A Country Boy in Winter

For unaccompanied men's chorus

Duration: 3:20

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A smashing song -- a light, fun, playful piece which I really like and can recommend to you all.
    — Mark Burstow, Musical Director of the Bournemouth Male Voice Choir

"A Country Boy in Winter" by American poet Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909) appeared in Harper's Young People for January 24, 1882. The setting for men's chorus was completed in August 2001 and is dedicated to William Rust Bartholomew. The premiere performance took place at the 2004 Society of Composers National Conference.

The recording heard above was made by Matthew Curtis of Choraltracks.

The acclaimed men's vocal ensemble Cantus performed A Country Boy in Winter on their 2016 holiday program, "We All Will Be Together," which was broadcast live by Classical Minnesota Public Radio on December 15, 2016. Listen to the concert here. A Country Boy in Winter starts about 8 minutes into the program.

A Country Boy in Winter is a Project Encore selection.

A Country Boy in Winter

The wind may blow the snow about,
For all I care, says Jack,
And I don't mind how cold it grows,
For then the ice won't crack.
Old folks may shiver all day long,
But I shall never freeze;
What cares a jolly boy like me
For winter days like these?

Far down the long snow-covered hills
It is such fun to coast,
So clear the road! the fastest sled
There is in school I boast.
The paint is pretty well worn off,
But then I take the lead;
A dandy sled's a loiterer,
And I go in for speed.

When I go home at supper-time,
Ki! but my cheeks are red!
They burn and sting like anything;
I'm cross until I'm fed.
You ought to see the biscuit go,
I am so hungry then;
And old Aunt Polly says that boys
Eat twice as much as men.

There's always something I can do
To pass the time away;
The dark comes quick in winter-time--
A short and stormy day
And when I give my mind to it,
It's just as father says,
I almost do a man's work now,
And help him many ways.

I shall be glad when I grow up
And get all through with school,
I'll show them by-and-by that I
Was not meant for a fool.
I'll take the crops off this old farm,
I'll do the best I can.
A jolly boy like me won't be
A dolt when he's a man.

I like to hear the old horse neigh
Just as I come in sight,
The oxen poke me with their horns
To get their hay at night.
Somehow the creatures seem like friends,
And like to see me come.
Some fellows talk about New York,
But I shall stay at home.

Purchase Sheet Music

Sheet music for A Country Boy in Winter is available from J. W. Pepper.

Performance History

Premiered March 5, 2004, by the University of Central Oklahoma Men's Chorus, Sandra D. Thompson conducting, First Christian Church, Edmond, Oklahoma.

May 11, 2008, by Coriolis, Gregg Skalinder conducting, Byron Colby Barn, Grayslake, Illinois.

May 17, 2008, by Coriolis, St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Evanston, Illinois.

December 5, 6 & 9, 2015, by Mélo'Men Choeur d'Hommes at the Temple des Batignolles, Paris, France.

December 3, 2016, by Cantus Vocal Ensemble at Hesston Mennonite Church, Hesston, Kansas.

December 4, 2016, by Cantus Vocal Ensemble at Grace Episcopal Cathedral, Topeka, Kansas.

December 6, 2016, by Cantus Vocal Ensemble at Shell Point Community Village Church, Fort Myers, Florida.

December 8, 2016, by Cantus Vocal Ensemble at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, Wisconsin.

December 10, 2016, by Cantus Vocal Ensemble at Sheldon Theater, Red Wing, Minnesota.

December 11, 2016, by Cantus Vocal Ensemble at St Bartholomew Catholic Church, Wayzata, Minnesota.

December 15, 2016, by Cantus Vocal Ensemble at Antonello Hall, MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

December 16, 2016, by Cantus Vocal Ensemble at the Ordway Concert Hall, St Paul, Minnesota.

December 17, 2016, by Cantus Vocal Ensemble at Trinity Lutheran Church, Stillwater, Minnesota.

December 18, 2016, by Cantus Vocal Ensemble at Fridley District Auditorium, Fridley, Minnesota.

December 20, 2016, by Cantus Vocal Ensemble at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, Apple Valley, Minnesota.

December 21, 2016, by Cantus Vocal Ensemble at the Colonial Church of Edina, Minnesota.

December 22, 2016, by Cantus Vocal Ensemble at the Chapel of St Thomas of Aquinas, St Paul, Minnesota.