Re: Song query
Bob Myers (rmyers@ONE.NET)
Fri, 18 Aug 1995 19:22:25 -0400
The song you remember is called "Hi Ho! Nobody Home" in the 1993 printing of the
BSA Boy Scout Songbook. Your memory of the words is very close. The published
"Hi, ho nobody home,
meat nor drink nor money have I none.
Yet will I be mer---r-y." <repeat>
It was always a favorite of mine and one of the few songs I've led at large
campfires. There are at least two basic presentations. It can be sung as a 3
part round, dividing the crowd into 3 singing groups. My favorite, though, is to
save it for one of the last songs of the campfire when the fire is getting down
to just coals. You set a quiet tone, ask everyone to stare at the fire, and
tell a short story just before the song.
You then describe a simple scene where you are standing at night in a dark field
at the edge of a long mud and gravel road. It is quiet except for the sounds of
nature. Out in the distance you begin to see a faint light coming down the road.
The light seems to be swinging back and forth. As it gets closer you can hear
the sound of wagon wheels crunching the gravel on the road. You can also hear
the faint sound of singing, the singing of "Hi Ho! Nobody Home". You realize
then that it is a gypsy wagon and it's coming toward you. As it gets closer and
closer, the singing gets louder and louder. When it passes, the wagon's
passenger's look your way, but say nothing. Soon the wagon crunches off into
the distance and the light and singing fades until there is only the sounds of
This story is normally told prior to anyone singing. If no one knows the song,
it might be good to practice the song before the story, since hearing the words
when it starts out quiet is difficult. Perhaps it could be practiced as a 3
part round earlier in the campfire.
After the story, ask everyone to continue staring at the fire, to remember the
story, and to begin singing very softly - building to a creshendo (sp?) and
dying again to silence. The group will need the leader to provide visual clues
both for the rythme when the song is extremely soft, and for the volume so
everyone peaks at the same time. Do not rush. You may be amazed at how long
this simple song can hold a crowd in their own thoughts.
This song makes the perfect transition to a quite campfire ending.
Bob Myers, SM, Troop 575, Dan Beard Council, Cincinnati, Ohio
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City