Three Summer Wassails

for SATB choir

Emily Doolittle

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for SATB choir

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Composer Emily Doolittle

Year of Composition



ca. 9'

Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-ed1sw1


Since at least the 1500s, and continuing today, people have gathered in the early spring to sing to apple trees to ensure a good harvest. This custom began in the south of England, but now is spreading throughout the UK, to North America, and beyond. While the traditional spring wassails are often playful or celebratory in spirit, there is also sometimes an element of threat, as when the singers suggest they will cut down trees that don’t bear much fruit! I wanted to write a set of Three Summer Wassails to celebrate other common fungi and plants that flower and bear fruit a little later in the season. Composer and poet Forrest Pierce wrote the texts specifically for these pieces. His words so perfectly captured the spirit that I wanted to portray that it felt like these pieces practically wrote themselves!

Three Summer Wassails was written with the support of a Canada Council Grant to Professionals, and premiered by the Midlands Chorale, conducted by Daniel Galbreath.