Thursday, November 27, 2008

"Steve, Can We Sing Songs From 'New World Waking'?"

Q: Can I sing songs from "New World Waking" and do I need an orchestra and 200 voice chorus in order to do so?
A: Yes, you can sing these songs. They were written so that people could sing them. No, you don't need a chorus and orchestra. The songs are very simple and can be sung solo or by smaller groups, and they sound just fine with only a piano or guitar accompaniment.
Q: How do I get copies?
A: The SF Gay Men's Chorus intends to have the live recording ready by Christmas, believe it or not. They will make a recording that night, and then mix it, master it and package it in time for the holidays. How's THAT for instant gratification?
Q: But what about sheet music? Where do I get that?
A: After we have the recording and Kathleen has finalized all the score, we will submit it for publishing so that it can be available to high schools, universities, church choirs and civic choruses. If we don't find a publisher interested, then I'll hit the Xerox machine and make copies myself. 

And that goes for people who just want individual pieces of sheet music. I've written out basic piano/vocal charts for each of the songs. And I've recorded demos of all the songs for people who can't read music. 
Q: Are they difficult to learn? Do I have to have an opera voice?
A: Don't let the symphony hall fool you. These are folk songs at heart, meaning songs intended to be sung by folks. Some of them sound better when sung by a rich, trained voice. Some sound best when sung very simply. For some, you might need some rock and roll chops. For others, some Gospel or jazz chops. But, for me, as long as you sing each song with meaning and heart, you can't go wrong. 
I've always loved simplicity.
Q: Do I/we have to sing the whole thing?
A: Nope. Each song stands on its own and tells its own unique story. New World Waking is like a collage or, as I was describing to someone else, an art gallery, where each painting stands on its own, but, collectively forms a larger statement. NWW is not a narrative, and yet, somehow, each of the songs relates to the other, and by the end, if it works, the listener will be carried along by a flow of emotions that will, hopefully, at its best, help them understand the effects of violence, and encourage them to become a part of the solution.
I hope someday you'll join us.
Frankly, though, I'd be just as happy if the listener just enjoys the singing and the music. For all the "messages" that might be in the piece, we've also packed in some great entertainment. 

So, one way or the other, whether we find a publisher or not, I'm going to be performing the songs myself wherever I'm invited to do so, and I want other people to perform them too. 

A song means nothing if it's just sitting on a piece of paper gathering dust.

Stay tuned and as soon as I know what the plan is, I'll let you know. 

Meanwhile, have a great Thanksgiving.

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