Happy or Sad World was composed in 2009 as part of a commission for Frontier Academy charter school in Greeley, Colorado. The school's music teacher worked with the English teacher to have students in 3rd through 5th grades write poetry on a number of themes. I then chose four of the best poems to set to music. The words to Happy or Sad World were written by Orrin Marcy.
Happy or Sad World is a simple, melancholy song with the occasional bright splash of hope in the piano harmony. The two vocal parts act nearly as a round and have the same tessitura.