Friday, January 22, 2010

Going Forward

January 2/4 done! Moving forward with plans for a more inclusive music group in an attempt to re-energize the current participants and encourage new members. The plans we are considering are to include anyone who plays ~ ever played ~ might like to play ~ an organ, piano or keyboard. The age limitation would 50+ since younger people are probably working (or looking for work). Ron Kalloch, a current member of Lowrey LIFE and the Starbird Performance for Friends, is doing a lot of the leg and head work. WE WELCOME SUGGESTIONS AND COMMENTS.

I didn't attend class this week. Had an off day healthwise so stayed home until lunch time then met friends for a bowl of chicken soup. Today I know something is a bit off color, but I will deal with it. I was going to the station to begin my new program "LET'S DO BROADWAY", but David Patterson, my co-host and station owner called to say the snow cascaded off his metal roof and blocked access to the station. It's a beautiful day, snow on the ground about ten inches, but sun is shining and temperature according to the patio thermometer is about 40. I suppose we could call it a January Thaw.

I was interrupted with a call from my friend John in Michigan. He was giving me the "skinny" on the new Lowrey Imperial organ. It will not be ready for public roll-out until April, and it will be another limited edition. Sounds like it's a wonderful organ, but frankly, I am not in the market. What would I do with 24 more new rhythms, and numerous new organ sounds. Dennis Awe did the new intro and ending arrangements and apparently there are several more to choose from. HOW ABOUT NEW FILLS? I don't know, but I bet they are there. Anyway, a startling new feature is that the "bench" is apparently styled like a car seat and the speakers (which must be remote as they are not wired into the organ) are in the back of the seat. John was told it is very neat and sounds are outstanding. Incidentally, one dealer said it was confidential information and he could not talk about it; but another dealer was more than willing to discuss what he could remember as key features, after a brief chance to look at it.

Since I was going to discuss Andrew Lloyd Webber and play his music for my first Braodway program, I will share information on him with you readers.

He was born in England in 1948 of musician parents. He began composing at the age of six, and published his first piece at the age of nine. He has been married three times, and has five children. His second wife was Sarah Brightman whom he cast as the lead in Phantom of the Opera. He was knighted in 1992, and was created a "life peer" in 1997. His wife Madeleine is technically Lady Lloyd-Webber.

I found it interesting that Lloyd Webber wrote two musicals with Bible themes: Jesus Christ Super Star and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. There was an outcry from some Christian churches about "Super Star", but I was not personally offended by the lyrics. I think it reflected more thoughtfulness than blasphemy. There may have very well been people who asked "who do you think you are?" as Jesus went about in his rather common attire doing what was recorded as miracles. And if you don't care for the words, you have to respect the variety of music which makes up the entire production.

I do like Josephs' Dreamcoat. I think it is colorful and exciting and entertaining. I love the words. The story of Joseph and his colorful coat is one of the Bible's most dramatic and understandable. I find it one of the most listenable musicals ever written. I personally never tire of its humorous quilt of styles such as Calypso and country. If you have not listened to Dreamcoat you have missed a gem.

In some works, Lloyd Webber collaborated with Tim Rice. EVITA was one such production. Probably the most recognized piece from that musical is "Don't Cry For Me Argentina." Pattie Lupone played Evita in the first Broadway presentation. She won a Tony for it. Evita ran for ten years in the West End before transferring to Broadway in 1979.

Rice and Lloyd Webber parted ways. LW embarked on a new project with T.S. Eliot's poetry to write what was to become the longest running show on Broadway - 18 years!
(That record was broken by Phantom.) He wrote "Starlight Express" has done tours in the US, and will has transferred to New Zealand. It has also run for 21 in a permanent custom-built theatre in German .

This does not by any means speak to all of his compositions. He is a talented diverse musical genius who has written numerous religious pieces, a Requiem to his father, and a lesser know Broadway piece, "Aspects of Love." He was diagnosed with prostate
cancer and recent good news is that he is in recovery after surgery.

"Come on along and listen to, The Lullaby of Broadway,
The hiphooray and ballyhoo, the Lullaby of Broadway.

Keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing.


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