Vaults of Silver for choir – by Frank Nawrot

Performed by Bales Chorale and Neal Long, Gretchen Pille; soloists, Mark Campbell, conductor.

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“Vaults of Silver” is dedicated to the Custodial, Maintenance, and Administrative staff of the University of Kansas. Some of them are among the lowest paid employees at the university, yet it is because of them that the students and faculty are able to work in a clean and safe environment.

The lyrics of the work are based on the tune Banks of Marble by Les Rice who was a New York apple farmer and union organizer in mid-20th century.

Our banks are made of marble, from shore to shining shore
And the sand is full of silver, that we all sweated for

I’ve traveled ‘round this country, from shore to shining shore
And it really made me wonder, all the things I heard and Saw
I saw the poor dirt farmer plowing sod and loam
I heard the auction hammer knocking down his home

I saw women working in the sweatshop and the store,
In the office and the factory, and at home they scrubbed the floor

But the banks are made of marble, with a guard at every door
And the vaults are full of silver that we all sweated for

I saw my mother working from dawn to setting sun;
I heard her saying softly, “Women’s work is never done.”
I’ve seen my fellow workers build up this mighty land;
Some want to divide us, but together we will stand!

Then we’ll own those banks of marble and open every door
We’ll share those vaults of silver that we’ve all sweated for.

Category: Performance