This American sing-a-long was first published in 1902 with music by George Evans and lyrics by Ren Shields. Shields and Evans were at first unsuccessfully trying to sell the song to one of New York’s big sheet music publishers. The publishers thought the topic of the song doomed it to be forgotten at the end of the summer season. Blanche Ring, who had helped Evans arrange the number’s piano score, was enthusiastic about it and at her urging it was added to the 1902 musical comedy show The Defender she was appearing in.
The song was a hit from the opening night, with the audience often joining in singing the chorus. In the Good Old Summer Time was one of the big hits of the era, selling popular sheet music and being recorded by various artists of the day, including John Philip Sousa’s band in 1903. It has remained a standard often revived in the decades since.
The song appeared in many films, including the 1949 Judy Garland film named after it; In the Good Old Summertime, cartoons including Disney’s The Picnic featuring Mickey Mouse and PBS’s Arthur. It has been used in commercials and college songs, notably Baylor University’s That Good Old Baylor Line.
The book Elmer Gantry opens with the title character drunkenly singing the song in the saloon.
This arrangement features only the popular refrain, but includes extra verses that are seldom performed. The Primo and Secondo parts are early intermediate in difficulty, while the Terzo part is elementary level (it stays in middle C position, so primer students might even be able to play it!)
Individual parts and a combined score are provided for maximum flexibility.
Key: C Major
Mood: happy, lazy
Pedagogy: ensemble playing, dynamics, first and second endings