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  1. Moderate difficulty and modest ranges for all vocal parts. There are a few notes of divisi for every part but the tenors. I'd love to hear what you think, and pianists, let me know if the piano reduction would be better with any notes moved to the other hand. (I'm not a pianist). Thanks for your thoughts! The text follows the lifecycle of the bumble bee. Unlike domesticated honey bees, out of the whole colony, only new bumble bee queens survive the winter each year. Each new pregnant queen must carefully select a nest site after emerging for winter dormancy and start a colony all alone. For the first few weeks of spring, she must divide her time between laying eggs, gathering and preparing nectar and pollen, and warming and caring for her new offspring. If her nest site proves to be too far from a continual succession of blooms while the weather is still cool, her babies will succumb to the cold while she is away from the nest gathering food for them. Until the first generation of workers are old enough to take over some of the tasks of caring for the group, allowing for grocery trips further from home, and warm temperatures and the flood of summer flowers makes comfort and food supplies more sure, her nest's survival is tenuous. But if all goes well, by the time summer wanes, hundreds of her children will be busy among the blooms, and her own new queens will be preparing to disperse and carry on the cycle the next year. It's also important to remember that although we may see hundreds of bumble bees out in the garden, genetically speaking, each nest counts as one individual. One reproducing queen: one set of genes being passed down. All those workers don't generally count. So when you are thinking about the survival of a bumble bee species, you need not just lots of bumble bees, but lots of bumble bee nests in an area in order to have the genetic diversity that allows the population to continue in a healthy way. Too few nests, each headed by a single reproducing queen, and even though you see tons of bees on the landscape, they may be in danger of slow local extinction from inbreeding. You can help! A mowed lawn, a sea of mulched flower bed, or a paved parking area is not bee habitat. None of these provide nesting sites or food. Bumble bees need drifts of fallen leaves to hide their nests under in summer, and for the queens to pass the winter under. So don't rake at least part of your yard, or compost your leaves in a big pile on site. Thick clumps of long grasses are also popular nesting sites. If you could hide a rabbit in it, it's probably thick and clumpy enough. Cohabitating with chipmunks in their holes is also popular, so tolerate those cute little guys in your yard. And be sure to have plenty of native flowering plants in your yard. Our local bees evolved with our local plants. Often plants from other continents don't have the right flower shape for them to access, bloom at the wrong time, or don't provide the right nutrition they need to thrive. Humans mess around with breeding flowers for color and size so much, that often we end up breeding flowers that actually contain no nectar or pollen. Oops! No food there at all!
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