I'm in this hole, because I have to be in this hole, because it's safe here. But it's dark here. They put

boards and dirt and grass on top of this hole, and I can't ever look out, because they'd find me. I have to

stay down, where it's safe and dark. Papa arranged it all. He paid the farmer, and then he left me. He

had to get away. I hope he got away. I have to keep loving my Papa, even though I can't see him. And

sometimes I sing to him... (SING)  ...Like that.

     I eat food they throw down. I have three blankets and three books, but not any candles. They'd see

them burning. I can see in the day. I can't see at night. But I see a star sometimes. I sleep on the straw.

I get half wet when it rains, but I don't drown, because they made a drain. This straw was put here for

me, but I don't know if this hole was dug here for me, or if it was here before. I think a lot of  the time,

but I don't like to think. That's why I have to keep on singing... (SING)

     Sometimes I hear voices: good  voices and bad voices. I hear noises like machines and explosions,

and maybe even some screams. When I hear the screams, I close my eyes and my mouth tight. But

when it's safe to get out, I'm gonna run to my Papa and never leave, and always sing to him, not even

like I have to sing now, but happier than this... (SING)

     There's a bucket that I use. I can smell the bucket all the time. And I can smell this hole too.

Sometimes I can even smell myself. Sometimes I get purple berries, but not today. One time I even

got some of their coffee. But I didn't like their coffee. I don't tell them that, because I don't talk to

them. Anyway my voice sounds strange, more like noises than  words, except when I sing... (SING)

     I've got three books: a book about animals, a book about Paris, and a prayer book, but I didn't learn

than language. Papa told me that one day I'd learn that language. It must mean something. Something

must mean something. It has to mean something. It can't all be like it is in this hole, all of the time. I look

at the letters: aleph beth. What if the roof breaks? I'm scared they'll find me. I'm scared they won't find

me. I just have to sing all the time... (SING)

     But one day, when everything stops exploding, they'll take this roof off of me, and they'll tell me that

it's safe, and then they'll pull me all the way up. And I'm gonna walk all around up there, where it's

peace and light and safe. Then I'll be who I really am, instead of like I am  now. And my Papa's gonna

come and bring me home. And we'll eat for at least three days, and always sing. Sing. I have to sing

like this for now... (SING) ...because I'm still in this hole.


performed by

Linda Ferreira, soprano

Anne Thurmond, clarinet

This piece is based on the true story of a survivor of the holocaust who wishes to remain

anonymous. His father paid a Polish farmer to hide him when he was a boy, and he was

hidden in a hole in the ground for 3 years. He was the only one of his family to survive.

included on the CD

Sound Portraits

Capstone Records CPS-8718

vocal music of William Vollinger

Linda Ferreira, soprano

Ann Thurmond, clarinet

Paul Thurmond, piano

click to order from

words & music by William Vollinger ©2002

     I was recently talking to my friend Jenn and for some reason

the conversation reminded me of an art song I heard two years

ago in an Ars Vitalis concert. The name of the piece is “The Child

in the Hole” by William Vollinger.

     “The Child in the Hole” is based on a true story of a survivor of the holocaust. His father paid a Polish farmer to hide him when he was a boy and he was hidden in the hole for three years. The piece can be understood on two levels, the literal (a boy waiting for his father to return and rescue him) and allegorically (we all await

our Father to get us out of the holes we find or put ourselves in). This dramatically compelling song can be found on the Capstone Records album “Sound Portraits”. I highly recommend you look

for it, as it will affect you positively to remember and understand those who unjustly suffer in the world.

                                       ---May 8, 2008 blog by ALEX VALENCIA