Folk Thursday: Orion

A couple of years ago, I made a passing reference to a lovely folk song called “Orion,” which I remembered singing in music class when I was a kid.

Ever since then, I’ve gotten several hits a week from people who were Googling the lyrics and hoping to find sheet music or a recording of the song, which is about the environment.

A few weeks ago, Jim Zimmerman, the man who wrote the song, posted a comment, expressing surprise and delight at the flurry of interest in his song and inviting people to e-mail him if they were interested in hearing it again.

We’ve been e-mailing back and forth a little bit since then, and the other day, Jim sent me a recording of himself performing the song, which he has graciously given me permission to post here, provided I include the following reminder:

“Orion” is copyright (C) James Zimmerman.

It was really cool of him to let me post the file online, so please be equally cool and respect his intellectual property rights, hey?

Now … without further ado … click here to hear “Orion.” The file is in Windows Media Player format.

Thanks, Jim. I think you just made an entire generation’s day. :)

Emily

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144 Responses to Folk Thursday: Orion

  1. unsweetened says:

    Oh, dear. I’ve been following all the “Orion” postings all along, and I thought, “What the HECK is this song they keep talking about?” And now I hear it, and think, “Oh, yeah! I remember that song!”

    Good work, Em.

  2. ron says:

    i don’t have enough words in me so i’ll keep it simple: thank you, jim. ~ ron

  3. Michelle says:

    I am in shock and awe. It’s so beautiful – I hope James Zimmerman knows how much pleasure he has brought to people all over the world. I was singing this song again and again to my nieces on our family vacation last fall – it turned out to be our last one together. Since then my sisters and I have sung it at my father’s bedside (he is in a coma) and wherever we go it is calming. I love the subtle environmental message – the composition is perfect – but now to hear the composer’s version is really something special that I’d never expected. This is MAGIC – from our individual and then collective search for this song to this conclusion. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    I wonder if Jim is aware of the other song I relate this one to…On the Loose?

  4. Melissa says:

    I arrived at this website a few minutes ago by Googling “Orion keeps arising, you can see his stars”. Really and truly, I did. We used to sing that song at camp when I was a kid (I’m 41 now). When I was pregnant with my son, I wanted to name him Orion, but my husband nixed that. I guess he doesn’t have those same fond memories of sitting around the campfire like I do, LOL.

    Thanks so much for the song. I played it for my husband. He still hasn’t changed his mind about the name Orion, but I’ll keep working on him.

    By the way, we named our son Marshall, so if he’d like to write a new tune with that name, we’d love it. :-)

  5. karen says:

    Thank you so very much, for posting this.. please tell mr. Zimmerman
    as well thank you for sharing this, this song was always a favorite as a kid in school now 35years, later its still a fav !!!

  6. YOU DID IT!

    *laughs*

    Oh, what a joy.

    The Internet. No matter why it was originally created, THIS is what it’s really for. A truly connected global culture that can type in a few key words and commune in common interests and memories.

    I’m with many others who have been following your progress in this blog regarding “Orion,” and found it originally by Googling “Orion is a risin’” (I wonder how common that is. How about a quick poll?).

    27 years ago in Mrs. Schaffer’s music class in Point Place, we moved seats around several times during the school year. I remember where I was sitting each time we sang this song. Hearing it again now put me right back there.

    Orion is commonly a favorite constellation because of its ease of locating. I always equated it with the song, and it made it feel special to me growing up. I literally can’t see it without humming it.

    I wrote a young adult fiction novel and featured the song in the opening chapter to set the mood and tone. Thanks to you, I have direct access to ask the writer for his permission when it comes time to publish. :)

    Everyone coming together here reminds me of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, when the group of people converged on Devil’s Tower because of a shared vision. Reading this update and hearing Jim’s version of the song is as rewarding as seeing the mother ship coming over the rock, playing a lightshow showdown, and whisking us off into space.

    Wow. Thank you.

  7. Tamara says:

    Me too. I showed my 3 year old his first constellation last week – Orion – and have been singing most of the song every night at his request. But I thought there was more I was forgetting (the third verse it turns out). So, I googled and came across your blog . . . really this is the first time i’ve truly felt “community” on the web.

    And, yes, I love that song “on the loose” too. On the loose to climb a mountain, on the loose where I am free. Lyrics and chords here (but not the author?): http://www.lyricsdownload.com/schuch-steve-on-the-loose-lyrics.html

    • Kayla says:

      I’m only sixteen, but my mother used to sing this to me every night when I was little. I was like, “geez, where did my mother come up with these weird lullabies nobody else has ever heard of?’. Thank you, Google.

  8. Lacey says:

    I have had bits and pieces of this song in my head for 30 years. Every time I see Orion I think of it (and my 5th grade music class). What a treat to finally find it and hear all the words again. The recording is beautiful! Thank you!!!!!!!

  9. Jim Robertson says:

    As a kid in 5th-6th grade (circa 1977-1978), this was my FAVORITE song in music class. All my friends from that time, too. I guarantee, half of them could remember all the words to this day.

  10. Andy says:

    Round 2: Ghost Ship?

    I remember and loved this song, and it’s great that I can slake my thirst for nostalgia. Do y’all remember GHOST SHIP? I’ve been trying to track THAT tasty lick down. Any ideas?

    Andy

  11. DHC says:

    Yes! I found it! Like all you people, I have fond memories of singing this in 6th grade class and at “outdoor ed”. Who remembers outdoor ed? It was a 6th grade week-long trip into the woods, in my case, Angeles National Forest in California. This song is so nostalgic and truly belongs to our generation. Who remembers this? “Catalina Madalina, oopsy daisy Donna Wanna…”? LOL.

  12. Willa says:

    I have tried to find the lyrics to this song for years. We sang it in music class in elemetary school and it brought the most vivid images to my mind. Could you post the lyrics? Thanks for posting this!

  13. Search the blog for “Orion.” I know they’ve been posted several times before.

  14. Liz says:

    Thanks – this song has been in my head for years. I transferred schools in the 4th grade and was pretty unhappy at my new school. Singing this song in music class is one of my happy memories from that time. I’ve been wondering about it for years and today, on a whim, I searched for the lyrics that I could remember and found this web page. Thanks for persevering and sharing!

  15. John says:

    Perfect – thank you for sharing this!! : )

  16. Kelly says:

    I remembered only the opening line of this song from my 5th grade music class and took a notion to google it . I found you. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Chels says:

    I was just being a dork and typed in these lyrics from when I was still in elementary school. I don’t know why, but this left A HUGE impression on me. Even after a decade I still remembered most of the words and when I found your site showing the lyrics and amazingly enough the song itself I just about screamed in happiness. Thanks for taking the time and the effort to find the song!!!

  18. Sharon says:

    I’m sitting here balling! Over the years I’ve sang the first verse of this song over and over. It’s one of the few songs I remember from music class in the 6th grade. Today, on my 44th birthday I decided to do a search and found it. It reminds me of my 6th grade boyfriend who was killed in a housefire that year. THANK YOU FOR POSTING THE LINK TO THIS SONG!

  19. Mary Ann says:

    Thank you! I have been asking people about this song for years, but no one remembered it but me. We sang it music class in the 6th grade. I love this song. I am one of those who could remember every single word, every single note. I majored in music and I used to sing this song for all my musical friends hoping that someone could tell me where to find it. I sing it to my children. It brings tears to my eyes every time. What a great song. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

  20. Hazie says:

    I know this sounds like a broken record, but 5th grade music class, West Allis, WI. We all loved singing Orion. It’s been stuck in my head for 35 years. I Googled the first couple of words and hit this site. Mr. Zimmerman, thanks for the fond memories of a truly beautiful song.

    • ribbit1234 says:

      Hazie,

      I am also from West Allis, and sang this song in Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in sixth grade! Where did you attend high school and what year did you graduate?

  21. Afaf Bouardi says:

    Ok. I’ve been obsessed with this song forever. I sing it to myself once in awhile when I’m lonely or whatever. I’m 26…remember it specifically from 5th grade. However…the version I heard…doesn’t have this argentine flute…and I even think the guy’s voice is different. The version I recall is much smoother, sadder, and warmer.

  22. Afaf: This version sounds different because it is different. The composer was kind enough to create a recording of the song for us after stumbling across some of our comments elsewhere on this blog. The song as you remember it appeared in the Silver Burdett Music textbook series, Book 6. I found the sheet music (which Mr. Zimmerman tells me was modified slightly from his original composition) in a 1981 teacher’s edition of the book. Vinyl records were released to accompany the textbooks; you might be able to rustle one up on eBay if you want to hear the recording you remember from fifth grade.

  23. Sue says:

    Wow! Like everyone else that has posted a comment, I have had always remembered and loved this song since 6th grade (1976/77 in Ralston (Omaha), Nebraska)! I have asked others if they knew it, but no one has. A few years ago, I googled it, and found your website and was so thrilled someone else remembered it! Tonight I had a strong urge to google it again just to see if anyone else had posted anything about it. What a thrill to actually hear it! Quite emotional after 33 years.

    THANK YOU TO JIM ZIMMERMAN FOR WRITING IT AND THANKS TO YOU FOR SHARING THIS SPECIAL SONG WITH ALL OF US!

    Have a great day!

  24. Michelle says:

    I’m 37 and remember this from 5th grade music class. My teacher played acoustic guitar and we sang it by the campfire at 6th grade camp. I memorized it and sang it as a lullabye to my little sister and later to my husband and now to my 2 children. I have always wondered if I remembered it correctly. Turns out, I know every word and note exactly (although I draw the words out a bit and make it sound a little more country and a lot more forlorn). Perhaps I remember the same version Afaf (9/21/08 post) remembers.

  25. Mike says:

    I can’t believe what I just listened to. It took me back immediatly to my childhood. Like many others who have already posted, my teacher in 5th or 6th grade would play the guitar and have us sing along with this song. I am now 36 and the pleasant melody and catchy words have continued to stick in my mind. Often I think about it at this time of year. None of my friends remember the tune so they thought I was crazy when I would ask about it. I have visited this site often to see if there have been any updates. Thank you very much for this.
    Thank you to Jim Zimmerman for sharing!

  26. Lida says:

    Wow, I just tried to google this song using the lyrics and was lucky enough to stumble on this blog on my first click. Like most others who posted, I’ve been singing snatches of it to myself for years, since I learned it. For me it was 7th grade choir in 1980.
    Many thanks to Jim for sharing. Any chance I can get the guitar tab so I can teach myself to play it?

  27. Paul says:

    Yes, yes, yes. I agree with everybody above. Takes me right back to 197?, when I requested we sing this song so much I think I was becoming a nuisance to my classmates. I saw there was even one person from my home town, West Allis, WI, who remembers this song. We may not have been in the same class or the same grade, but I’m sure we had the same music teacher. Thanks, James Zimmerman!

  28. Hazie says:

    Small world, hey Paul. I went to Wilson School early to mid ’70′s. I can’t recall the music teacher’s name but my 5th grade teacher’s name was Ms. Naglie untill she got married and then she was Mrs. Gillgie. Moved out of West Allis 6 years ago about 20 miles south.

  29. Jennie says:

    Hi Andy,

    Both this song and ghost ship are in the 6th music text book MUSIC AND YOU. This publication is through Macmillian and they might have the recordings. My students really love these pieces. Good luck!

    Jennie

  30. Rosana says:

    I learned this song in 3rd grade (85-86) and to this day, could only remember the chorus. It is nice to finally have all the words so that I can sing it to my son!

  31. Erin says:

    What I find funny is that I also learned this in sixth grade – which was the ’01-’02 year. So I guess either it made its way into a newer book, or the books we had were more outdated than I remember. [There was an accompaniment track, but I can't remember if it was tape or CD, so that doesn't help.] In any case, I thought it was one of those obscure songs and I’d be lucky to find anything at all in a google search. To know I’m not the only one that remembers it is nice. =)

  32. Kellie says:

    OMG!!!

    it’s amazing that i can’t remember what happened last week – but I remember the tune & the words to this song I learned in middle school.

    Thank you so much. I sang this song in my head for so many years!

  33. Kevin says:

    I’ve had this song in my head for years. I tried to Youtube it thinking it was as old country music song I had picked up along the way. I’m 42, imagine my surprise that so many other people my age had been looking for the same song. Thanks for the information!

  34. Laura Apgar says:

    Oh, thank you. I tracked back through the postings and found this beautiful recording. A bit different (better!) than our 5th grade voices could put together, but still the same song!

  35. Amy says:

    Thank you for posting this (and thanks to Jim as well). Wonderful song and wonderful detective work tracking it down!

  36. Caroline says:

    Wow,

    I tried to google this song about 4 yrs ago with no luck. I put in half the lyrics this time and lo and behold, I found it here on this site! I also think of that song over the years now and then. I have always loved to camp and look through my tele so I really related to it as a kid. I think it was 5th grade we sang it at St. Peter’s Catholic school in MN in about 1975? None of my siblings who are similar aged remember it but it always made quite an impression on me. I am happy to see it made an impression on others as well. THANK YOU SO MUCH for this website and to Mr. Zimmerman.

  37. Shawnee says:

    For years and years I have had the line, “The world is getting older, you can hear it in the thunder…” in my head. I remember singing it in music class in middle school in the mid-late 80′s. I have searched for the song that belongs to these lyrics now and again for I’d say 15 years (yes it has truely been in my head that long). The words surfaced in my head again just last week and I googled the line… and finally got something!!!!! Thanks so much for posting the song as well as all of the lyrics. I really had begun to think that I had made up those words in a dream. This brought back a lot of great middle school memories. It also confirmed that I am not crazy and the song does in fact exist.

  38. 12 year old girl from Kansas City says:

    Thank’s to Mr. Zimmerman for writing this song and to you for posting it to share it with us. I am 44 years old and sang this in grade school. I don’t know why, but I just started balling when I heard it again… after all these years. I think that maybe it made me feel like that little 6th grader from so long ago, for just a few minutes. Thanks so much. I am really suprised that so many other people remember it too.

  39. PA Boomer says:

    Evidently we all shared the same Music Class textbook containing this song…I have had it in my head since 5th grade (1975) and listening to it on this website is the first I’ve heard it since then…been looking for a reference to this for years…thanks for the song, Jim…and thanks to the blogmeister for the posting…

  40. Bill Burdick says:

    I just found your post. I’m pretty sure I heard this in third grade music class (1971), but it may have been later. This is the first time I’ve heard it since elementary school as well. Thanks for the link!

    Bill

  41. Juliette says:

    I AM SO EXCITED! I have been looking for this song for DECADES! It is in my head every time I see Orion in the sky and I could never remember all of the words. Thanks SSSSSSSSSOoooooo much to Jim for this song. You have no idea how much this means to me.

  42. Aric says:

    Thank you Emily. A friend of mine and I have been looking for this for a long time. So cool…

  43. elizabeth says:

    I like so many others have been searching for the lyrics of this song. I sang it in elementary school and parts of the song have been embedded in my mind ever since. It has always brought me a sense of peace and I can’t thank you enough for finding Mr. Zimmerman and getting the full lyrics. I am looking so forward to teaching it to my children especially my daughter who loves to sing. Cheers.

  44. Carolyn Aspenson says:

    I have searched for YEARS for this song. Funny to think that others did too. Brings back great memories of my childhood and makes me miss the innocence of it all.
    Thanks!

  45. Lisa Kirk says:

    Thank you so much for finding and publishing this! I have such fond memories of this song in elementary school chorus days and have been teaching my seven year old (from memory…) a very limited piece of this song. Thank you!

  46. Ratana says:

    It is so funny reading everyone’s comment because I can completely relate. I recall singing this song in my 5th grade chorus class. And like another writer, the song (well, part of the song) stuck in my head to now.. many many years since 5th grade. Something about it just brings back memories of childhood, innocense and so long ago. Thanks for sharing it.. I hope it’s okay that I post it on my website for others to enjoy as well.

  47. Theresa Barger says:

    I loved thsi song since it was in Silver-Burdett Ginn back in 6th grade. I now teach ele music nad have been dying to find a recording of it to share with my students. Funny I can recall every note & word after 25-30 years…

  48. Jim Zimmerman says:

    Hi — Jim Zimmerman here (again). So happy to hear how my song, Orion, has affected all of you. At the request of several of you, I want you to know that I’ve made a CD of Orion and 9 other songs I wrote, and I’m selling it with the proceeds going to the Nature Conservancy. If you’re interested, contact me at jkzim@verizon.net and/or send $15 in check or money order to me at 45 Knollwood Rd., Elmsford, NY 10523. All of you make my life a little brighter, more star-like (LOL). Thanks.

  49. Jim Zimmerman says:

    Two things to add to my previous post:
    1) You can pay for the CD through Paypal. My i.d. is “doczee”.
    2) All proceeds to the Nature Conservancy will be DOUBLED THROUGH A CORPORATE MATCH.

    I think the CD would be a good Xmas or Hanukah gift, so please buy as many as you can so we can make a BIG donation to the Nature Conservancy.
    Thanks again.

  50. Stephen J.Brynan says:

    Wow!I’m only 34, and I remember this song from elementary school(I have a kick-butt memory). I remembered the verse”The moon is on the wane and it looks like it might rain, or snow”. I have no idea why I remember that verse alone though. Ahh the good ol’ 80′s

  51. Dave Poe says:

    1979. 6th grade. I believe it was the Winter concert. Ever since that day I can not look up into the autumn sky and the Orion constellation without singing this song – either out loud or in my head. In fact, just happened again tonight. I told myself I was finally going to google the song and well – here I am.

    Can I say for sure why the song has stuck with me so pwerfully over these past almost 30 years? Not all. I haven’t a clue. All I can say is that I just don’t know this song – I can feel it. It’s a part of me in ways I could never explain.

    Perhaps, it is interwined with that fraction of my life in some way. The world was getting larger. My neighborhood was getting smaller. I think we all knew that change – big changes – were just around the corner.

    I don’t have videos for memories, more like snapshots or polaroids. Honestly, I didn’t remember every word or how every verse went. But like my memories in which I can’t really recall details like color or words, I know it means something more.

    Strangly, I can’t describe the happiness i feel in finding this song again and hearing it for the first time in all these years. In a way, I feel like I’m 12 all over again…

  52. Dave Poe says:

    I also wanted to see if I can get the chord progression for the sone. Please?

  53. Jim Zimmerman says:

    Hey Dave –

    So glad to hear of your affection for my song. Please contact me directly at jkzim@verizon.net about the chord progression.

  54. Linda R says:

    holy cow! I have been SEARCHING for this song! I learned it in elementary school in the mid 70′s and I’ve always loved it!

    THANK YOU!

  55. Michele M says:

    I found myself singing this song, as I have many times over the years, and thought I’d look it up to see if I could learn more about it. This song, for some reason, has stayed with me over the years. (Since elementary school, mid-seventies!) I have remembered all of the words, which certainly cannot be said for most other songs learned in fifth grade! As many others have echoed, it has been a part of my life. Every time I sing it, it brings a sense of peace and wonder to my sometimes jaded 43-year-old self. Thank you, Jim, for the beautiful song, and thanks to all the others who make me feel like not-such-a-weirdo for Googling “Orion is Arising,” LOL. Merry Christmas.

  56. Jim Zimmerman says:

    Thanks, all, for your love of my song. Please let me know where you lived when you first heard it; I’m trying to see how far and wide it spread. If you don’t want to post that on this site, please email me at jkzim@verizon.net. Thanks again!

    • Dina Van Meter says:

      Thanks Mr. Zimmerman.. My choir class sang this song in hmmmm.. 1981 – 6th grade for me.. I had the 1st solo “and sleeping outside in a bag ….” I never forgot the song either. I went to Lakeview Elementary School in Lorain, Ohio. (I could be mistaken though, we might of sang it a year or two later in Vermilion, Ohio.. nonetheless..) I sing this song all of the time to myself.. and the first constellation I look for at night in the sky is never the big dipper or the little dipper, but always… ORION.. The hunter.. Your production of the song I just heard is so melodic and beautiful.. so thank you thank you thank you for being so kind and for sharing. Buddha blessings… to you and your family

  57. Heather H says:

    I learned this song in my 6th grade music class at Manatee School for the Arts in Palmetto, FL. I love this song so much, I still remember all the words 8 years later even though I havent heard it since that class. Thank you for this song!

  58. Jim Zimmerman says:

    Heather –

    Did you really mean you learned the song 8 years ago, or was that a typo?

  59. Heather H says:

    No I really learned it 8 years ago. It might be closer to 7 years depending on what point in my music class we learned it, but right around that time.

  60. Karen B says:

    This makes my day! I Learned this song in grade school in North Central Pennsylvania, probably 30 years ago and it has been that long since I last heard it! I have always looked fondly up at Orion in the winter night sky and I think about this sweet and tender little song almost everytime I see him up there. What a wonder to find the lyrics and hear it again tonight after all of these years. THANK YOU!

  61. Kat says:

    Tonight my husband and I were out walking in our southern Ontario town. As is usually the case when I see Orion, I started singing this song. For the zillionth time, I talked about learning this song in 4th grade chorus at my school in upstate NY.

    This is the first time I’ve tried googling it. I am so pleased to have found others who remember it, as well as a connection to the songwriter.

    Mr. Zimmerman, thank you so much for a song I learned as a child and still get great joy from singing today, 35+ years later.

  62. Shelby Voegeli says:

    Hi there, just wanted to throw in my two cents! My mother, who is now 44, also learned this song back in her grade school days in Atlanta, GA. She sang this to me as a baby, as a young child, and still to this day I ask her to sing the song to me. I recently moved away from home for college and everytime I look up at Orion I sing this song and feel a little less homesick. Thank you Mr. Zimmerman, you’ve made my life a little easier.

  63. Michele says:

    Thank you so much for finding this song and to Jim for sharing it with us. I still sing what I can remember of this song all winter long whenever I see Orion. It was so wonderful to hear it in full again! :-)

  64. Sharna says:

    Wow-I’ve looked for this for years!!! I’ve made many fruitless searches for the lyrics in the past-I couldn’t quite remember all teh words but I remembered the begining and the tune… I begin to hum it when I see Orion in the sky. We’ve had some very clear skies and my kids wanted to know all the words so I looked again. I learned this in my 6th grade choir with Mrs. Galloway. Thanks ever so much! NOW-does anybody remember that movie about the donuts? Where the lady looses her ring in th donut batter and the machine won’t turn off? So everybody has to eat donuts until he ring is found?? We watched this in elementary school too and everybody I talk to has a vague memory of it but doesn’t know anything more. I always thought it was funny and would like to watch it again… Thanks again!

  65. Sharna says:

    ok-Nevermind! I decided to google it again (I have before many many times) and first try it was my first hit… The movie is The Doughnuts from 1963 and the entire thing is on youtube!!! Man I love the internet!!!!!

  66. Mary says:

    I just googled this and found your post. I can’t thank you enough!!! I’ve had this song in my head for years! I even sang it to my babies – now 11 and 12. Such a wonderful melody. You’ve made my day!!!!

  67. Julie says:

    Oh my gosh, I sang that song in 5th or 6th grade chorus and loved it. It was the song I sang to my two girls to get them to sleep when they were little. I always wondered if I remember the lyrics and sure enough, I sang it as you have it printed! Thanks for the memories! We also sang a song called “so my sheep may safely graze” which I’ve found onine. The other one I recall but haven’t found was something like “still the world goes rolling on”, or something like that. It was a sad song as I recall and spoke of babies crying and old folks dying. Does anyone remember that one??

  68. mia says:

    Oh wow! Thanks for this. I have been wondering about this song for years now – literally about 20, did a search online about 5 yrs ago and got nothing..so started to think I’d imagined it. All I could remember with any clarity was the beautiful beginning sentence from my childhood in the 70s – a bit like Cat Stevens/Gordon Lightfoot – with “Orion is arising I can see the stars a blazin..”

    I heard it in Canada (now live in the UK) and it’s amazing to think I wasn’t the only one searching for this song….how incredible.

    Thanks!!! (to Emily for finding it again and Jim for writing it :)

  69. mia says:

    I have to just add something….I’ve just listened to it and I can’t stop crying. It’s given me this incredible sense of time just falling backwards.

    To Mr Zimmerman, everytime I look at the night sky – for as long as I can remember – I’ve thought about this song and sing it softly to myself – and now with my small children I do the same. Thank you so much.

  70. mia says:

    Last post (!)

    I wonder if there is any chance you could do a pared-down version (just you/guitar) and put in on Youtube? That would really get it out to a wide audience (and all the people that loved it from their childhood) – you could have a link for info on how to buy the CD etc. It would also be great if it was available on itunes.

    all the best.

  71. Jim Zimmerman says:

    Hi. Jim Zimmerman here (writer of “Orion”). Great idea re YouTube, etc. What I’ve already done is created a CD with Orion and 9 other songs I wrote. I’m selling it for $15, with the proceeds going to the Nature Conservancy. If you’re interested in buying it, please contact me at jkzim@verizon.net. Thanks again to everyone for your love of my song!

  72. Gin Anderson says:

    I’ve never “posted a note” before, but felt compelled to tell how incredible it feels to have connected with so many that have been doing the same things I have the past 34 years! My 6th grade teacher, Mr. Wiley, played acoustic guitar and taught us how to play an Auto-harp. Very fond memories. I also sang it as a lullaby to my kids, while camping, or any other peaceful outdoor time. I couldn’t feel any happier right now! Thanks Emily for the find and thanks Mr.Zimmerman for the song–it means the world today.

  73. Jena says:

    I too have been searching for this song for many many years. I did name my 3rd son after this song ( his middle name) Kyler Orion. Although I didn’t remember the lyrics quite right..I thought they were Orion is a risin I can see it in the horizon…But I was probably 10 when I last heard that song in music class. I am 44 now..soo, well you know lol
    Thank you for posting it, I will let my son hear the song tomorrow, he is almost 21 and I have always told him he was named after my fave song is Elementary school . God Bless

  74. Jena says:

    I forgot to say it was at Norwood Park Elementary in music class Miss Love was a our music teacher, in Lincoln Nebr. It was in the 70′s 71 through 78.

  75. Annabelle says:

    Hi All,

    I have had bits and pieces of this song in my head for 30 years also. I now have a son who just finished 5th grade and I’ve sang it to him many times. Like some of you, I also get taken back to that time everytime I look at the night sky and see Orion.

  76. Ally says:

    I am singing this as a solo for the school talent show, I love the song.

  77. Jim Zimmerman says:

    Again I’m so moved to find out how much so many people love the song I wrote. Ally, you are carrying it on to the next generation, and I hope your solo inspires others. For all of you, please post where you lived (or live) when you heard “Orion”, and in what year. I’m keeping a log of places where people learned and loved my song. Thanks again to all of you.

    • Jessica says:

      Mr. Zimmerman, I learned this song in Pattonville, West Germany in 1986 at a Department of Defense (DODDS) middle school. We learned this song and in our 6th grade Chorus, won a competition, and performed it at the Kris Kringle Market (just before Christmas) in Munich that year. Our performance of your song “Orion” and another obscure song were broadcast live over a German radio station. Ironically, as an adult I have lived in Sterling, Va-where another poster on this thread learned it! Orion comforts me-both the song and constellation. As an American Army Brat, I’ve lost track of how many places I’ve lived but I attended 13 schools before graduating from Highschool. One game my brothers and I played in Germany involved chasing each other thru tracks in the snow. (Fox and rabbits) And I only feel I’m “home” when I can see Orion. He was the only constant in a life that’s been uprooted uncountable times. (I begin to lose track in the midtwenties when I try to count how many places I’ve called home!) I’ve also given solo performances for those I loved – and your song never fails to get a loooong pause followed by a “wow”. My thanks for your request to know how far it’s spread. And to the forum where I could share my story. I am among the many searchers over the years to find out where this song came from. And thank you, for the song. Those words are very small for the power of the gratitude they contain.

  78. Paulina says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  79. Paulina says:

    I learned this song in choir in 6th grade. At Clint Small Middle School in 2002, Austin Texas. Thank you again I love this song.

  80. Bonnie says:

    I LOVE this song!!! I learned it in 3rd or 4th (1983 or 84) grade at Capron Elementary School in Illinois. I don’t remember who the music teacher was though lol, just remember the song.

    I have been singing it to my daughter since she was about 3yrs old everytime we go outside looking at stars. Every time I see Orion up there I am singing it. I am so glad I Googled it tonight and came across this site. I was really surprised to see how many others remember this song and loved it as much as I did.

    Thank you so much Mr. Zimmerman for writing this song.

  81. Peggy says:

    YAY! Believe it or not, I have been trying to find this song for YEARS! I happened upon this blog awhile ago, and have checked back periodically to see if the mystery had been solved. I’ve been singing bits and pieces of this song since 1981-82. Learned it from my 5th & 6th grade music teacher, at Chesapeake East Elementary, in Chesapeake Ohio. Sang it to my kids, and now am looking forward to sharing it with them in its entirety….and someday will share it with my grandkids! thanks Mr. Zimmerman, for sharing! :-)

  82. Hope Enos says:

    So happy to find this song. I’m 44 and do not remember it from school, but my younger sister, who is a beautiful singer used to sing this song when she was a child and I loved it so much. I was teaching my 7-yr. old son about constellations the other day and thought maybe i could find this song online. Wonderful!

  83. Donovan says:

    I middle named my son O’ryan after this popular hit in music class…thank you Jim for a song that brings us back to our youth and innocence.
    Donovan

  84. Lori says:

    THank you for posting this…I remember singin this in music class in the 70s

  85. Sarah G says:

    My husband has been telling me about this song from his childhood. Haven’t been able to find it before now. Thanks, now our children can learn it too!

  86. Paul says:

    I taught this song 35 years ago to fifth grade students. It has partially been in my head for the past couple of decades, and I have not been able to locate it until now. I had a student at the time named Orion. He hated his name and refered to himself as Ryan. I have always loved the name Orion and this song. Now I get to hear all of the song instead of the bits I remembered.
    Thank you,
    Paul

  87. Christine says:

    Wow! I’m an elementary music teacher, and recently found this song in one of my older textbooks. My choir is singing it — and they LOVE it! Thanks for the recording — I’ll share it with them next rehearsal…

  88. Just Me says:

    Yet another 4th or 5th grade choir singer here. Same story as all of you: This song has been stuck in my head since 1977 or 1978. At last, I can enjoy it in it’s full beauty and share it with my family!

    I have three people to thank:
    Emily, for pursuing and blogging this,
    Jim Zimmerman, for composing the wonderful song and making himself known to all of us,
    and to my music teacher at Bellwood Elementary, West Seneca, NY. I forgot her name, but if I remember correctly, she was the one with the huge orange afro filled with spitballs from the kids who didn’t appreciate her taste in music.

  89. Kim says:

    I learned this song in the early 80′s at Guilford Elementary in Sterling, VA. Thanks for the great memories. I love this song.

  90. Angie says:

    How great to learn that there are so many others looking for the same song! Yes, I also googled “Orion is a risin”. I sang this song in 5th grade chorus at Maximo Elementary in St. Pete, FL around 1980ish. Every time I look up in the sky I start singing it to myself, but start humming by the end of the first stanza. Now, I can sing it all again! Woo hoo! (BTW, I also found Senor Don Gato, which I dept messing up when I sang it to my kids). Thank you for relieving so many of us from decades of frustrated humming. A huge thank you goes out to Jim Zimmerman for the happy childhood memories of singing his wonderful song!

  91. jc says:

    every time I look up at the sky a part of this song goes through my head. really and truly, since I was 10 it’s been that way and now I’m nearly 30. It reminds me of what a wonderful two decades it’s been. and look! orian is still arising – you can see his stars ablazing! Jim, what a noble artist you are.

  92. Brian says:

    Wow. I was just thinking of a few of the songs from school I had never really heard. First I checked Debbie Boone’s “You light up my life,” Might have heard it but you know. Then Orion is Arising… First click I find the actual composer’s version! This is awesome. If it was fifth grade it’d have to be about 25 years ago… (It’s customary to say how long it is) based on the fact I’m 35. Sounds like it had been circulating the schools for some time by then! I always liked this song, a bit more now that I’ve heard it performed right!

  93. Janel says:

    I was singing part of this song to my dog… (what I could remember – which wasn’t a lot) and I got a wild hair and Googled it. I am still sitting here crying after listening to it. I sound like a broken record (lol) but it is so awesome that there are so many other people my age with THIS big of a connection to this song. I am 42 and sang it in 5th or 6th grade in a small town in southern Iowa – would have been ’78 or ’79. Thanx to everyone involved for sharing this with us !

  94. Rob says:

    As I was walking home this evening in the crisp night air I saw Orion and began humming a song from my childhood. It was perhaps 33 years ago in an elementary school in Nova Scotia, Canada that I heard it – just once – in English class.

    One heck of an earworm, Jim. Thanks.

  95. Jeff says:

    My wife is the music teacher at our local elementary school in Warsaw, IN. “Orion” is in “Share the Music 6″ by McGraw-Hill. We love this song, having never heard it before and some searching brought us here. Beautiful song, she hopes to pass it on to a new generation.

  96. Michael says:

    Wow! Incredible. I’m so happy I found this. I was probably in the 2nd or 3rd grade in 1987-88 while attending a tiny farm elementary school in McHenry, North Dakota when we sang this in music class. It has stayed with me.

    I always sing this song when I look into the sky to look for Orion. My wife always laughs at me. She thought I made it up as I would only sing the first verse. I had to prove to her that it was a real song so I did a search. Thank you Mr. Zimmerman! Orion has been a huge blessing to my life. When I have children it will absolutely be passed down to them. Thanks again! :)

  97. CARMEN says:

    I’m another one that made it to this site via googling the words to Orion. Like everyone else here, it pops into my head everytime I look up during winter. Very fond memories of learning this in 6th grade music class in Council Bluffs, IA. I really thought was probably the only one who still sang it hah! Thank you Mr. Zimmerman, and Emily, for putting this out there for all of us to enjoy.

  98. Molly Bilbow says:

    I’ll add my amazement and wonder that so many people remember and Googled “Orion is arising…” to find your post! Same memories of hearing it in music class (1979?) and loving it. Every time I look at Orion it pops into my head, but I couldn’t remember all the words. I hear the old album version in my head, too. Would love to dig around and locate that copy.

    Can’t believe it was in so many classrooms across the continent! I went to elementary in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and always assumed it was more of a local teacher’s choice.

    Thank you, Mr. Zimmerman for writing this song and sharing it with us online. Thank you, Emily for hunting it down!

  99. Michelle says:

    In the fifth grade (1988-89) my elemntary school held a talent show. A sixth grade boy chose this song for a solo performance. This particular boy was a large and somewhat gruff-looking boy which made the exquisitly forlorn tenor that he produced all the more striking. Hearing him sing this song was one of those events in life I wish I could revisit again and again, if only to soak up the entire crowd’s admiration for his courage to chose a less-than-macho song (considering the plethera of hairband selections before and after his performance), the amazing quality of his voice, and the beauty and simplicity of the song itself. It’s a memory my friends from that era and I still cherish. Occasionally we like to sing it around a campfire for people who haven’t heard it before but we’ve never been able to recall all of the lyrics.
    I’ve googled this before and found nothing and was overjoyed to find it here. Thank you so much for this, I’m thrilled to know that a community exists that feels the same about this song.

  100. Paul says:

    Learned in public school in Easton Pennsylvania (think half way between rural and rust-belt) circa 1978-1979 (5th or 6th grade music education). This was a song I could relate to because I was one of the few kids I knew that spent a lot of time up in the mountains around the Delaware water gap sleeping outside in a bag, before it became a weekend tourist destination for NY city dwellers. Lots of overnighters staring at the stars once the campfire burned to coals and listening to the skunks skirt around the campsite looking for stray marshmallows.

    I didn’t remember the 2nd verse, but the first one and refrain always resonated and still does, and I never forgot the tune.

    “Sleeping outside in a bag as a kid, seemed like the best thing that I ever did” … and still does.

    I lived for those cold June nights ( yeah were too! ) and banked them in my memory to lean on during the psychologically lean times.

    I’m going to cross-post this on one of your other blogs about the song.

    Found my way here by googling the first verse within quotes.

    • Jim Zimmerman says:

      Paul — Amazing that you connect my song with camping out near the Delaware Water Gap! When I wrote it, my experience camping there was what brought back my own childhood memories of “sleeping outside in a bag as a kid”. Thanks for sharing. JZ

  101. Darby says:

    Yes! I too have remembered this song since singing it in elementary school music class. I sang it for my husband just today — which prompted this search, and he said, “Wow, it’s weird that you remember it from 6th grade.” But it was an awesome song. Sadly, I can’t get the recording to play on my computer. Any suggestions?

    • Jim Zimmerman says:

      If you are interested, I can send you a CD of “Orion” and 9 other songs I wrote, for $15 including shipping, with the proceeds going to support the Nature Conservancy.
      Thanks.

      • ribbit1234 says:

        Hi Jim,

        I see that you still have that CD for sale with proceeds going to the Nature Conservancy. Is your contact information the same as it was in 2009, when you first offered it?

      • Jim Zimmerman says:

        Yes, I you can still send payment of $15 per CD to me at 45 Knollwood Rd., Suite 104, Elmsford, NY 10523. Thanks!!! JZ

  102. i gotta find peace of mind…

    [...]Folk Thursday: Orion « Red Fork State of Mind[...]…

  103. Chelsea says:

    I remember singing this song in grade school music class. I have always loved it and haven’t heard it in over 20 years. Thank You for sharing!

  104. Eric Dammann says:

    amazing to find this- like everyone else, it left an indelible mark back in the early 70s at Westorchard elementary school in Westchester NY. Thanks- Eric

  105. Phoenix Fourleaf says:

    This song has always spoken to me. I even named my son Orion.

  106. Laura says:

    Wow, after many years of Googling the internet has finally ended my search for this song! I learned it in Fort Collins, Colorado as a part of our camping song repertoire for our 6th grade “Eco-Week” field trip spent in the mountains.

    I remembered most of the lines, but ad-libbed quite heavily when I passed them on to others when I became a camp counselor in the ’90s. All this time I thought perhaps my music teacher had written the lyrics himself, because no one else had ever heard of them, not even on mudcat.org, and I was saddened when I’d recently heard he had passed on; I thought I’d never know the lyrics in their entirety. So imagine my happy surprise when I find out that not only is the songwriter still around, but that his song has been spread far and wide for many decades!

    Silly side note: when we were learning the lyrics from an overhead projector overlay in 1985, I remember vividly thinking, “sleeping outside in a bag as a kid? But…I still AM a kid! Why are we singing about this right now as if it’s in the PAST? What is this, ‘Back to the Future’??”

    Thanks so very much for researching this, and thanks to Jim for graciously writing in.

  107. Kristy says:

    I, too, loved this song and learned it in 5th grade in the late 70′s in Lincoln, NE. I rediscovered it when I finally got myself a piano recently and pulled out a ton of my old books plus a staff notebook where I had kept notes of songs or had actually written them down. Guess what’s in there? My rudimentary attempt at writing down the notes/chords when I was 11 years old. I remember the first part of the song and the rhythm and had it written down correctly, but the middle part is a bit sketchy in my book and I was trying to find it online to jog my memory. Voila, here I am.

    I’m also not sure why I loved this song so much…it has a bit of a melancholy feel and it’s about the stars…the “don’t you know?” at the end with that minor chord is also killer. I also loved Donkey Riding and O Shenandoah.

    I’d love to get a hold of that old music book. Classics. Thanks, Jim!

  108. Pam Giboney says:

    Oh wow! I’m so glad I stumbled across this. I’ve searched for any hint of this on the internet for a few years now. I grew up in a little town in north west Kansas called Norton. I remember being in fourth or fifth grade and singing this song at our spring program!

  109. Mike Atnip says:

    I thought I was maybe the only one who had some of those words stuck in my mind, and who would start singing “Orion is arising …” when seeing those stars. I had no idea so many others loved this little song!
    We sang this in 4th-6th grade music class in the mid-70s in Jackson Elementary School in Jackson Township, Blackford County, Indiana, with the teacher playing the piano.
    I think the nostalgia stems from seeing our world disintegrate from self-interest, and the simple things in life, like watching the stars on a clear night, is threatened to extinction by the clouds of materialistic pursuits. Thanks, James, for making this song available!

  110. cheryl says:

    Favorite grade school song. Been singing parts of this song for 35 yrs. I am now 47. Thanks.

  111. janet says:

    yep, me, too. have been singing the words “orion is arising” every time i see the constellation for the past 35 years or so. we sang this in middle school (5th grade maybe?) in Moorestown, NJ (small town outside of Philadelphia) back in the 70s. haven’t met anyone who remembers it, so this is a fun thread to find!! thank you – i love the internet!

  112. Barbara says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I have been looking for this song for over 30 years!!!! Connaught School, North Battleford, Saskatchewan, early 1970′s. What a blast from the past!

  113. bikerscout says:

    Thanks so much! Another nostalgic fool here that simply googled the opening lyrics hoping to finally slay the pesky soundworm that’s been wriggling around in my brain off and on these 30 some years!
    Sixth grade for me as well… it was `86 for me. It was this song and “sarasponda sarasponda sarasponda ret set set” that ended up tattooed in my memory.
    Thanks again! Just one more obscure piece of childhood I can lay to rest.

  114. D'Arcy says:

    Thank you Jim for your special song. I learned it in grade 6, in Elmwood School, Rosemere, Quebec, in 1976, and have been singing parts of it ever since. I tried to find it over the years without any luck, but after looking up at Orion this evening, I tried another search and found this blog. I’m so glad to finally have the correct lyrics again.

  115. Terri says:

    I learned this in the 5th grade in Las Vegas, NM. My teacher was Mr. Skeen. I truly love this song, have sung it every time I’ve ever been camping and anytime I look up and see Orion, to be honest. The thing was, I could only remember the first verse, and the rest was all jumbled in my memory. Thank you so much!

  116. Laura says:

    I googled this and ended up here to win a bet. My friend didn’t believe there was a second verse. I started singing this song in second grade at Elizabeth Waters Elem, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin the fall of 1976. It was a favote of our teacher, Mr. Fueller since he could pay guiter with this. By Christmas all of our K-6 could sing this at school functions by heart. I would like buy the sheet music. I sing and would like to add it to my collection.

    Thank you Mr. Zimmerman for being a part of my childhood. That year I asked Santa for a sleeping bag so I could sleep out in the snow (I was 7). I got one with a note stating I could only keep it if I promised not to sleep in the snow unless mom and dad said it was ok (it was below zero Chiristmas morning), and since he was Santa he would be watching to make sure I did it or he was going to return and take it back to the North Pole. To this day when I see the 3 stars of Orion’s belt, the song plays in the background of my thoughts.

  117. Rebecca says:

    Wow. It was my fifth grade music class too! I love that song and sing it all the time! So very cool! I’ll have to try to hear the file on my computer ( on my phone just now)
    Nice going with the file!!

    You didnt go to fifth grade in carruthersville mo did you??!

  118. Marleen says:

    I came across your blog by searching google for the “Orion” lyrics. Every so often out of left field I just start singing this tune, and like I have found out reading your blog there many people doing this! I have the same story remember the song from sixth grade music class, it is honestly the only thing I remember from sixth grade. I was just curious if this is remembered from many different states across the U.S. or are most of the responces from a certain area? Thank you for locating the information and posting it, definately put a smile on my face today!!!

    • I haven’t tracked the responses, but if you look through the most recent comments, you’ll find people from Wisconsin, New Mexico, Quebec, Saskatchewan, New Jersey, and even a Department of Defense school in Germany. It was printed in a sixth-grade music textbook that seems to have been used fairly extensively.

  119. Mia says:

    Most people seem to have heard it in 5th or 6th grade…but I heard it in first grade in Canada – it must have been first grade as then I moved overseas – where it definitely wasn’t taught – and for years (and years) would sing what I would remember of it…but after a while thought I must have dreamt it. I’m now wondering if someone at the school taught first graders the song – even though it was part of the curriculum for sixth graders. Either way, it made quite the impression as I’m in my early 40′s now!

  120. Willa Suggs says:

    I can’t open the file. Any chance this recording could make it to ITunes. I’m sitting on my porch swing singing it to my five year old and can’t remember the second verse!!!! If someone can tell me how to download this to my iPhone please email howardsuggs@bellsouth.net

  121. Willa Suggs says:

    And is the CD still available?

  122. Beth says:

    Orion is now making its climb in the nighttime fall sky. Every time I see it, this song comes flooding back to me. Wow! This song was one of my favorites from grade school. I couldn’t remember much beyond the chorus and the bridge. Thanks for the wonderful trip down memory lane. The recording of this song was awesome to hear and refresh my waning memory. Thanks again.

  123. Troy Allen says:

    It is truly amazing how many people have been bitten by the “Orion Bug” because of this song. I learned it in 6th grade at Ackerman Elementary in La Grande, Oregon. It was also my favorite and I requested it every chance I could at music class. Thanks to Mr. Zimmerman for originally penning the lyrics and to redforkhippie for bringing this all together.

  124. Maria Tomlinson says:

    YES!, you are still getting posts about this! Thank you SO MUCH for finding and posting this song. It brings back lots of great memories of my 6th grade music class, in Grandview, TX. I’ve only been wondering & searching it for about 25 years!! And every winter I look up in the sky to find Orion. THANK YOU!!! Xoxo

  125. Dixie Gray says:

    I used to teach elementary music (gosh that makes me feel old). This was a favorite of my fifth and sixth grade classes. They would go down the halls at school singing it or humming the tune. I have been known to do the same, but I couldn’t remember all of the lyrics. I’ve looked on the Internet before, to no avail. I searched for it today, because Orion was so clear and beautiful in the night sky last night, and voila! This is wonderful! Thank you!

  126. Christina says:

    It took me awhile to find this page was trying to find this song for the longest, want to play for my daughter I used to sing it to her when she was a baby. I learned it in around 1979 (I was nine!) and we sang it in my school chorus back then our music teacher seemed to love it. Today at school they talked about Orion so I had to find this song so my daughter can finally hear what I sing around the house after all these years.

    • Jim Zimmerman says:

      Hi Christina (and everyone else) —
      Jim Zimmerman here, the songwriter who wrote “Orion” those many years ago. I’m so pleased and grateful to hear how much you all love my song. And please let me know where you were living when you first learned it. Also, if you’re willing to do so, please make a contribution to a charity of your choice that has to do with saving the earth — I send to the Nature Conservancy.
      Thanks again.
      JZ

      • Christina says:

        Hello!! Thanks for your reply I’m happy to hear from you. I love your song and your voice it’s so soothing and takes me back to my awesome childhood. I grew up in Long Island, NY (Farmingdale) and we sang the song in chorus for a show so is still know the lyrics! I will make a contribution for sure.

      • Jim Zimmerman says:

        Thanks, Christina —

        And thanks to all of you who have such wonderful memories of “Orion” that you have sought out the song!
        JZ

  127. Lani Bass says:

    Wow … I still sing this song to myself whenever I go out and look at the sky. Sadly I live near NYC so don’t see starts that often, but when I do, Orion is always the first constellation I recognize. I love that song. I am larding to play the guitar and was hoping to find the sheet music so I can play it one day. I still know all the words from 5th grade. Thank you Jim for creating such wonderful memories for our generation

  128. […] Here’s a blog post with a performance by the […]

  129. Cheryl says:

    Wow–So glad I found all of you kindred Orion-loving spirits! There are years of posts, and they just keep coming. I have listened to Jim Zimmerman’s song pretty much non stop since I found this website a couple of days ago, and am completely enveloped in my trip down memory lane.

    The power of this song lies in its simplicity and its subtlety. You can appreciate it on so many levels–taking it at face value, or unpacking each verse to ponder the multiple messages that are expertly intertwined within this song. Most of us back in elementary school likely fell in love with it without thinking too much about the deeper meaning, but we likely thought about it so often as we grew older because there was something MORE. The innocence of youth, the ageless beauty of nature, and the belief, or concern, that both would eventually, somehow, slip through our fingers.

    This is just my take on in–what this song means to me. I could go on, but I would love to hear more from the rest of you about what you take from this song. I would also LOVE to hear from James Zimmerman about what he was thinking as he wrote this song, and what he believes the messages to be.

    This was the perfect song for the 70′s, and I, for one, am so glad I was a kid back then. Who needed technology?!

    • Jim Zimmerman says:

      Jim Zimmerman here. How moved I am — once again — that all of you have such a strong connection to my song! As for what I was thinking when I wrote “Orion”, and what I believe the messages to be, that’s harder to say. First of all, I was simply inspired by the power of the night sky, the connection to the cosmos, to things so far beyond our ability to comprehend and absorb. I had also had wonderful experiences as a child — 9, 10 years old and after that — being outside in the “wild”, camping, connecting with nature. (I am definitely a “nature boy”.) And even then, in about 1972, I was very concerned by what humankind was doing to the natural environment. Other songs I wrote around that time also express these sentiments as well. And I may have said this on this blog before, but if you love “Orion”, please consider contributing to the Nature Conservancy or some other organization that’s focused on trying to retain and preserve some of our environment it its natural state. Finally, I am so grateful to you all for letting me know that I have had a positive effect on your lives.

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