An Alabama Gala

Jonathan Woody (Bass-baritone) and Mila Henry (piano) from American Opera Projects: Composers and the Voice First Glimpse, May 2016

This absurd art song is inspired by Christian Bök's book EUNOIA, in which each chapter uses only one vowel. I wrote the text to use only the vowel A. I created different characters (Amanrah, Janna, Alana, and Hannah plus the narrator) that use different registers of the singer's voice.


Amanrah, Janna, Alana, and Hannah

Plan an Alabama jazz gala

“Alas,” says Hannah, “Alabama has a jazz ban!

A sad law that slaps all jazz cats

and bans all jazz blats!”

“What gala can Alabama have sans jazz?” asks Janna,

“What’s a gala sans bass and sax?”

“Ahh!” says Amanrah, “A cantata gala!”

and Hannah barks “a rap gala!”

“Aha!” Alana says,

“A ska gala! A ska gala!

A ska gala thwarts that straw man jazz ban!”