Things That Go Bump in the Night (SATB, piano)

SATB, piano

A courageous and funny journey from dusk to dawn, written with students from a Syracuse elementary school. Opening with lulling night sounds and concluding with the next morning's conquered fears, this three-movement work includes a suspenseful ghost story full of special effects.


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Order Sheet Music
Catalog Number: 
Commissioned By: 
The Society for New Music, Composers-in-the-Schools Residency Program. Syracuse, NY
Premiere Ensemble: 
Festival Choir of Madison (Madison, WI)
Premiere Conductor: 
Bryson Mortensen
Text Author or Source: 
Elizabeth Alexander

Things That Go Bump In the Night

Lyrics by Elizabeth Alexander, with students at Edward Smith Elementary School

I. And the moon is listening...

I lie in bed at night and listen.
Doors creak and walls moan,
Faucets drip and the house is settling.
And the moon is listening...

I lie in bed at night and listen.
Mice creep and clocks tick,
Marking time while we are dreaming.
And the moon is listening...

My cats go bumpity-bump all night,
Mischief happening left and right.

I lie in bed at night and listen.
Snow falls and branches sway,
Wind chimes clatter in the breeze.
And the moon is listening...
And I drift to sleep...

II. There it is again!

Cracking lumber
Wakes me from my slumber,
And my fear takes hold.
Sky and clouds brawl,
Simple things make my skin crawl,
And the night grows suddenly loud and dark and cold.

I hold my breath and dare not make a peep.
I try to go back to sleep...I can’t go back to sleep...

Oooooooooh, Oooooooooh —
What’s that?

I hear a creaking and a moaning —
Souls in agony are groaning.

Oooooooooh, Oooooooooh —
There it is again! — Who’s there?

It’s getting louder, and louder, and louder!
Something’s peeking in my window!

Something’s creeping under my bed!
Is it alive or is it dead?
Does it even have a head?
If I close my eyes, maybe it won’t be able to see me!

What’s that shadow that I see?
Is it a spider bigger than me?
Should I hide or should I flee?

There it is again!

I feel my house shaking...shaking...shaking...

No, YOU’RE shaking!

I’m so scared I rattle the sheets!
I’m so scared I start to freeze!
I’m so scared I start to grow a beard!

Footsteps in the hall...I’m not afraid, not at all....
Still, to be quite certain, I’ll hide behind the curtain,
Standing very still like a statue...

A roar and a rip and then I know it’s a... it’s a... it’s a...
And it’s coming closer, and closer, and closer...

Suddenly it’s here! I’m paralyzed by fear!
And it’s coming towards me and I hear this noise:


I turn on the light, not a shadow in sight —
So I go back to sleep, and I don’t hear a peep.

III. Things That Go Bump in the Night

I pull the covers from my face, and glance around the room.
The light of dawn reveals no trace
That I had been visited by creatures of doom.

Things that go bump in the night just might
Make somebody get light with fright.
They get so scared that they won’t be prepared for the
Things that go bump in the night.

But they know it isn’t true,
And hopefully so do you.