14 Original Songs by Tim Thomas
1. My Dad Is Coming Home! (5’ 05” - Duet for Soprano & Mezzo) +
Emily Arnold aged 13 is ecstatic that her dad, John, who is a sergeant in the British Army is coming home from fighting in a secret desert war. Her Mum, Mary tries to keep the lid on her excitement but Emily is flying high. This first song is in fact the whole of the first scene and includes a number of sections and melodies.
2. Music Is The Key 1 (2’ 12” - Tenor solo) +
Mark Eversholt is Emily’s teacher and leader of the local brass band. He is passionate about music and muses on the powerful influence it has had on his life.
3. Sweet Lips (3’ 05” - Soprano solo) +
Ada Spencer is Mark’s grandmother. Drinking tea together she reminisces about Albert the love of her life. He died in WW1. She sings about his love of music and the brief, passionate affair they had before he left for The Front.
4. Short Fuse (2’ 34” - Baritone solo) +
Alone and despairing John Arnold sings about his feelings of defeat and shame. It is night and the darkness seems to penetrate him. The post-traumatic stress he is suffering has rendered him a prey to terrible feelings of anger. He fears he will lash out at any moment.
5. What Did I Do Wrong? (2’ 08” - Duet for Soprano and Mezzo) +
John has just shouted at Emily, something that he has never done before. Her excitement at seeing him after five months away has been destroyed. She simply cannot understand how her wonderful dad, her hero, her guiding light has turned against her. Mary tries in vain to calm her down.
6. Sweet Baby Mine (1’ 36” - Mezzo solo) +
Mary is trying to re-establish some harmony in a household which suddenly seems to be heading for disaster. She sings Emily’s favourite lullaby, the one she loved as a child, but it doesn’t work. Emily stubbornly remains wide-awake and deeply hurt.
7. Remember We Were There (2’ 21” - Mezzo solo) +
Mary tries to understand the erratic changes in behaviour of the man she thought she knew so well. John admits that he is lost and so Mary tries to remind him of some of the wonderful places where they have been together before, beautiful places where they had loving experiences.
8. What Did I Do Wrong? (Reprise) (2’ 30” - Soprano solo) +
Solitary and unhappy Emily escapes into a memory of when her dad was his usual happy self, before he went to war. The fantastical stories he told her at bedtime were her greatest joys. One of them, ‘Billy Back-To-Front’ springs to mind and she relives the delight of its telling. However, as the memory fades Emily falls into the depths of despair again.
9. It’s Nothing (2’ 25” - Duet for Soprano & Tenor )+
Emily is exhausted at her school desk. Her teacher, Mark, scolds her for inattention and all Emily can reply is that she has turned up and is doing her best to appear to be normal.
10. They Shot Him At Dawn (3’ 31” - Soprano solo)+
Ada has died and in going through her papers Mark discovers that his grandfather Albert was shot at dawn for cowardice during the Battle of Passchendale in 1917. Ada's presence makes itself felt in the room and she sings about the injustice and tragedy which marked Albert’s death.
11. Warzone (3’ 57” - Duet for Tenor & Baritone)+
John torments himself about the fact that he can neither give nor receive love from Mary whilst at the same moment Mark is luxuriating in the rapture of having just made love to her. It is a song with a poignant and bitter counterpoint as the men's voices harmonise about a cruel irony.
12. I’ve Gone Too Far (2’ 12” - Mezzo solo)+
Mary is conscience-struck about her tryst with Mark. Her feelings have crystallised because Emily has sensed that something is amiss and asked her mother if she is going to abandon her. In a private moment Mary confronts a terrible consequence.
13. Music Is The Key 2 (2’ 53” - Tenor solo)+
Mark is waiting for Emily to appear in the band-room. He returns to the song he sang near the beginning of the show where he celebrated the power of music and the gift it has been in his life.
14. For A Moment (2’ 04” - Soprano solo)+
Emily is highly emotional. She returns from the band-room where beating the drum has freed her of her inhibitions and given her a momentary glimpse of what her dad went through fighting in the secret war. She is joined by Mary who encourages her to go to her father and simply be with him.
15. Finale (7’ 16” - Quintet for two Sopranos, Mezzo, Tenor, and Baritone)+
Emily, Mary and Mark step forward to sing about the situation in their lives as it has changed in the course of the drama. They tell of their journey. Ada adds her voice from the grave hoping that her nearest and dearest will remember her in the same way that she clung to the memory of Albert, her one true love. It seems that only John is left inert in his pain but as the musical closes he joins hands with Emily and there is a hope that the family will at least continue to try to heal the wounds.