The Bears Wake Up

2-part children’s chorus with piano
(text: Marilyn A. Johnson)


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Recording: The Pocantico Hills School Third Grade Chorus, William Vollinger, conductor (The Pocantico Hills School in Sleepy Hollow, NY, May 5, 2004)

Click here to see sample pages of The Bears Wake Up.

Duration: 2’45”
Composed: 2004

The Bears Wake Up was commissioned by The Pocantico Hills School in Sleepy Hollow, NY for their 3rd grade chorus. The chorus, conducted by William Vollinger, premiered it in the Pocantico Hills Auditorium on May 5, 2004, to a roaring audience!

There are lots of opportunities for kids to act out what happens in Marilyn Johnson’s poem, and I encourage any theatrical inspiration that arises. Have fun…!

The Bears Wake Up

Fred and Ted were new bears
when they woke up in their cave
Their fur was new, their paws were new,
they couldn’t even wave.

Fred sniffed Ted and Ted sniffed Fred
and then they rolled around.
They growled and hit and scratched a bit,
It’s fun to fight they found.

But then it grew more serious
Ted bit Fred’s neck and chewed,
SO I HAVE TEETH! was his first thought,
His second was, WHAT’S THIS GOO?

He made his brother bleed, you see,
and that made both cubs cry,
And that disturbed a shaggy rug
that suddenly opened an eye.

What frightful noise you’re making
the shag rug told the bears.
WHO ARE YOU? yelled the crazy cubs,
then realized she was theirs.

Mother! Mother! do you see
how fierce we are, they said,
and jumped on her and hugged her tight,
and messed the fur up on her head.

Outside, outside, get out of here,
she shooed the cubbies Fred and Ted,
It’s spring, you’re young, and you should run,
and out the cave they fled.

They were alive; that felt so good.
They growled and they felt brave.
ARE WE BEARS, MOM? said Fred and Ted.
We’re nice bears, she said, SO BEHAVE!

—Marilyn A. Johnson

Youth Orchestra — children's chorus, * WORKS: