Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Old King Glory

“Old King Glory of the mountain. 
The mountain was so high. 
It nearly touched the sky. 
The first one, the second one, the third follow me.”

I believe the very last thing I should teach in my very last class at The San Francisco School should be “Old King Glory of the Mountain.” It is probably the game I’ve played more often than any other in my 44 years there—and still play today.

I like the imagery—the King, the mountain, the “old” (elder) King and the fact that it was so high it nearly touched the sky. That means it takes a lifetime or two to actually climb up it. And on the way, you collect people, one, two, three at a time, to follow you. I’d say that’s exactly what I’ve done. And am still doing.

Michelangelo once said: 

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is so low and we reach it.”

The glory of this work is too aim high and yes, we miss it daily, but we keep climbing. If we aim low— let’s get kids drawing on i-Pads and learning how to make cool sounds with Garage Band—and reach it, we short-change everyone.

As for me, I’m going to keep climbing. Anyone want to follow?

1 comment:

  1. Hey Doug!

    I've seen your stuff over the years at workshops and conferences and loved it! I'm doing some research into this song, and I'm having trouble finding some older sources for it. The earliest I could find was from a child informant in Harlem recorded in 1970. The earliest publication I could find was from The Christmas Revels in 1985 under Glory To The Mountain.

    Do you know of anything earlier than this?


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