forever,
old gal sure got clever.

Swingin’ Mother Hubbard,
she’s not in her cupboard.
She’s no silly goose now,
she’s out on the loose now.
She’s our own sweet gal.


Little Miss Muffet
sat on a tuffet,
shooin’ the flies away.
Along came a spider,
sat down beside her
and sang a love song
for her sweet day.

Inventing a verse
that got worser and worse,
spidey had this to say:
“Hey Dude,
avoid being rude.
Let’s have pizza and marmalade too,
and after that
we’ll wear a fur hat,
walk around in a big wooden shoe.”

Miss Muffet declined.
She was  so refined.
Spider  grew bold,
said, ”It’s all growin’ old.
Don’t care if you’re Jane or Julie.
Won’t take it amiss
if you give me a kiss
as long as you love me truly.”

Dear Miss Muffet smiled
And that’s the end.
Together they made
a terrific blend.
A terrific,
not horrific,
simply fabulous,
absolutely quite incredible blend.

We Sing (Reprise)

We sing this song,
it’s nine miles long.
With fun assured,
no fault occurred.
Brand new rhymes
for changing times.
Ring the chimes
for Nursr’y Anniversary.

Copyright © 2002, Donald Bohlen

Copyright © 2008 Donald Bohlen.

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