Little Green

Program Notes:

Little Green tells the true story of 21-year-old Joni giving birth to a daughter in 1965 and realizing she couldn’t raise her on her own. At that time, Joni was a penniless artist living in Toronto, with no inkling that a big break would come for her just three years later. She decided that adoption was the best for the future of her girl, named Kelly Dale (hence “little green”). The song, released on Joni’s 1971 Blue album, imagines the small moments of the girl’s life with her new family: happiness and sometimes sorrow. We love how Kate has captured the intimacy of this emotional story in her a cappella arrangement.

Conductor Notes:

SSAA a cappella

This is a well-balanced, transparent and successful arrangement of this beautiful and poignant Joni Mitchell song. Keep the sound bouyant, light, and folky. If you have sung Kate’s “The Circle Game”, you might want to know that “Little Green” is a good bit easier, but also very effective.

I believe Kate has not yet pursued the rights to publish this as sheet music, but contact her in case things are moving along.

Commissioned for Elektra Women’s Choir with generous support from The Haebler Group.

Composer / Arranger Notes:

From coffee houses to some of the biggest concert venues in the world, the remarkable career of Canadian singersongwriter Joni Mitchell, CC (b. 1943) is legendary. Drawing from folk, pop, rock, and jazz, Mitchell’s songs often reflect social and environmental ideals as well as her feelings about romance, confusion, disillusionment, and joy. She has received many accolades, including nine Grammy Awards. Rolling Stone called her “one of the greatest songwriters ever” and AllMusic has stated, “When the dust settles, Joni Mitchell may stand as the most important and influential
female recording artist of the late 20th century”. Arranger Kate MacColl (b. 1968) has enjoyed for decades a vibrant and multi-faceted career in music. This is the second time Kate has been
asked to arrange a Joni Mitchell song for Elektra, the first being “The Circle Game”, which is published and distributed internationally by Alfred Music, and was featured on Elektra’s
programme for their concerts at the 2017 World Choral Music Symposium in Barcelona. She was a proud member of Elektra from 2005 until 2017, when she left the ensemble to finish a musical she began writing in 2013; This Is Now ran for 6 enthusiastically received shows in June of 2018.


This lists any discs, concerts or collections where this piece is included.




Born with the moon in Cancer
Choose her a name she will answer to
Call her green and the winters cannot fade her
Call her green for the children who’ve made her
Little green, be a gypsy dancer

He went to California
Hearing that everything’s warmer there
So you write him a letter and say “Her eyes are blue”
He sends you a poem and she’s lost to you
Little green he’s a non-conformer

Just a little green
Like the color when the spring is born
There’ll be crocuses to bring to school tomorrow

Just a little green
Like the nights when the Northern lights perform
There’ll be icicles and birthday clothes
And sometimes there’ll be sorrow

Child with a child pretending
Weary of lies you are sending home
So you sign all the papers in the family name
You’re sad and you’re sorry but you’re not ashamed
Little green, have a happy ending