Music “The Ballad of the Squirrel Sussy” Fantasia Chorale – Pasadena Schools

Each year, the choral ensembles of Ramona Convent learn and perform a 17th or 18th century Italian tune, intended to teach unison singing, the correct placement of vowels and consonants, and other basics of vocal pedagogy. Ms Ballenger says: “The repertoire is great for these lessons, but the lyrics tend to be over-the-top melodramatic lyrics about broken romances, abandonment and other emo stuff.

So sometimes Ramona’s students write her lyrics in class to make the songs more relevant to 21st century teens. The students choose the topics and the narratives, and with a little help from me to help them with the appropriate musical/lyrical accents and other important musical ideas, they write their own songs. Each class made a quick video performing their song.

Fantasia Chorale – The ballad of the squirrel Sussy (video above)

This is the brilliant tale of the epic struggle between a Ramona girl and a squirrel. Based on a true story, 2021-22’s Fantasia Chorale took the Italian art song “Se non piange un infelice” and brought melodrama into the 21st century.

Ramona Convent is a welcoming Catholic high school for young women committed to educational excellence. Ramona graduates are self-directed, resilient, and socially conscious leaders, well-prepared to meet the challenges of life as contributing members of the global community with the strength of a legacy of more than 130 years of distinction.

Ramona Convent Secondary School, 1701 W. Ramona Rd, Alhambra, CA 91803, (626) 282-4151 or visit