Twenty Questions

Instrumentation/Voicing: 
SA, piano

The text of "Twenty Questions" contains the thoughts and images from the patients of Children's Hospital of Minneapolis and St. Paul, crafted by Julia Klatt Singer into a poem of metaphors and images from the hospital rooms. One 10 yr. old girl was finding as many ways to pass the time as she could. As she'd go to sleep at night, she would think of questions. They were often silly, but sometimes poignant. Musically, this difference is marked by time signature and melodic character.

Perusal Score: 
Audio: 

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Order Sheet Music
Catalog Number: 
TCT-TwentyQuestions
Duration: 
4:00
Total Pages: 
12
Commissioned By: 
Commissioned for Healing and Hope Through Song, a program of the American Composers Forum, with partial funding provided by Saint Paul Cultural STAR.
Premiere
Premiere Date: 
05/22/2010
Premiere Ensemble: 
Minnesota Boychoir
Premiere Conductor: 
Mark Johnson
See video
Text
Text Author or Source: 
Julia Klatt Singer
Language: 
English
Text: 

When you'e in a hospital bed
There's not much to do
So you study the numbers,
follows the tubes,
ask yourself questions, like

Do elephants have belly buttons?
Do pandas like peanuts?
Do you think I'll lose my smile,
when I'm a grown up?

The nurses keep going
home every day.
Just stay for one,
then a new one comes.

Twenty questions, it's just a game
It says it can read my mind
But it doesn't even know
what I'm talking about.

Don't want to think about
all the things I'm missing,
all the time I'm spending here.
Don't want to think, so instead

How many flavors of ice cream
Are there in the world?
What would a red whale look like,
in a red sea?

When you're in a hospital bed
There's not much to do
So you memorize your arm band,
the tune the I.V. sings.

Daddy ate a birthday candle
Just for fun.
Mom tells me she's seen me
do the bravest things.

You ask me if it's hard
to be here in this bed. I tell you
life is hard, no matter
where you're living it.

I do know this
No game can prove me wrong
There is so much happy
and sad, so all of a sudden
& there isn't anything
we wouldn't do
for each other.

- Julia Klatt Singer (2010)