Eat Your Vegetables! – Set One

1. Bounty
2. Aversion to Carrots
3. RAH!

SATB (divisi) and Bb clarinet (dbl. Police Whistle)

Recording credit: All movements below are performed by Central Washington University Chamber Choir, conducted by Gary Weidenaar

1. Bounty

2. Aversion to Carrots

3. RAH!

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TEXT

1. BOUNTY
Gardens are prolific,
Giving much zucchini,
The neighbors close their blinds and lock their doors.

2. AVERSION TO CARROTS
Chopped, sliced, julienne, diced,
They glisten in honeyed sauce,
They’re beautiful on the plate,
But eating them makes me cross.
[I don’t like cooked carrots!]*
* The last line above was the title of the original poem, but was retained in the revised poem.

3. RAH!
Let’s give a cheer for the lowly rutabaga,
Down on the vegetable chain,
Eat them with vigor, out in Winnipeg-a
On the Canadian plain

Chorus:
R_U_T_A_B_A_G_A
That sturdy root of mine,
R_U_T_A_B_A_G_A
Exceptional food divine.

AGAIN!
R_U_T_A_B_A_G_A
Tonight on these we’ll dine,
R_U_T_A_B_A_G_A
Makes dinner mighty fine.

— Joanne Gunnerson (2009)

PROGRAM NOTES

John Muehleisen’s Eat Your Vegetables! – Set One is is a collection of three brief pieces for choir and clarinet based on a humorous set of poems by Northwest educator & poet Joanne Gunnerson, a 1950’s graduate of Pacific Lutheran University. The set is a decided departure for this composer, who has almost exclusively set serious poetic or sacred texts. In this case, John has chosen to let down his hair (what little he has) and embrace these humorous and witty poems about vegetables. Each of the three poems focuses on a different vegetable (zucchini, carrots, and rutabagas, respectively), and Muehleisen’s settings each have their own distinct character incorporating styles ranging from musical theatre and vocal jazz to science fiction and western film soundtracks to cheerleading squads.

“Bounty” and “Aversion to Carrots” were commissioned by Opus 7 Vocal Ensemble and conductor Loren Pontén in Seattle, WA and were premiered there in May 2010. The third movement—“RAH!”—was commissioned by Gary Weidenaar & the Central Washington University Chamber Choir and premiered by them in Fall 2011. Finding such enjoyment and inspiration in setting three of these poems for Set One, Muehleisen has composed a second set of three poems, cleverly titled Eat Your Vegetables! – Set Two, for choir, trumpet, and percussion. During the first rehearsal of Eat Your Vegetables – Set One, an Opus 7 choir member remarked to the composer that she thinks of Gunnerson as “the Ogden Nash of vegetables”; quite a compliment, and one with which the composer agrees wholeheartedly!