SONGS OF SUBSTANCE: "Move On" by Stephen Sondheim

Move On
from the musical “Sunday in the Park With George”
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Stop worrying where you're going—move on
If you can know where you're going, you've gone
Just keep moving on.

I chose, and my world was shaken—so what?

The choice may have been mistaken, the choosing was not.

You have to move on.

Look at what you want,

not at where you are,
not at what you'll be.

Look at all the things you've done for me:

opened up my eyes,
 taught me how to see,

notice every tree,

understand the light,

concentrate on now.

I want to explore the light.
I want to find how to get through,

through to something new,

Something of my own—move on.

Move on.

Stop worrying if your vision is new.

Let others make that decision—they usually do.
You keep moving on.

Look at what you've done
, then at what you want,
not at where you are,
 what you'll be.
Look at all the things you've done for me.
Let me give to you something in return.
See what’s in my eyes
And the color of my hair
And the way it catches light
And the care
And the feeling

And the life moving on!

We've always belonged together.

We will always belong together.
Just keep moving on.

Anything you do, let it come from you.
Then it will be new.
Give us more to see…


I first encountered this song back in 1995 on a VHS tape of the musical, Sunday in the Park With George, borrowed from a public library in Manchester, CT. It was highly providential at the time. I was going through a huge life transition. As I watched and listened--sitting alone in the living room of my apartment, living by myself for the first time in my life--I felt as if it had been written just for me. It was one of life's pivotal moments.

The life I'd known before had crumbled and been swept away in the past, swift six months. Having no idea how to move forward, I had made a start. I wondered what shape my new life would take. The music within had begun to awaken after more than a decade of silence.

This song was a voice reaching across the void to give instruction. It was the lifeline I needed create the new life, one that reflected the person and vision I'd held inside all those silent years.

Another decade and a half have past since I first heard "Move On". It had slipped from memory, though over that time I've come to live and work full-time as a musician and artist.

The song surfaced again a few weeks ago as I looked though my studio library for suitably challenging material for one of my more advanced voice students--a high school senior who has studied voice with me since she was 10 years old. Next fall she'll be a voice major on scholarship at Temple University in Philadelphia. For her, this is a time of endings and beginnings, the last two months of her senior year, bittersweet and exciting. I was searching for a song that would capture this moment and hint at all that lies ahead. I opened "All Sondheim, Volume IV" and there it was, page 185.

"Move On" is a song of deep meaning for anyone in transition.

In the arts, aren't we always in transition from what we've just created to what we are about to create? If we have the courage to move on and get it done.

Isn't life a perpetual transition, meaning in motion? Worth singing about.

©2010 Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing