Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child

Program Notes:

New York conductor and arranger Robert de Cormier was part of the music and social justice scenes in the 1960s that saw black and white American artists begin to share the artistic spotlight in the US. He worked closely with Harry Belafonte and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, collected folk songs in rural America, and arranged for Peter, Paul, and Mary and The Weavers. Of note to Vancouverites is that he was a close friend of our beloved singer and activist, Leon Bibb.

Conductor Notes:

SA (some div) and soloist with piano. This is a very soloist-dependent arrangement in which the choral parts are straightforward, natural, and satisfying. In 2018, we chose to give the solo to an alto down the octave from what’s written. All the choir parts were sung as written.

We programmed this piece into a concert about the resilience of the human spirit, and particularly associated it with the injustices of Canada’s treatment of its First Nations. The “eagle in the air” was a particularly strong image, as the eagle is important on the West Coast of Canada.

I’ve put this in the “Composed Before 1970” collection, but I’m not actually sure of its date.


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



Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
A long way from home

Sometimes I feel like I’m almost gone
A long way from home

Sometimes I feel like an eagle in the air
A long way from home

True believer
A long way from home