The Fervid Hokey Poke

A setting of the prize-winning poem by Jeff Brechlin

For unaccompanied mixed choir

Duration: 2:45

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Text · Performance History · Purchase Sheet Music

Jeff Brechlin won The Washington Post's Style Invitational in March 2003 with his poem The Hokey Poke. The competition asked readers to rewrite some banal instructions in the style of a famous writer. Brechlin chose to rewrite one verse of the traditional dance song The Hokey Pokey as if written by William Shakespeare, for which he won the prize of a shotgun shell salt and pepper shaker. His poem is used with permission.

Follow along in the score while you listen to an audio recording by Matthew Curtis of ChoralTracks in the score video above.

The Fervid Hokey Poke

O proud left foot, that ventures quick within
Then soon upon a backward journey lithe.
Anon, once more the gesture, then begin:
Command sinistral pedestal to writhe.
Commence thou then the fervid Hokey-Poke,
A mad gyration, hips in wanton swirl.
To spin! A wilde release from Heaven's yoke.
Blessed dervish! Surely canst go, girl.
The Hoke, the Poke -- banish now thy doubt
Verily, I say, 'tis what it's all about.

Purchase Sheet Music

Sheet music for The Fervid Hokey Poke is available from J. W. Pepper.

Performance History

Premiere October 12, 2013, by the combined forces of Sine Nomine, Concord Chamber Choir and Ilumini Men's Chorale conducted by Gary D. Cannon at the Greater Seattle Choral Consortium Choral Festival, St Mark's Cathedral, Seattle.

November 24 & 25, 2017, by I Coristi Chamber Choir under Rob Curtis at Roslyn Place Lodge and Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.