Valley, The

Conductor Notes:

SSAA and piano. My thanks to Kellie Walsh of Lady Cove Women’s Choir in St. John’s, Newfoundland, for introducing me and my singers to this gorgeous piece. The altos are particularly thrilled to have the melody more than once. All ranges are on the low side – something that works really well for the style, but which would put this out of range for a younger children’s choirs. Beth has had to notate the twists and turns of some folksong style phrasing, and this is the most challenging aspect of learning the piece.

Composer / Arranger Notes:

Beth Hanson writes: Since I saw Jane perform live at UWO’s Althouse Auditorium back in 1984, the depth and universality of the emotional experience in her songs had always pulled me in. I became reacquainted with The Valley as a result of kd Lang’s album Hymns of the 49th Parallel, and loved the messages of reassurance, companionship and spirituality I felt the song contained for me, especially after the death of my mother. If one word only could be used to describe The Valley it would be bittersweet. “Sometimes you feel all that you wanted has been taken away” is a line that was at the same time heartbreaking and comforting, and a perfect summary of emotion for many who have experienced loss.


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



I live in the hills, you live in the valleys
And all that you know are these blackbirds

You rise every morning
Wondering “what in the world will the world bring today?”
Will it bring you joy or will it take it away?
And every step you take is guided by the love of the light on the land
And the blackbird’s cry

You will walk, you will walk
You will walk in good company

The valley is dark – the burgeoning holding
The stillness obscured by their judging
You walk through the shadows – uncertain and surely hurting
Deserted by the blackbirds and the staccato of the staff
And though you trust the light towards which you wend your way
Sometimes it feels all that you wanted has been taken away

You will walk, you will walk
You will walk in good company

I love the best in you – you love the best in me
Though it’s not always easy, lovely? lonely?

We will walk, we will walk
We will walk in good company

The shepherd upright and flowing – you see