Party Pieces

These songs were written by choir members to be presented (generally) in skits at various celebrations over the years, often in full costume. Click a song in the index to jump down to its lyrics.

Index of songs

Advance the basses fair! by Laurie Brackenreg

Chris couldn’t sing but we didn’t give in by Robin Mosman

Fifty Ways to Leave the Whitehouse suggested by Gary Werskey

Happy Birthday, Christine Wheeler by Mick O’Neill (2015)

I am just a Heathen (Ode to Mick) by Christine Wheeler (2019)

Our Choir is in the Very Best of Hands by Robin Mosman

Public Transport Anthem by Gary Werskey

Queen of the Great Western Line by Robin Mosman

Smoke gets in your eyes by Gary Werskey

The Altos and Sopranos should be friends by Robin Mosman

The BANC AGM song by Chris Arnott (2014)

The Choir sang on by Robin Mosman

The Heathens Choir by Robin Mosman

The Heathens Picnic by Robin Mosman

We are the Heathens by Julie Brackenreg, assisted by a subset of the Choir

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Advance the basses fair! by Laurie Brackenreg
Tune: Advance Australia Fair

Verse 1
Australians all let us rejoice
The heathens choir is here!
We’ve songs for all whether boy or girl
Our aim to make things clear
Our brows remain in sweat and tear
Driven by our mistress dear
In music’s page let every stage
Advance the basses flair!
In joyful song then let us sing
Advance the basses fair!

Verse 2
The basses sing both “do’s” and “dom’s”
And any note in between!
We keep on singing on and on
And add an occasional
Our choir abounds with nature’s gifts
And we are one of those
So gather round if you dare
Sing advance the basses fair!
In joyful song then let us sing
Advance the basses fair!

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Chris couldn’t sing but we didn’t give in by Robin Mosman
Tune: And the band played on

Chris couldn’t sing but we didn’t give in
And the choir sang on

We were in quite a jam till we thought about Anne
And the choir sang on

With more help from Rowen we really got goin’
We nearly outdid the brass band

We were in a tight spot but they helped us a lot
And the choir sang on
And the choir sang on….

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I am just a Heathen (Ode to Mick) by Christine Wheeler (2019)
Tune: The Boxer, Simon and Garfunkel
(Sung at our 10th anniversary party)

I am just a Heathen, though my story’s seldom told
I have squandered my existence
In a pocketful of choirs, singing harmonies
All oo’s and ah’s,
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And makes up all the rest
Mm mm mm … etc.

When I entered Springwood seminary I was no more than a boy
In the company of strangers
But at least I loved the music in the chapel there
Gregorian chant was my favourite,
All those Latin phrases ringing round the walls
There was little else about that place I liked

Lie la lie … etc

Wearing only tears of scant regret I left my calling there
To seek my fortune
In the ivy-clad and hallowed halls of Sydney U
Niversity
There was SUMS but I thought they were weirdos
So I didn’t join
Ooh la la … etc

Instrumental

Lie la lie

Then at last retirement beckoned with a
move to Blackheath town
Coming home
Where the proper mountain winters make you feel alive
Sounds of singing, coming home

Now before you stands a man who sings Paul Simon and Mozart
Sweet Honey in the Rock, Sinead O’Connor, Bach, Vivaldi,
Dylan, Tom Waits, Haydn, Handel
He’s a passionate recruiter
Join the choir, join the choir he cries and disregards excuses
Mm mm mm

Lie la lie … etc

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50 ways to leave the White House suggested by Gary Werskey
Lyrics Martin Bishop (apologies to Paul Simon)

Verses
“The problem is all inside your head”
They said to me
“The answer is easy if you
Take it logically
We’d like to help you in your struggle
To get free
There must be fifty ways
To leave the White House”

They said, “It’s really not our habit to impeach
Furthermore, I hope my meaning
Won’t be beyond your reach
But I’ll repeat myself
And I humbly do beseech
There must be fifty ways
To leave the White House
Fifty ways to leave the White House”

Chorus
You just call in sick, Dick
Pop off to the pub, Dub
You don’t need too much psych, Ike
Just get yourself free

Don’t think that you can’t, Grant
No need to play games, James
Just drop off the key, Barry
And get yourself free

Ooh, slip out the back, Zach
Take a ride in a tank, Frank
You don’t need any skill, Bill
Just listen to me

Hop on your jet, Johnson
Don’t need a press conference
Just think it over, Grover
And get yourself free

Verses
They said, “It grieves us so
To see you on the street
I wish there was something we could do
To indulge your conceit”
I said, “I appreciate that
And would you please repeat
About the fifty ways?”

They said, “Why don’t you
Slip off to Mar-a-Lago
And in the morning
We can lift this press embargo”
Or so they tweeted
And I thought ‘they still love me in Fargo’
There must be fifty ways
To leave the white house
Fifty ways to leave the white house

Repeat chorus

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Happy Birthday, Christine Wheeler by Mick O’Neill (2015)
Tune: Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah!

We’ve heard there was a mountain lassie
Who’s quite a dish, she’s oh! so sassy
And we’re here to share her music, aren’t we?
It goes like this,
Her name, is Chris
She’s very tall, you cannot miss
This stately queen confronting six full decades

Happy birthday, Christine Wheeler
Happy birthday, Happy birthday

Your voice was strong but you needed more
You searched for a choir that could sing folklore
BANC’s ad in the Gazette just overthrew ya
You sent out word to a fledgling crew
You coaxed a sound and the Heathens grew
And from their lips your drew the Hallelujah

Happy birthday, Christine Wheeler
Happy birthday, Happy birthday

Christine, where have you been before?
We know you now, we’ve read the score
What have you done alone before we knew ya?
You were Melbourne born but Sydney bred
Life’s so strange it’s oft been said
You spent your 21st on top of Annapurna

Happy birthday, Christine Wheeler
Happy birthday, Happy birthday

And then in nineteen eighty three
You took a plunge and you went to see
If a job on that isle of Bali would fulfil you
And while you were there one fateful night
You met young Mick who lit up your light
And it’s since been a warm and steady Hallelujah

Happy birthday, Christine Wheeler
Happy birthday, Happy birthday

Your TEFL work made language lighter
Your next move broke the Bishop’s mitre
But if it did, well, really, what’s it to ya?
For a while in OXFAM you really soared
But all the while the music called
You formed a band and sang out Hallelujah

Happy birthday, Christine Wheeler
Happy birthday, Happy birthday

Maybe there’s a God above
Who’s brought you joy and brought you love
Your family you put right up before all others
There’ll soon be a cry you’ll hear all night
a grandmother! in your own right!
It’s a warm and unbroken Hallelujah

Happy birthday, Christine Wheeler
Happy birthday, Happy birthday

You have two kids, they’ve grown so much
You’ve many friends, they’re a loyal bunch
We’re telling the truth, we haven’t come to fool ya
And we hope and pray your life is long,
We stand before the Queen of Song
With nothing on our lips but Hallelujah

Happy birthday, Christine Wheeler
Happy birthday, Happy birthday
Happy birthday, Happy birthday

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Our Choir is in the Very Best of Hands by Robin Mosman
Tune: The Country’s in the very best of hands from the musical Li’l Abner

Our choir is in the very best of hands
The best of hands, the best of hands

Thare waren’t too many Heathens when Chris took on the job
Them Mountains folks was probably all down there at the pub
But Chris she kept on singin’ cause she really liked our mob
And soon our numbers got right out of hand

Chris really raised our bar though she sometimes travels far
She finds them songs and plays the toons fer us on her gittar
She couldn’t do it without Mick, the Heathens second star
Mick prints them songs fer us and sends us ee-mails

Our choir is in the very best of hands,
The best of hands, the best of hands

Chris writes our parts fer us to sees
So we kin sing along with ease
Kin you tell me what thet mark means please
Some of us is smarter than others

We takes a look at the parts we got
Some is easy, some is not
We feels fer the tenors quite a lot
They shore do get some doozies

Our choir is in the very best of hands,
The best of hands, the best of hands

Sopranos they jest warble on
Easy fer them, they gets the song
Altos sing sweet right along
It ain’t hard, we got talent

Basses doing their best too
Singin’ low like they gotta do
Dom-dommin’ along down in the queue
Keepin’ the harmony goin’

Our choir is in the very best of hands,
The best of hands, the best of hands

We sets around in this place we got
This great big musical parkin’ lot
Jest sets around on our you-know-what
We likes to call ‘em our thigh bones

Them bones, them bones gonna rise agin
Gonna start to harmonise agin
Gonna sing our songs to the skies agin
When we get offa our thigh bones

Our choir is in the very best of hands,
The best of hands, the best of hands

And so to Chris and Mick and all you lovely Heathen mob
We’re singin’ this to tell you all we’re doin’ a great job
We sing our songs so sweetly we kin make a strong man sob
And singin’ them makes all of us real happy

Our choir is in the very best of hands,
The best of hands, the best of hands

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Public Transport Anthem by Gary Werskey
(After Cathy Wilcox. Apologies to Leonard Cohen)

Oo-oo-oo … Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo

When your tram wheels crack
At the break of day
Start again, start again
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what has passed away
Or what is yet to be … yet to be

Ah, the trains,
They have gone on strike
The bloody buses
Go nowhere you like
Bought and sold … and bought again
Our trips are never free … never free

Chorus
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget their perfect offerings
There is a crack …
A crack in everything
That’s how our fight begins … our fight begins

Oh-oh-oh

Repeat Chorus … then

Oo-oo-oo … Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo … Ooo!

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Queen of the Great Western Line by Robin Mosman
Tune: Chattanooga Choo Choo

Long time ago, it took two days to get to Mt Vic
So they made up their mind To build the Great Western Line
Took fifteen years for the line to get to Penrith
Then it stopped for a time while they considered the climb

First they had to build a bridge to get across the Nepean
Battle up to Lapstone through the hills in between
Blast their way to Glenbrook, struggle on to Springwood
To make it any further they would have to be keen

It would be a fight to get it up to the top
But they made it to Katoomba and they weren’t gonna stop
Shovel all the coal in, gotta keep it rollin’
Woohoo hey Mt Vic, you’re right at the top

There’s gonna be a great big party at the station
Lots of hullaballoo from folks who’ve come to whoohoo
When the Garrett steams in the celebration will be mighty fine
Three cheers for Mt Victoria, Queen of the Great Western Line

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Smoke gets in your eyes
© XR Blue Mountains: lyrics by Gary Werskey

They asked me how I knew
Climate change was true.
Oh, I of course replied
The scientists onside cannot be denied.

They said today you’ll find
Deniers are all blind.
But when their house’s on fire
They will realise
Smoke gets in their eyes.

So I said that we must all act
To save the Earth we love.
Yet today our leaders run away.
We are without their love.

Now, loving friends, unite!
We will stand and fight.
So let us smile and say
With our hearts on fire
We can save the day.
WE MUST SAVE THE DAY!

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The Altos and Sopranos Should Be Friends by Robin Mosman
Tune: The Farmer And The Cowman should be friends from Oklahoma!

The Altos and Sopranos Should Be Friends
Oh the Altos and Sopranos should be friends
Yes, the Altos and Sopranos should be friends
One hits the highest notes with ease
The other sings sweet harmonies
But that’s no reason why they caint be friends

Heathens all should stick together
Heathen folks should all be pals
Altos love them sweet Sopranos
Sopranos love the Alto gals

We’d like to say a word fer Sopranos
Aint easy fer ‘em when they sing so high
We guess they sometimes wonder if they’ll make it
Keep goin’ gals you’ll get there if you try

Us Altos knows we really needs them high notes
Hell, we caint get ‘em even if we try
They make our songs so sweet, to hear ‘em is a treat
They’s sweet enough to make a strong man cry

Heathens all should stick together
Heathen folks should all be pals
Altos love them sweet Sopranos
Sopranos love the Alto gals

Altos don’t git it easy either
It seems we hardly ever git the toon
We has to practise hard on a Toosday
To harmonise on Wednesday afternoon

The parts the Altos gits kin be a challenge
Lucky some of us knows just what them marks mean
Us others we jest sings along and hopes we git it right
We’re hit an’ miss, but sure as hell we’re keen

Heathens all should stick together
Heathen folks should all be pals
Altos love those sweet Sopranos
Sopranos love the Alto gals

Us Altos prays we won’t end up as tenors
It aint cause we don’t like yore companee
Them parts you git are jest so doggone tricky
Though they shore make some lovely harmonee

The Basses, wal, they mostly take life easy
What matters most to them is plain to see
They don’t fuss too much about the moosic
They admit that what they wants is cakes and tea

Us Heathens shore do stick together
Heathen folks we all are friends
We loves the time we spend together
And we hope it neveeeer eeeends

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The BANC AGM song by Chris Arnott (2014)
Tune: Making Whopee

When I hear of service to community
I am always filled with incredulity
Blackheath has the best in friendly neighbourhoods
Without it there’s a chance we’d end up in the woods.
Every day there’s very much to mind
But when we’re talking BANC, one of a kind

1. If BANC’s the glue, and we’re the bits,
Connect together, the jigsaw fits,
This is the reason, through all the seasons
That BANC’s so good.

2. Now 21 resilient years,
With lots of laughter, a little tears
the staff still flying, let’s not be crying
for BANC’s so good.

When times are tough or treacherous
Bushfires, (high) wind or storm
We know that BANC is there for us
Service and skills transform

3. There’s BOOSH for Kids; and CAS enables
NILS offers help; there are no labels
A choir or walking, men’s shed, they’re talking
for BANC’s so good.

4. So many groups, that meet and share
So many staff that really care
The volunteer who wipes the tear
for BANC’s so good.

Our community does blossom
Caring and sharing brings
We reckon BANC’s just awesome
That’s why Heathens sing

5. If BANC’s the glue, and we’re the bits,
Connect together, the jigsaw fits,
This is the reason, through all the seasons
That BANC’s SO good.

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The Choir Sang On by Robin Mosman
Tune: And the band played on

Chris went away on a long holiday
But the choir sang on
We all had a ball in the old Phillips Hall
And the choir sang on
We made such a commotion
With all our emotion
Deb thought our performance divine
Though we stumbled a bit, we made a big hit
And the choir sang on

Chris couldn’t sing but we didn’t give in
And the choir sang on
We were in quite a jam
Till we thought about Anne
And the choir sang on
With more help from Rowan we really got goin’
We nearly outdid the brass band
We were in a tight spot till they helped us a lot
And the choir sang on

Blackheath was on fire
It did not stop the choir
And the choir sang on
Chris’ home was at risk
And so was the Fiskes’
But the choir sang on
So fierce was the fire Gary it did inspire
To write his great song about smoke
XR sang it then, but it all started here
When the choir sang on

When Covid hit town
It did not get us down
‘Cause our choir’s still here
Norman Swann said don’t sing
But we didn’t give in
And our choir’s still here
We tried Zoom for a bit
But it wasn’t a hit
It didn’t induce the same cheer
But the footy goes on, and so does our song
‘Cause our choir’s still here

The rules say just five
But we’re all still alive
And our choir’s still here
They can’t keep us down
We’re not that sort of town
And our choir’s still here
They’ve rationed our song
But it’s still going on
We’ll be back in full force by next year
All together again, we’ll sing out this refrain
LOOK, OUR CHOIR’S STILL HERE

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The Heathens Choir by Robin Mosman
Tune: Piano Man

It’s two o’clock Wednesday afternoon
The regular mob wanders in
First there’s Mick with our labels, and Chris with Guitar
Mary, Jan and the rest of the team

There’s sopranos and altos and tenors and bass
All talking as hard as they can
So many we’re busting right out of this space
Our numbers are quite out of hand

La la la, didi da da
La la , didi da, da dum

Sing us some songs, we’re the Heathens choir
Let’s sing us some songs today
Cause we’re all in the mood for some melodies
And singing makes us feel OK

Sops numbers suddenly started to swell
First Sandra, Bella and Jane
Now we’ve also got Deb and Kathy and Ruth
Too many for us now to name

Mary in Altos loves everyone
But she always sits next to Jan
Because there’s so many the rest of us
Grab a seat wherever we can

La la la, didi da da
La la , didi da, da dum

Sing us some songs, we’re the Heathens choir
Let’s sing us some songs today
Cause we’re all in the mood for some melodies
And singing makes us feel OK

Tenors numbers go up and down
The Basses sometimes grab Tim
Sara tried Altos but didn’t last long
While the Altos contributed Min

Gary researches the songs we sing
Jan sings without music you know
Sabine and Myra show wonderful style
When the Heathens choir puts on a show

La la la, didi da da
La la , didi da, da dum

Sing us some songs, we’re the Heathens choir
Let’s sing us some songs today
Cause we’re all in the mood for some melodies
And singing makes us feel OK

Warwick and Robin do pillow talk
He tells her its hard singing bass
It’s the dom doms and doh dohs that get him down
She can tell by the look on his face

There’s more Basses now than there used to be
Like Altos they take up more room
They’re channelling their inner opera stars
And occasionally getting the tune

La la la, didi da da
La la , didi da, da dum

Sing us some songs, we’re the Heathens choir
Let’s sing us some songs today
Cause we’re all in the mood for some melodies
And singing makes us feel OK

Many of us can read music well
Others, we just sing along
We panic a bit when we start a new song
But keep calm and catch up before long

We’re a happy mob here Wednesday afternoons
Chris gives us all her great smile
We’re singing a song that’s called happiness
And forgetting life’s woes for a while

La la la, didi da da
La la , didi da, da dum

Sing us some songs, we’re the Heathens choir
Let’s sing us some songs today
Cause we’re all in the mood for some melodies
And singing makes us feel OK
Cause we’re all in the mood for some melodies
And singing makes us feel OK

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The Heathens Picnic by Robin Mosman
Tune: Teddy bears’ picnic

Verse 1
We’re going up to the park today,
We’ll all be in disguise
We’re gath’ring up at the park today,
Masked up to the eyes,
Every Heathen that ever there was
Is gath’ring there together because
Today’s the day the
Heathens are having a party

Chorus
Party time for singers at last
We happy Heathens here are having
a lovely time day
Watch us, catch us unawares
As we sing along this holiday
Been so long, a whole year now
Since we could sing together
It’s really been very hard
Now we’re back together again,
Us and Chris and Mick
And we’re a very happy Heathens Choir

Verse 2
Every Heathen who’s had two jabs
Will be at the park today
No masks to sing, a wonderful thing
To sing in the good old way
Beneath the trees where nobody sees
We’ll laugh and sing as long as we please
Cause that’s the way the
Heathens get together

Chorus
Party time for singers at last
We happy Heathens here are having
a lovely time day
Watch us, catch us unawares
As we sing along this holiday
Been so long, a whole year now
Since we could sing together
It’s really been very hard
Now we’re back together again,
Us and Chris and Mick
And we’re a very happy Heathens Choir

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We are the Heathens by Julie Brackenreg, assisted by a subset of the Choir
Tune: I am Australian

We come from the mountains with the wattle gold and green
We are younger, we are older, and most are in between
We are singers, we are crooners, and some of us sing flat
But Chris, she keeps us all in tune and tells us where we’re at

Chris is one and we are many
And from all the mountain towns we come
Chris leads us all to sing with one voice
She is, you are, we are the Heathens

We sing our cheer at festivals, at carnivals and fetes
There are songs to make you happy, and others not so great
We love The Parting Glass, Liyarn Ngarn and Wollemi
But when we sing La Bamba, we just keep asking WHY?

Chorus
We have basses, we have altos, sopranos, tenors too
Walking sticks and walking frames and athletes in the crew
Publishers and writers, sailors, artists, more
We sing with joy and passion, if only we followed the score

Chorus

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