Your One and Only Life

Program Notes:

Nova Scotia singer-songwriter Susan Crowe infuses her music with great melody and insightful, poetic lyrics. Arranged here by Stephen Smith, this song looks back on a life, wondering if missed opportunities could have been, instead, moments in which to live life to the fullest.

Conductor Notes:

A compelling new folk song arranged for SSAA and piano. The most challenging aspect is rhythmic – owning fast-flowing, syncopated lines within a 2/2 metre. In the end, it should balance energy and composure and sound effortless and convincing. I dissected the rhythms and rehearsed it very slowly for a number of rehearsals until gradually bringing it up to speed – the only way I felt I would get true comprehension of the way words need to land on or ahead of main beats. I settled on half note = 66.


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




words and music by Susan Crowe, arr. Stephen Smith (2001, for A Vancouver Women’s Chorus)

About a thousand years ago, when I was very young,
My hair burned like the sea beneath an ever-rising sun;
My blood ran thick with promise, I was tender to the bone;
But now I’m Evangeline, made of stone.

This is your one and only life. What will you do?

Now the meteors of August, they fly all through my hair.
The day will come when I will rise to find my eye less fair;
And this body scorched by beauty and these hands I left unplayed ̵
What was I waiting for, afraid?

This is your one and only life. What will you do?

You can dream, you can imagine, you can simply hope and pray,
You can save yourself for glory, you can wait til judgement day;
You can hold out til you stand a breath away from heaven’s gate;
Your day of redemption will come – too late.

This is your one and only life. What will you do?