Step By Step


anonymous & Albert Camus, adapted by the composer

Step By Step is steeped in the history and culture of American folk and social justice music. Composer and pianist Waldemar Hille (1908-1995), an American folk song historian and social activist, found the words to the preamble of the constitution of the first mineworkers union in the United States which had been written in 1870. He shared them with folk musician—and now, folk legend— Pete Seeger (1919-2014) hoping that Pete would find a tune to go with the words. Seeger found the perfect match: “The Praties They Grow Small,” a traditional Irish song written during the Great Irish Potato Famine of the 1840’s. The message of the lyrics can be summed up as “we are always stronger together” — as true for worker’s unions as for any shared struggle for social justice!


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Preamble to the Constitution of the American Miners Union (1870)

Step by step, the longest march
can be won, can be won.
Many stones can form an arch, singly none, singly none.
And by union what we will can be accomplished still.
Drops of water turn a mill, Singly none, singly none


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