We decided this song deserved its own page as it has such a huge history and record of success. “White Water Chopped Sticks” (WWCS) is the piano composition that has won more pageants for its performer than any other in history, we bet you! Before Teresa Scanlan’s major coup at the Miss America 2011 pageant, it had been gaining a loyal underground following for many years. A favorite at recitals, talent shows and when anyone just wanted to have some fun and show-off, once performed, those who heard it had to find it, and they did – which brings us back to how it found its way into the Miss America 2011 pageant… ” Here’s some of the performances of WWCS that we’ve found on Youtube.
“White Water Chopped Sticks” was first recorded in 1987 for Calvin’s album Through High Places. Conventional wisdom at the time was that no one would purchase an album with such a big, flashy song. Most piano albums were either classical, jazz or new age with the latter being the biggest selling genre featuring piano music with which you could fall asleep. In spite of this, Calvin stubbornly refused to take WWCS off the album. Teresa’s piano teacher Robin Brenning had heard Calvin’s piano music years earlier on a radio station and had purchased “Whitewater Chopped Sticks” from a local music store. Teresa was one of two that was given WWCS by her teacher. She won her local pageant at 13 with the song and continued using it eventually becoming Miss Nebraska in 2010.
It was then that Calvin got the call. A law firm in Los Angeles that was clearing music for the Miss America pageant phoned Calvin requesting permission to perform the song on ABC TV. Calvin asked who was performing it and soon after Teresa and Calvin connected. Teresa and her father came one afternoon on November and Calvin mentored her in the song and edited it to the 90 seconds she needed for the Miss America competition. Calvin told her to go home and practice. For the next 6 weeks she did just that. And the upset was huge… No one had ever won the Miss America crown from Nebraska. No one had won the crown at 17 years old in over 90 years. It wasn’t supposed to happen. But it did. By God’s grace and favor, it did.
Now it is used by so many to win pageants that many contestants are running into the problem of others planning to perform WWCS at the same competition! So Calvin has been working with those to compose custom songs that will be theirs to use throughout the pageant process. Creating big, bold, flashy, dynamic songs like WWCS is one of Calvin’s talents. So if you are here because you are interested in performing WWCS in public there are a few things you need to know.
First, the song is copyrighted and as such, needs Calvin’s authorization to perform it in public. Please contact him if you are interested in this and he will be glad to speak with you about this and issue you a license. Calvin offers a sliding scale that includes mentorship and help performing WWCS. Many people have contacted Calvin and have done this the right way. There have also been many who have performed this publicly without Calvin’s permission and without purchasing the rights to do this. Some have even won without crediting Calvin. And believe it or not, some have even performed and won with a photocopied version of Calvin’s sheet music without ever purchasing their own! Winning thousands of dollars in scholarships, public appearances etc. using WWCS and paying Calvin nothing for his work or giving him credit is very telling. It tells me there are some heart and character issues that need working on here in valuing and crediting the work of others in your successes.
Second, as there are often several who wish to perform the song, someone has to authorize and decide just who should get to perform it and that logically belongs to the person who created the song in the first place. Thus if you decide you want to perform this without getting Calvin’s permission you could be in for a big disappointment as someone else may have gotten the permission to perform it at your pageant and you may have to begin again learning some other song. So do yourself a favor and grab the music from our site today! Then if you think you have what it takes to perform WWCS in public contact Calvin and let’s see!
Quick links to WWCS at Calvin’s store: White Water Chopped Sticks sheet music