"Madame Jeanette" - Beautiful, Haunting, Unforgettable Choral Piece
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"Madame Jeanette" - Beautiful, Haunting, Unforgettable Choral Piece

This choral piece is hauntingly beautiful and truly unforgettable. A web search under the song’s title quickly reveals the long lasting effect “Madame Jeanette” has had over the years.

A song to make tough teenage boys and grown men cry!  This hauntingly beautiful choral number truly is unforgettable.  A web search under the song’s title quickly reveals the long lasting effect “Madame Jeanette” has had over the years.

Written in the 1930's by Alan Murray and Edward Locton, it seems to have hit a high as an a cappella favorite for many high school and college choir directors throughout the United States in the 1950-‘60’s. The short, but deeply moving piece and tells of a French widow who sits by her door by day and her window by night, waiting for a time when she will be reunited with her husband who was killed many years before on the battlefield of St. Pierre.

"Madame Jeanette" was so loved by Peter J. Wilhousky, director of music in the New York City schools and conductor of the New York All-City High School Chorus, that he ended each concert with it. In the book, Bully for brontosarus; reflections in natural history, Harvard Profession Stephen Jay Gould tells about a personal memory of a choral concert in 1958 that was directed by Wilhousky. The author reminisces that, “As the warm, and primarily parental, applause receded at the concert's end, Wilhousky returned to the podium of Carnegie Hall, gestured for silence, and raised his baton to conduct the traditional encore, ''Madame Jeanette.''

Dartmouth College, Class of '65, reports impressively that 'The Great Class' has over 255 webpages published over four separate websites. They were astounded that with all the songs attached to their many pages, only one topic received requests for more information..."Madame Jeanette." They had barely made reference to the song once in all 255 webpages.   

To put this song's magnetism into perspective, the creator of Dartmouth's Jukebox puts it this way, "Madame Jeanette, having nothing to do with The College, was not even on the jukebox, SHE was merely a mention made along with other non-College tunes included from the album. It is unimaginable that Google even noticed and cached the seemingly 13 "insignificant" letters making up HER name. But, it plus other search engines did; and from these listings, emanate requests for more info. In fact, it was through one such query that I added the song as Track #11 to The Jukebox.  "Madame Jeanette" is a siren!  It still remains the only Jukebox tune that is not Dartmouth related."

This amazing choral song can be found online, each performed by excellent choirs. One of the best was done in 1971 by the Calhoun High School Choir.  It can be heard at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hczSef4OV-E 

The words to this touching song have been provided for you.  Click the youtube link, then sit back, relax, and enjoy.  


Madame Jeanette when the sun goes down

Sits at her door in the rush of the town

Waiting for someone each close of the day

Someone who fell at St. Pierre they say

Madame Jeanette when the stars shine bright

Sits at the window and looks through the night

Listening for someone to pass down the way

For someone who sleeps at St Pierre they say

Madame Jeanette she will wait there I know

'Til her eyes have gown dim and her hair's white as snow

Wait there and watch there 'til one of these days

They take her slumber to in Père-Lachaise

In Père-Lachaise

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