We Shake We Shine

No.3 from "Lifting As We Climb"


Joan Szymko

 “We Shake, We Shine” is the stand alone 3rd movement of Lifting As We Climb, a choral narrative 30 minutes in length commissioned by GALA Choruses to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution. Suffragists come to life and previously hidden voices of African American women fighting for the vote are heard. Lifting As We Climb looks back in time, but also explores the present day, anticipating a future that will require a diligent, informed public ready to fight for equality, democracy and the right to vote. The title, “We Shake We Shine” references two suffragists’ quotes:

Any great change must expect opposition, because it shakes the very foundation of privilege.”  (Lucretia Mott ,1793-1880)


“The way to right wrongs is to turn (shine) the light of truth upon them.”  (Ida B. Wells, 1862-1931)


Item Voicing/Instrumentation Duration Price Audio View Score Quantity
pdf purchase only
SSAA, piano, alto sax, drumkit 3:20 $2.50

We Shake We Shine

Joan Szymko

The struggle is never ending.

Freedom is never really won.

You earn it and win it in each generation.

You earn it and win it for all of us, 

every one of us, for all of us— for the people.

We the people— Shake the foundations of privilege 

We the people —Shine the light of truth 

Right the wrongs! Press on! 

Hold on for the common good.

We shake, we shake

We shine, we shine

Onward and upward,

Upward and onward—

Lifting as we climb.

The struggle is never ending. 

Keep your hands on the plow—

Upending hypocrisy,

Defending democracy

Demanding equality

It’s our turn, it’s our time—

Our turn, our time is now!

We shake, we shine

Onward and upward,

Upward and onward—

Lifting as we climb!



pdf purchase only

We Shake We Shine (2020) | Seattle Women's Chorus