Program Notes

2005 Spring – Cindy

Cindy by Mack Wilberg

This familiar folk song, sometimes referred to as a “frolic” tune (which may imply that it was used in a game, reel, or square dance), is of unknown origin. John Lomax, one of the earliest musicologists to devote his energies to American folk tunes, was of the belief that it originated in North Carolina. The painter Thomas Hart Benton-a Missourian by birth but a student of the American southwest– is known to have played it at folk gatherings in his home during the 1930’s. It exists in many different versions and has a lengthy roster of verses; this version captures many of the most-used ones. The first recordings date from the late 1930’s, although Lomax dates the song’s origin to approximately 1844.

It has also been used as a fiddle tune, i.e., without words, but there is only a faint hint of a possible European origin– possibly Ireland. This arrangement by American Mack Wilberg, an associate conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and a faculty member at Brigham Young University, employs two choirs with clapping and stomping, as might have been the case in a dance setting.

The chorus has previously sung Wilberg’s Tres Cantus as well as other folk song selections

J. R. Fancher, Mar. 2005