Home in Pasadena

By Rick Mohr; 2005

Singing Square

Level: Intermediate/Advanced


Circle left 1/2 (8)

Ladies star right (8)


Allemande left with partner 3/4 (4)

Allemande right with corner 3/4 (4)

Gents star left while ladies promenade clockwise around ring... (8)


... continue star and promenade (4)

Swing partner (12)


Promenade partner around the ring (16)

(singing "Beneath the palms, in someone's arms, in Pasadena town")

A1, A2:

Teacup chain (32)

B1, B2:

Beer mug chain (32)

When I heard "Home in Pasadena" sung by the amazing vocal trio Finest Kind (on their album "Heart's Delight") I thought it would make a killer singing square. Great tune, chords, and swingy feel, with a good singable tag phrase. And best are its cool verses to different melodies that interlock nicely when sung together. But in a singing square the caller has to sing the calls, so how could those great lyrics possibly be included?

My solution is to use an uncallable break figure, and sing the lyrics while the dancers make their way through it. The teacup chain plus beer mug chain makes just the right length, and can't be called since dancers have to do different things at the same time. It works great but takes a while to teach, so is perhaps better in a workshop than an evening dance.

In the A2 of the figure the two 3/4 allemandes are shorter than might be expected. The second propels the gents and ladies in different directions; dancers pass their partner once and on second sighting swing at (roughly) their home place.

Allow enough time to teach the teacup chain. Here's a good description and teaching method from a modern western square dance caller (substitute allemandes for e.g. "star left" or "right arm turn", and end with a quick courtesy turn). The beer mug chain is the same sequence but led by the gents (with left hands) rather than the ladies (with right hands); end with a brief swing.

To get the feel of the song and learn its melodies listen on bandcamp (and buy Heart's Delight!). I include here the words and melody for singing the figure, and below are the words and chords for the song verses. If 3 singers are available, use this sequence:

Intro: Band plays final 8 bars ("Beneath the palms, in someone's arms, in Pasadena town")
Figure: Caller sings calls. Break: Singer 1 sings verse 1
Figure: Caller sings calls. Break: Singer 2 sings verse 2 (singer 1 can sing verse 1 quietly in the background)
Figure: Caller sings calls. Break: Singer 3 sings verse 3 (singer 1 can sing verse 1 quietly in the background)
Figure: Caller sings calls. Break: All three singers sing all three verses together
Ending: Repeat final 8 bars ("Beneath the palms, in someone's arms, in Pasadena town")

Don't stress about perfect singing—the dancers need most of their brains to make it through the teacup chain and only hear you as an interesting backdrop.

(1) Home in Pasadena
Home where grass is "greena"
Where honeybees hum melodies
And orange trees scent the breeze

I want to be a home-sweet-homer
There I'll settle down
Beneath the palms in someone's arms
In Pasadena town

(2) Soon I'll be on my merry way to that dreamland of yesterday
Tell the mailman I long to stay, my California
To be where honey bees
And orange trees they scent the breeze (sweet melodies)

Settle down in that happy town with the mountains there all around
Friendly people there to be found, nuts right by my door
There beneath the palms, somebody's arms
In Pasadena town

(3) Oh there'll be an aggregation waitin' for me at the station, in Pasadena town, Pasadena town
All my life I've been a rover, now it's time to think it over, I want to settle down, want to settle down
Busy little bumblebees, syncopated melodies
Trees are slowly swingin' while the birds are softly singing in the breeze

I want to be a happy home-sweet-homer, never want to be a roamer, from Pasadena town, Pasadena town
There away from all the worry of the city's hurry-scurry, every evening when the sun goes down
Moonin' Junin' honeymoonin' palms, captivatin' fascinatin' arms
P - A - S - A - D - E - N - A   T - O - W - N   town

A    A     C#m7   A7   D    D    F#7  F#7
Bm7  Dm    A      A    G#7  G#7  E7   E7
A    A     C#m7   A7   D    D    C#7  C#7
Bm7  Cdim  Amaj7  F#7  Bm7  E7   A    A
Video: Nils Fredland & Elixir at Youth Dance Weekend 2008, Plymouth VT: