Simple Gifts

Our Simple Gifts Ceremony is a weekly gathering of the school community which offers to all of our children and any interested parent the opportunity to participate in group singing and dancing. We use the historical shaker song “Simple Gifts” as the foundation for our gathering. The event begins with a ceremonial ringing of a bell, a short instrumental version of the song, then all children are invited to come and dance and sing the song together. Following of this opening activity we segway into a variety of other meaningful songs, most having their own related dance. The ceremony lasts approximately 30 minutes and gives everyone a positive sense of belonging through ritual, music and movement. This is the heart and soul of our community and marks the week with a joyful sense celebration.

The idea for this came from a trip that Joe Bruno took to China, in 1996, as part of a US Education Delegation hosted by People to People, an international professional exchange program. During the trip, the 15 educators traveled throughout China for two weeks visiting Primary and Elementary schools, observing classroom activities and meeting with school staff to exchange ideas and observations. Joe was impressed by the strong sense of community and love for the children that the Chinese communities have. Each morning, at every school, the children would gather in their courtyards or auditoriums to participate in synchronized dance movement which gave everyone a strong sense of belonging. Joe felt inspired to bring this community building concept to the children and families of Parkside and create what we now call Simple Gifts.

Songs by and for Parkside students. Please click on a song to view the lyrics, and follow along as you listen to the song.

Click here to view all the lyrics in one PDF

 

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  1. Rating: +0

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    Simple Gifts
    Shaker Elder Joseph Brackett, 1848, and later others added verses



    Click here to download the lyrics for Simple Gifts

    Download Simple Gifts MP3

    ‘Tis the gift to be simple,
    ‘Tis the gift to be free,
    ‘Tis the gift to come down where we want to be,
    And when we find ourselves in a place just right,
    We’ll be in the valley of love and delight.

    (CHORUS)
    When true simplicity is gained,
    To bow and bend we will not be ashamed,
    To turn, to turn, will be our delight,
    And by turning, turning, we’ll come ‘round right.

    ‘Tis the gift to be gentle,
    ‘Tis the gift to be fair,
    ‘Tis the gift to wake and breathe the morning air,
    To walk every day in the path that we choose,
    ‘Tis a gift we pray we may never, never loose.

    (REPEAT CHORUS)

    ‘Tis the gift to be knowing,
    ‘Tis the gift to be kind,
    ‘Tis the gift to wait to hear another’s mind,
    That when we speak our feelings we might come out true,
    ‘Tis the gift for me and the gift for you.

    (REPEAT CHORUS)

    ‘Tis the gift to be loving,
    ‘Tis the best gift of all,
    Like a warm spring rain bringing beauty when it falls,
    And as we use this gift we may come to believe,
    It is better to give than it is to receive.

    (REPEAT CHORUS)

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    Little Buddy
    Joe Bruno



    Click here to download the lyrics for Little Buddy

    Download Little Buddy MP3

    You’re my little buddy, flying ‘round the house.
    Zig and zagging up and down and landing
    Right on top of the couch.

    You’re my little buddy, swimming in the pool.
    Hanging on to mama jumping up and down
    And feeling cool.

    (CHORUS)
    Everytime I see you makes me jump for joy.
    You’re my living jewel much better than a toy.
    Your feathers and your charm make you a colorful boy.
    YOU ARE MY ANGELO…

    You’re my little buddy, swinging is your thing.
    I love to see you dance
    It really makes me want to laugh and sing.

    Hoo be doo be doo bop
    Hoo be doo be da

    Hoo be doo be doo bop
    Hoo be doo be doo be da do

    (CHORUS)

    You’re my little buddy, flying ‘round the house.
    Zig and zagging up and down and landing
    Right on top of the couch.
    Zig and zagging up and down and landing
    Right on top of the couch.

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    My Dad the Bridge Tender
    Joe Bruno



    Click here to download the lyrics for My Dad the Bridge Tender

    Download My Dad the Bridge Tender

    My dad the bridge tender, is a mighty mighty man
    He blows that horn and stop the traffic
    Cycles, cars and vans
    Lights a flashin, children dashin, stopping all those wheels
    The man up in the tower liftin 40 tons of steel

    (CHORUS)
    Papa he’s a big man
    People come from miles around
    Boats they blow their airhonds
    Don’t you know their southern-bound

    The snow birds cruise the coastal from Canada to Maine
    Crusin down the water way to see that man of fame
    The bridge goes up the bridge goes down
    Guiseppe’s in control
    The bardge is moving swiftly now she’s really on a roll

    (CHORUS)

    Pauline is his sweetheart
    They’ve been married 50 years
    She calls him every hour
    Sweet music to his hears
    Lights a flashin, children dashin, stopping all those wheels
    The man up in the tower liftin 40 tons of steel

    (CHORUS)

    Lights a flashin, children dashin, stopping all those wheels
    The man up in the tower liftin 40 tons of steel
    The man up in the tower liftin 40 tons of steel

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    Chlorophyll
    Joe Bruno


    Click here to download the lyrics for Chlorophyll

    Download Chlorophyll MP3

    Chlorophyll – the chemical that gives us food.
    Chlorophyll – it puts us in a happy mood.
    Chlorophyll – makes oxygen for the air.
    Chlorophyll – green colors everywhere.

    (CHORUS)
    Photosynthesis, you know,
    always keeps us on the go.
    Changing sunlight, water, and the air,
    into everything we share.

    Chlorophyll – the forest full of trees.
    Chlorophyll – it’s working in the leaves.
    Chlorophyll – makes pollen for the bees.
    Chlorophyll – it sometimes makes us sneeze.

    (REPEAT FROM BEGENNING)

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    Accentuate the Positive
    Johnny Mercer, 1994


    Click here to download the lyrics for Accentuate the Positive

    Download Accentuage the Positive MP3

    You’ve got to accentuate the positive
    Eliminate the negative
    Latch on to the affirmative
    Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

    You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum
    Bring gloom down to the minimum
    Have faith or pandemonium’s
    Liable to walk upon the scene

    To illustrate my last remark
    Jonah in the whale, Noah in the dark
    What did they do
    When everything looked so dark

    Man, they said we gotta
    Accentuate the positive
    Eliminate the negative
    Latch on to the affirmative
    Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

    You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum
    Bring gloom down to the minimum
    Have faith or pandemonium’s
    Liable to walk upon the scene

    To illustrate my last remark
    Jonah in the whale, Noah in the dark
    What did they do
    When everything looked so dark

    Man, they said we gotta
    Accentuate the positive
    Eliminate the negative
    Latch on to the affirmative
    Don’t mess with Mister In-Between
    No! Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

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    Follow the Drinking Gourd
    A pat and timetable for the underground Railway; Follow the Big Dipper, it points to the North and freedom.


    Click here to download the lyrics for Follow the Drinking Gourd

    Download Follow the Drinking Gourd MP3


    When the sun goes down and the first quail calls,

    Follow the drink-in gourd.

    The old man is a-wait-in’ for to carry you to freedom,

    Follow the drink-in gourd.

    (CHORUS)

    Follow the drink-in gourd,

    Follow the drink-in gourd,

    Follow the drink-in gourd,

    For the old man is a-wait-in’

    For to carry you to freedom,

    Follow the drink-in gourd.

    Now the river bank’ll make you a might good road,

    The dead trees will show you the way.

    Left food, peg food, travel in on,

    Follow the drink-in gourd.

    (CHORUS)

    Now the river ends between teo hills,

    Follow the drink-in gourd,

    There’s another river on the other side,

    Follow the drink-in gourd.

    (CHORUS)

    When the little river meets the great big river

    Follow the drinking gourd

    For the old man is waiting for to carry you to freedom

    Follow the drinking gourd.

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    Space is Dark
    Joe Bruno and class, 1979


    Click here to download the lyrics for Space is Dark

    Download Space is Dark MP3

    Space is dark there’s no gravity
    Floating around my friends and me
    The planets are orbiting around the sun
    When we go to the moon we have so much fun
    The view from the moon is a sight to see
    The colors of earth are so pretty
    The people down there I can hardly see
    But I hope that they are as happy as Me…..e…..e

    La…..a…..a
    La…..a…..a
    La…..a…..a

    Space is dark there’s no gravity
    Floating around my friends and me
    The planets are orbiting around the sun
    When we go to the moon we have so much fun
    The view from the moon is a sight to see
    The colors of earth are so pretty
    The people down there I can hardly see
    But I hope that they are as happy as Me…..e…..e

    La…..a…..a
    La…..a…..a
    La…..a…..a

    Space is dark, there’s no gravity

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    Firefly
    Joe Bruno and class, 3rd year spring camp out at Pedernales Falls, 1998


    Click here to download the lyrics for Firefly

    Download Firefly MP3

    The dipper’s hanging in the sky
    I can see it through the fireflies.
    The stars are pouring from the cup
    as my friends and I keep looking up –
    I wish I could be a firefly.

    The moon is riding round the earth.
    The fireflies are giving birth.
    The light bursts out, I see the flame
    It’s all a pattern in the game –
    I wish I could be a firefly.

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    Danger Down the Road
    Joe Bruno, Summer of 2000


    Click here to download the lyrics for Danger Down the Road

    Download Danger Down the Road

    Danger down the road (X3)

    We will find a way to protect our souls;
    We’ll find a way as we’re growing old.
    Every time they try to do us in,
    that is when the good time will begin.

    Teach the children how
    Teach the children how
    Teach the children how.

    How to love the land –
    How to hold a hand
    How to take a stand
    Don’t you know we can.

    Danger down the road (X3)

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    We Shall Overcome
    Charles Tindley (1900), and later Guy Carawan, Candy Carawan,, and others associated with the Highlander Research and Education Center


    Click here to download the lyrics for We Shall Overcome


    Download We Shall Overcome MP3

    We shall overcome
    We shall overcome
    We shall overcome
    Some day
    For deep in my heart
    I do believe
    We shall overcome
    Some day

    We’ll walk hand in hand
    We’ll walk hand in hand
    We’ll walk hand in hand
    Today
    For deep in my heart
    I do believe
    We shall overcome
    Some day

    We will live in Peace
    We will live in Peace
    We will live in Peace
    Today
    For deep in my heart
    I do believe
    We shall overcome
    Some day

    We are not afraid
    We are not afraid
    We are not afraid
    Today
    For deep in my heart
    I do believe
    We shall overcome
    Some day

    The whole wide world around
    The whole wide world around
    The whole wide world around
    Today
    For deep in my heart
    I do believe
    We shall overcome
    Some day

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    Walking in the Woods
    Joe Bruno, 1973


    Click here to download the lyrics for Walking in the Woods

    Download Walking in the Woods MP3

    The sunrise ain’t so far away
    I can see through the trees
    and hear the whisper of a lark
    floating on the breeze.

    There’s nothing like the break of dawn
    to make my soul feel good
    I’m glad that I can see it all
    walking through the woods.

    The clouds they ain’t so far away
    I can tough them with my heard
    and see um through a spider’s web
    as they slowly drift apart.

    There’s nothing like a summer’s day
    to make my soul feel good
    I’m glad that I can see it all
    walking through the woods.

    The river ain’t so far away
    It’s flowing through our minds
    and the lard he sings a song of love
    cause he knows no other kind.

    There’s nothing like a look at life
    to make my soul feel good
    and I’m glad that I can see it all
    walking through the woods.

  12. Rating: +0

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    Leaving Old Texas (The Cowman’s Lament)
    Traditional


    Click here to download the lyrics for Leaving Old Texas

    Download Leaving Old Texas MP3

    I’m bound to leave old Texas now
    They’ve got no use for the long-horn cow
    They’ve plowed and fenced my cattle range
    And the people there are all so strange

    I’ll take my horse, I’ll take my rope
    And hi the trail upon a lope
    Say adios to the Alamo
    And turn your head toward Mexico

  13. Rating: +0

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    Buffalo Gal
    Cool White (John Hodges), 1844

    Click here to download the lyrics for Buffalo Gal

    As I was walking down the street
    Down the street, down the street
    A pretty little gal I chanced to meet
    And we danced by the light of the moon

    CHORUS
    Buffalo gal won’t you come out tonight
    Come out tonight, come out tonight
    Buffalo gal won’t you come out tonight
    And we’ll dance by the light of the moon

    I danced with a gal with a hole in her stockings
    And her knees was a-knockin’ and her toes was a’rockin’
    I danced with a gal with a hole in her stocking
    And we danced by the light of the moon

    (REPEAT CHORUS)

  14. Rating: +0

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    Birds They Sing
    Joe Bruno, Summer of 2000

    Click here to download the lyrics for Birds They Sing

    Birds they sing
    Make the bells to sing
    It’s the dawning of the day

    Morning sun shines on
    everyone
    As we walk along on our way
    ha la la . . la la la
    la la la (X2)

  15. Rating: +0

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    Paw-Paw Patch
    Traditional

    Click here to download the lyrics for Paw-Paw Patch

    Where, oh where, oh where is little Susie?
    Where, oh where, oh where is little Susie?
    Where, oh where, oh where is little Susie?
    Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.

    Come on, boys, and let’s go find her.
    Come on, boys, and let’s go find her.
    Come on, boys, and let’s go find her.
    Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.

    CHORUS:
    Picking up paw-paws; put ‘em in your pocket.
    Picking up paw-paws; put ‘em in your pocket.
    Picking up paw-paws; put ‘em in your pocket.
    Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.

    Note: A paw-paw is a subtropical fruit (asiminia triloba). It grows on a small tree/shrub as a wild plant. The fruit are small, oblong to pear-shaped with the flavor resembling both apple and banana.

  16. Rating: +0

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    Defying Gravity
    Jessie Winchester, 1972

    Click here to download the lyrics for Defying Gravity

    We live on a big round ball
    I never do dram I may fall
    And even one day if I do
    I’ll jump off and smile back at your

    I don’t even know where we are
    They tell you we’re circling a star
    Well, I’ll take their word, I don’t know
    But I’m dizzy so it may be so

    We’re riding a big round ball
    I never do dream I may fall
    And even one day if I do
    I’ll jump off and smile back at you

  17. Rating: +0

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    De Colores
    Traditional - Spanish

    Click here to download the lyrics for De Colores

    De Colores
    de Colores se visten los campos
    en la prievera.
    De Colores
    de Colores son los pajaritos que vienen
    de afuera.
    De Colores
    de Colores es el arcoiris que vemos lucir.

    CORO
    Y por eso los grandes amores
    de muchos colors me gustan a mi.
    (cantar dos veces)

    Canta el gallo,
    Canta el gallo con el kiri kiri kiri kiri kiri.

    La gallina,
    la galliena con el cara cara cara cara cara.

    Los pollitos,
    los pollitos con el pio pio pio pio pio.

    CORO
    Ye por eso…

  18. Rating: +0

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    De Colores
    Traditional - English

    Click here to download the lyrics for De Colores
    De Colores,
    bright with colors the mountain and valleys, dress up in the springtime.
    De Colores,
    bright with colors all the little birds,
    fill the skies in the daytime.
    De Colores,
    bright with colors the rainbow brings joy with the glory of spring.

    CHORUS
    And a bright love with colors has found us with peace all around us that makes our hearts sing. (sing twice)

    Hear the rooster,
    hear the rooster singing with his kiri kiri kiri kiri kiri.
    In the morning,
    in the morning the hen sings her caara cara cara cara cara.
    All day singing,
    baby chicks all day sings pio pio pio pio pio.

    CHORUS
    And a bring love…

  19. Rating: +0

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    Paradise
    John Prine

    Click here to download the lyrics for Paradise

    When I was a child, my family would travel
    To western Kentucky, where my parents were born
    There’s a backward old town that’s often remembered
    So many times that my memories are worn

    CHORUS:
    And daddy won’t you take me back to Mulenberg county
    Down by the Green River, where Paradise lay
    I’m sorry my son, but you’re too late as askin’
    Mr. Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away

    Sometimes we’d travel right down to the Green River
    To abandoned old prison down by Avery Hill
    Where the air smelled like snakes, we’d shot with our pistols
    But empty pop bottles was all we could kill

    CHORUS

    Then the coal company came, wth the world’s largest shovel
    And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land
    They dug for the coal till the land was forsaken
    Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man

    CHORUS

    When I die let my ashes flow down the Green River
    Let my soul roll on up to the Rochester dam
    I’ll be halfway to Heaven with Paradise waitin’
    Just five miles away from where I am

    CHORUS

  20. Rating: +0

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    Watch the Stars
    Pentangle

    Click here to download the lyrics for Watch the Stars

    Watch the stars, see how they run
    Watch the stars, see how they run
    You know the stars run down
    to the setting of the sun
    Watch the stars, see how they run.

    Watch the moon, see how it glows
    Watch the moon, see how it glows
    You know the moon’s gonna glow
    When the sun goes down
    Watch the moon, see how it glows.

    Watch the wind, see how it blows
    Watch the wind, see how it blows
    You know the wind’s gonna blow
    When the sun goes down
    Watch the wind, see how it blows.