Starting this week, we are doing things a little differently. Continue to look for our weekly SongNotes every Saturday, however, until the last week of each month they will be more notes less song. On that last week we will release all of the month’s songs in one set. The SongNotes themselves stand alone as – we hope – messages of joy, beauty, and inspiration. By the time we bring you the recordings you will have been primed (warned?) and just dying to hear our songs.
This approach will afford us more flexibility, practicality, and focus as we prepare our weekly offerings to you, so we’re really looking forward to this new rhythm. Hope you like it.
Also, the theme for March is musical theater. We are pretty old school in this regard, so think Lerner/Lowe and Rogers/Hammerstein for now.
Apparently, I get a week off from writing. While I wasn’t looking, Nathan whipped up this hilarious piece of reminiscence and wisdom. Maybe not wisdom, per se, but it’s possible that after reading these stories you will have a renewed sense of grace for your own crazy antics.
“Hopeless Romantic Meets Real Life”
Featuring “On the Street Where You Live” (from My Fair Lady)
—to be released on March 30, 2019— (We will update the blog post at that time. If you want it emailed to you, subscribe here.)
By Nathan Bird
This song is one of my favorites. It has been a go-to song for serenading. It’s been in the back of my head as I prepare romantic dates with Naomi, and I’ve been asked to sing it for sentimental moments. But some songs can get you trouble.
The song, in and of itself, is lovely. Its lilting melody, evocative picture of a young man in love, the blissful tension of young love – it’s great, right? The performance stuck in many of our minds’ eyes is the dapper style and tight vibrato of Eliza Dolittle’s love-struck gent in the 1967 film My Fair Lady. Part of what draws us into the love story of the tenor that doesn’t get the girl is that the professor, poor professor Higgins, is such a jerk. I actually hate the end of the story because obviously Eliza Doolittle should’ve gone with the tenor! I’m a little biased, though.
Part One: College Crooner
Whilst you’re in college and one of two male voice performance majors in the whole school, you’re a freak of nature. People don’t know how to relate to you in a normal way. Random fellow students ask you to sing, especially at night when the moon is high.
While there were many times when I’d sheepishly back away from these informal singing requests, there was one time when I was in a more-extroverted-than-usual form and did acquiesce. “On the Street Where You Live” started flowing out of me. Unfortunately, I forgot to anticipate how the fellow males in our company would respond to this situation. They shrank into the shadows, scoffing that Birdman “actually went there.” While the girls were squealing, I prayed that the night sky would mask the red in my face.
Two things I learned that day:
1. Saying no is ok.
2. It’s a good idea think before you speak OR sing.
Part Two: Luncheons and Language
I was asked to sing for a luncheon for some donors at my Christian college. I decided to sing this song, but I thought I’d dig a little deeper than the usual and do the verse beforehand. “When she mentioned how her aunt bit off the spoon, she completely done me in…” I saw faces begin to turn red. If they didn’t understand the context of the musical, this was a very strange start to a song.
The tension does not resolve.
“And I never saw a more enchanting farce, than the moment when she shouted…” Remember lesson number 2 from above? This would have been a good application. In the mind of anyone familiar with the film was the anticipation of the snarky line from Eliza Doolittle. Overcome with excitement at the horserace, she forgets her new proper lady-like behavior and screams “MOVE YAR BLOOMIN’ ARSE.”
Three things I learned that day:
1. Context is everything.
2. Not everyone has seen or appreciates My Fair Lady.
3. Don’t sing songs with foul language – implied or otherwise – for donors at your conservative Christian establishment.
Part Three: Roses and Roads
By my senior year in college I was quite enamored with this Naomi girl and had decided to surprise her with a rose at her bus stop on Valentine’s Day. This song never came out of me that day, but it was the soundtrack in my head. The reason was that I was going to be on the street where she lived.
Nine things I learned that day:
- Some shops don’t sell single roses, so you can buy a dozen and choose the best one, so it’s ok.
- As you are trying to figure out how to surprise your girlfriend with a flower en route to her bus stop, walking back and forth on her street, you really really look suspicious, but you’re holding a rose, so it’s not weird at all.
- Sometimes your timing is off and said girl gets on said bus before you can intercept them with said thorny growing smelly thing.
- Sometimes you decide to chase buses downtown in traffic and it stresses you out.
- Sometimes you learn that you’re not supposed to drive where buses go during rush hour traffic.
- Sometimes you get to your target’s school and realize that you can see where the buses are dropping people off, but you can’t get down to where she is and you start driving in places where you’re not supposed to go and you have to back out of them and you start to hate 1960’s college campus design architects.
- Sometimes you decide to abort romantic missions and get choked up.
- Sometimes your failed attempts at romancing make you late to sight-singing classes.
- If you get to school with 11 extra roses on Valentine’s Day, your female classmates won’t hate getting one from you, but don’t tell them it was extra.
So, you see, to us this is more than just a pretty song. It’s an anthem for hopeless romantics everywhere. Sometimes it’s ok to feel silly. Sometimes it’s darling to be dramatic. Sometimes it’s better to think ahead, but even if you don’t, life goes on, nobody dies, and maybe you’ll even render some heart healthy laughs…eventually.
“On The Street Where You Live” from My Fair Lady
Words by Frederick Lowe, Music by Alan Jay Lerner
I have often walked down this street before;
But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before.
All at once am I several stories high,
Knowing I’m on the street where you live.
Are there lilac trees in the heart of town?
Can you hear a lark in any other part of town?
Does enchantment pour out of every door?
No, it’s just on the street where you live.
And oh, the towering feeling
Just to know somehow you are near!
The overpowering feeling
That any second you may suddenly appear!
People stop and stare. They don’t bother me,
For there’s nowhere else on earth that I would rather be.
Let the time go by, I won’t care if I
Can be here on the street where you live!