Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On the subject of "Making Music"

Greetings to you. I know it's been a while, but it's been that nutty time of year when I rarely have the time to change my mind, let alone share it with anyone. Today, I find myself with nothing but time as I have been forced to stop and rest. My body is playing some nasty tricks on me, and so I am stuck in bed attempting to escape the pain and get the sleep I have been denied over the nights.

I was going to write about how crappy that feels, but you don't read blogs to hear me bitch, although sometimes I will do that. Just go back one entry.

In the middle all this craziness of my illness came one of the most rewarding moments of my life. To understand fully the context, let's go back a few months.

Most of you know about my love for improv, and how that love has changed me, the way I think, and my desire in life to make others happy. If you have followed this blog, you know the story of how my Improv group began, and that we are going to be doing an original show in September.

In the journey to put together this show, the idea was to create as short form show, with a long form feel. As the show developed, the format took on a new air... a world of romance, introspection and happiness. In examining this world of love in the rehearsal hall, we have discovered that when reality sets in for our scenes, trying for what's in our hearts rather than what's in the comedy books, there is a unique take to the world of love. We saw that it was not about who was right or who was wrong... it was everything in between.

At my favorite improv theatre here in town, the second musical production I had seen at the Historic University Theatre was just wrapping up. The show, called Lovetanic, was improvised musical from start to finish, as was "Lease," another amazing show from the same director. Also, I had just taken Musical Improv and loved the musical aspect.

The one thing that both "Lovetanic" and "Lease" had in common other than one word titles that start with the letter L, was an opening song that was not improvised, but rather written especially for the show.

It was always our intention to have music be a part of our show, but only in the form of an opening act. The Chai House wanted us to take a full two hours, and a two hour improv show, especially with a relatively novice group, would be potentially tedious. So I brought on a wonderful singer named Megan Jergens, whom I had befriended from my karaoke days at Hula Hula. We loved the same kind of songs... ones that spoke honestly about love and what it does to the soul.

Rob, the musical director for Lovetanic and I had also become friends over Sounders soccer. We both show our love for the Rave Green and one day in a conversation on Facebook, I asked him what he thought of the possibility of writing a song for our show. The difference was I wanted to end the show with a song, one that sent home the message of the show.. Much to my happiness, he said yes.

He asked me what I had in mind, and I told him nothing sappy, nothing extremely snappy, but something that would make the audience think and reflect on what they had seen. Little did I know that I was, in essence, asking for a broadway show stopper of sorts.

Rob said he already had some ideas, which made me extremely happy. I told him I would send him some notes. I sat down at the keyboard and started writing ideas. I am not one for poetry. The last poem I had written was probably back in college, song parodies excluded.

For some reason, notes became lyrics and before I knew it, there were a set of lyrics staring me in the face. I sent them to Rob, saying it was just an idea of what I was looking for. I didn't hear from him for a few days, so I thought I had blown it... that he thought I was probably a little pompous - writing lyrics on my own rather than leaving it to the pro.

I could not have been more wrong. "Excellent," he called them. Turns out his e-mail had been not gettng to me as he was replying to Facebook messages on e-mail rather than on Facebook.

Last night, with Megan joining me, we met in a rehearsal hall and I heard, for the first time, the song written for the show. It was breathtaking. It was amazing. It was unlike anything I had imagined. And then I realized, the lyrics were all mine. I had collaborated in writing a song.

My happiness was the first thing to overcome the pain I had been feeling for the past weeks. The accomplished feeling was a most excellent tonic.

So when {girl meets boy} makes its debut, it will finish with an original song by my most talented friend, Rob, with lyrics from your faithful blogger, and sung by my enchanting friend, Megan.

When I returned home and played back the recording on the computer for my wife, I realized what the inspiration was. I had written a song on what love with my love was all about. No wonder it was so easy.

If you are not able to come to the show to hear it in person, I will post it following the show in September.

Well, sadly, I have gone back to feeling a little sick and have to go back to lie down again, but I wanted to share that magical moment with all of you.

Take care of yourselves, and may you find your own magical moment soon.

Yours truly,
Johnny Blogger

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