SSAA and Violin or Cello
“Pretty Saro” was first an English folk song which is thought to have originated in the 1700s. It disappeared from performance but was eventually “rediscovered” in the Appalachian Mountains where it had immigrated and been preserved through the oral traditions of the local singers. Its lyrics had been changed but the subject had stayed the same: a person who is mostly content with where they are, but would still rather be with the far, far away Saro.
What I always think of when I hear this tune is the experience of a person immigrating to the United States and what it must have been like for them to leave someone they loved behind potentially thousand of miles away. We all have a Saro somewhere in our lives and, from immigrants processing through Ellis Island in 1905 to a Hispanic boy in 2014 wearing a t-shirt that says “Don't Deport My Mom,” it's clear that sometimes things still don't go the way we want them to. In this moment, our lives are defined by one heartbreaking event: saying goodbye.