Musings on Singing HURRY IT’S LOVELY UP HERE
Posted February 6, 2016on:
There’s always danger in singing a song just because you love it. That general “I love it,” feeling is an ingredient in a “deadly” performance as Peter Brook would describe it in his book THE EMPTY SPACE.
It’s not enough just to love a song. Why do you love it and why does that matter? Why is the song important TODAY, right now? Those things must be in what compels you to sing it. If you can’t answer those questions before the first note of the intro begins, then put it down.
But sometimes, too, one must be “deadly” in order to become alive. What I’m saying is that maybe just singing it for the love must be a step in the process for being able to convey and share it with lively meaning (to both myself and the audience).
Admittedly, I absolutely LOVE the song, HURRY IT’S LOVELY UP HERE. I love the musical it comes from (ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER), the flowers themselves, the magic of making flowers grow just by communicating with them. It’s a song of Springtime for anytime of year. It is full love joy, zest, and focused passion.
I wanted to sing this song for kids so much that I studied the song and the various versions of the song and chose the verses that would work best for an audience of kids. The movie, for example, has a different combination of verses than the staged musical, and there are extra verses that show up in recordings all of which creates a kind of menu of verses you can choose from. I took my chosen combination and worked with my friend Paul Raiman of MyRehearsalPianist, to create an instrumental recording of an arrangement to sing it with that worked best for me (tempo, key, lyrics).
Finally, I made a book for the song using the clip art that used to come with Microsoft Products. Incidentally, Microsoft cold hardheartedly took all the WMF clip art out of their programs. HURRY IT’S LOVELY UP HERE is the last book I ever got to make using those wonderful vector pictures (picture files that one could pull apart, change, combine and group back together to create more and other illustrations).
Pouring so much heart, soul and effort into this, I felt great about the end result.
Then came my chance to sing it for the kids. In all honesty, it felt deadly. It didn’t reach them. I began to over emphasize my enthusiasm and sing louder. That didn’t work either. One thing you can’t do is FORCE anyone into feeling joy.
I’m not giving up, though. There’s got to be a way IN. The song has gotten better in my latest performances with kids. This is where I begin to think that sometimes deadliness is part of the process. If you don’t make mistakes with something or if you don’t keep going just because it doesn’t work the first time or two, you can never drill into the heart of it.
And the song as a metaphor for performing it is dawning on me. The character is singing to the seeds hidden in the ground, coaxing them to germinate and grow. Isn’t that exactly what I’m trying to do with this song? I’m singing and hoping, pleading, cajoling, nurturing and loving it into the light. I’ve just got to keep trying, cultivating.
It also occurred to me that the kids there in the rows before me are just like the seeds in the ground and the words of the song express a goal of education. Coaxing these seeds to sprout and grow, mature and realize their potential, disinter their minds from the dark ground and come into the light of knowledge to make the world a more beautiful place.
These descriptions might be strained here, goofy even. But dang it all. I still LOVE this song AND I think it stands for something, that it has ideas that matter, right here, right now and in the future, too.
HOW TO SING A SONG/TELL ME A STORY, SING ME A SONG
The Art and Craft of Singing a Song
HOW TO SING A SONG FOR PERFORMANCE OR JUST FOR FUN
GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK
Singable Picture Books of the Great American Songbook and Michael Feinstein’s Foundation for the Preservation of the Great American Songbook
A list of songs to inspire us to look around us in a garden and enjoy, observe, appreciate and preserve the natural world around us
GIRL SCOUT MUSICIAN BADGE 1
MUSICIAN BADGE with Mrs. G, Meeting Activities, for Girl Scout Juniors Troop 2740
Including: How to Sing a Song for Performance or Just for Fun, 400 Years of Songs, and Singable Hike in Washington, DC
GIRL SCOUT MUSICIAN BADGE 2
Using TWINKLE LITTLE STAR to Earn Girl Scout Performer Badge
Including: How to Sing a Song for Performance or Just for Fun, Many Songs/One Twinkly Tune, Entrance/Comportment/Microphone Technique and Song Performance Worksheet for Kids
Musings on Singing HURRY IT’S LOVELY UP HERE