Out of a deep concern for your children’s intellectual development this month, I hope you will introduce them to one of the most profound pieces of seasonal music ever written, to wit, Walt Kelly’s “Deck Us All With Boston Charlie.”
December is Homeschool Holiday Music Month in the River Houses, and throughout the month we’re sharing an assortment of seasonal favorites in a great variety of styles and genres — classical and modern, sacred and secular, serious and silly — along with a collection of easy educational notes that will let you teach little musical lessons all along the way.
Walt Kelly (1913–1973) was the creator of the long-running and much-loved “Pogo” newspaper comic stip. (“We have met the enemy, and he is us!”) And Walt was quite a poet, as “Deck Us All” will attest.
Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
Walla Walla, Wash., an’ Kalamazoo!
Nora’s freezin’ on the trolley,
Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-garoo!
Don’t we know archaic barrel,
Lullaby Lilla Boy, Louisville Lou?
Trolley Molly don’t love Harold,
Boola boola Pensacoola hullabaloo!
Bark us all bow-wows of folly,
Polly wolly cracker ’n’ too-da-loo!
Donkey Bonny brays a carol,
Antelope cantaloupe, ’lope with you!
Hunky Dory’s pop is lolly
Gaggin’ on the wagon, Willy, folly go through!
Chollie’s collie barks at Barrow,
Harum scarum five alarm bung-a-loo!
Duck us all in bowls of barley,
Hinky dinky dink an’ polly voo!
Chilly filly’s name is Chollie,
Chollie filly’s jolly chilly view halloo!
Bark us all bow-wows of folly,
Double-bubble, toyland trouble! Woof, woof, woof!
Tizzy seas on melon collie!
Dibble-dabble, scribble-scrabble! Goof, goof, goof!
This is one of the very best sing-a-long songs of the holiday season. For classroom credit in music this week (yeah, that’s the ticket!), why not have your students learn a verse or two and then entertain the whole family. Woof, woof, woof! ❄️ 🚋 🎄
And to appreciate a parody you have to know the original of course, so be sure you’re students have heard one of the classic versions of “Deck the Halls” too:
One of the deepest purposes of liberal education is to enable people to get jokes, so don’t miss this important educational opportunity! 🙃
What marvelous musical discoveries will you be making in your homeschool during this delightful Holiday Music Month? 🤶 🎅 😊
❡ Walla Walla, Wash., an’ Kalamazoo: If a special line or turn of phrase happens to strike you in one of this month’s musical selections, just copy it onto your homeschool bulletin board for a few days and invite your students to speak it (or sing it) aloud — that’s all it takes to begin a new lyrical friendship and learn a few lovely words that will stay with you for life. 🎄
❡ Musical memories: If you’d like to fill your homeschool with some beautiful background sounds during the holidays, why not tune in to the 24-hour Holiday Channel from WQXR, the famous classical music radio station in New York City. “Enjoy the sounds of orchestras, choirs, brass ensembles and more as we celebrate the sacred and secular sounds of the season.” I have it on as background music almost every day at this time of year. Won’t you join me? 📻
❡ Olden times and ancient rhymes: What did the Christmas season sound like a hundred years ago and more? Find out from this wonderful collection of historic recordings of American Christmas music, brought together by the Library of Congress. 🎄
❡ Lift every voice: This is one of our occasional posts on Homeschool Arts & Music. Add your name to our weekly mailing list and get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 🗞
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