George and Ira Gershwin: Homeward Bound

Written by William Sharp

Baritone

April 24, 2020

The 1927 musical Strike Up the Band was a flop, but it contained some of George and Ira Gershwin’s best songs.  One of the lesser-known ones was “Homeward Bound”, sung by soldier boys at the end of a fictitious war in a satirical story. I am inordinately fond of it. As my last song this week, it strikes me as expressive of the joyful relief some will feel when released from the captivity caused by current travel restrictions. Stuck thousands of miles from home, they long for this moment. Here’s John Musto and me.

Once again the golden sun is shining
On the lonesome soldier boy;
And the heavy heart that knows but pining
Beats again a song of joy.
Soon we’ll be in our native land once more —
There to greet all the loved ones we adore.
Homeward bound
On the way!
Homeward bound
Home to stay!
What a thrill!
Jack and Jill
Will soon be deep in clover
Trouble’s over for me!
Me oh my!
Misery, say goodbye!
Can’t go wrong—
Won’t be long, boys,
You’re lucky when you’re homeward bound!

William Sharp

William Sharp’s association with NYFOS goes back to when it was but a twinkle in Steven and Michael’s eyes.  He fondly remembers those first concerts at packed-to-the-rafters Greenwich House (hot? — in more ways than one). He has appeared with most major American symphony orchestras, and has created world premiere performances and recordings of works by composers such as Leonard Bernstein, John Harbison, John Musto, Jon Deak, Libby Larson, David Del Tredici, Lori Laitman, Steven Paulus, Scott Wheeler, David Liptak, and Jörg Widmann. Mr. Sharp’s discography of several dozen discs encompasses music from the 12thcentury to today. His 1990 world premiere recording of Leonard Bernstein’s last major work Arias and Barcarolles (Blier/Barrett/Kaye), won a Grammy Award, and he was nominated for a Grammy (Best Classical Vocal Performance) for his recording with Mr. Blier featuring the works of American composers such as Virgil Thomson, John Musto and Lee Hoiby. He is winner of the Carnegie Hall International American Music Competition, the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, the Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Prize, and the Geneva International Competition. He has taught voice at the university level since 1977, and joined the Peabody Conservatory faculty in 2002. His students are performing throughout the world in concert and opera.

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