The Editor Sez

By Jean Metcalfe

Another year has been folded up and put away, but many of the memories will linger for years, perhaps even for a lifetime. And it's almost certain that music will have played an important role in those memories. Birthday and other parties, wedding anniversaries, proms, graduations, movies and television programs, festivals, benefits and political rallies and conventions all would have been incomplete without music.

As I sat in the balcony of Purdue University's Edward C. Elliott Hall of Music for my eldest son's graduation on December 20, I was enthralled by the booming sounds that organist Sallie Crawford extracted from the pipe organ as she played selections from Vierne and Bach. Not to mention Marches 1 and 4 from Elgar's Pomp and Circumstances for the processional. Only an hour or so earlier during the automobile ride north I had enjoyed singing along with Lyle Lovett and his Large Band on "Church" and "She's Leaving Me Because She Really Wants To."

As we awaited the culmination of the graduation exercises a distant glimpse of our son receiving his diploma we were stirred by The Lafayette Symphony Orchestra's rendition of "The Impossible Dream" and were moved by The University Choir's interpretation of "For the Beauty of the Earth" and "Glorious Everlasting." Following the shifting of the tassels, we sang along to "Hail Purdue" and were stilled by the Choir's choral response to the benediction before filing out to the "University Grand March" by the Orchestra.

Later, I couldn't help pondering the variety of music I had experienced in the space of one week.

From the graduation exercises, my thoughts returned to the previous day when a talented 25-member choir from Eastern High School cost me several precious minutes of Christmas shopping as I stopped to enjoy their lovely version of "Away in a Manager." Their stage was the cramped area immediately in front of a jewelry counter at a popular mall department store.

I recalled the warm feeling I experienced at the sight of a man and his two young children bounding down the store's escalator, happily singing their own arrangement of a popular Christmas song. And I remembered my husband's heartfelt a cappella version of "We Three Kings of Orient Are" as he strung Christmas lights on our Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

Earlier in the month Christmas carols were sung barbershop style by the Harmony Highlights quartet – in icy, traffic-crippling weather at the entrance to the subdivision where the Dream Factory's Dream House was located. (Proceeds from tours of the house would help The Dream Factory makes wishes come true for terminally ill children.) A few days later I would be trying out the CD of Songs You Know By Heart: Jimmy Buffet!' s Greatest Hit(s) given to me by my super mother-in-law. We cranked it up on the way home from her Christmas Eve celebration and sang along (twice through) on "Margaritaville."

Just a few days earlier 'my husband and I were chuckling and shaking our heads at "My Big Fat Girlfriend" and savoring "Two Steps from the Blues" as sung by the Duck Butter Blues Band at Jim Porter's. Several days later I checked out a local songwriter's new album in my car on the way home from a songwriters' meeting where amixture of originals (from country to vampire) had been offered for critique. Meanwhile, back at the office, the staff listened to an advance copy of The Kentucky HeadHunters' newest album their first with their two newest band members which is titled Rave 0n!! Right on!

A couple of days hence, with absolute deadline just a few hours away, the publishers fine-tuned this issue while listening to Sunday Bluegrass on WFPL, emceed by our intrepid columnist Berk Bryant. The version of "Take it to the Lord in Prayer" that he played must surely be the most mournful I've ever heard and I liked it.

As New Year's Eve celebrants geared up say goodbye to 1992 and welcome 1993, they could choose from any number of parties, including "The Last Blast!" at The Phoenix Hill Tavern, with such colorful groups as the Velcro Pygmies and Buck Naked providing the music. Or they might decide to head downtown to Theater Square for the Mayor's Midnight Special where hizzoner Jerry Abramson would welcome the new year with music provided by the group Mary Mary.

And that's just the December tip of the local-music iceberg for 1992. The month was, by the way, kicked off by da Mudcats and assorted other blues players wailing at an album release party at Swanson Cralle Gallery celebrating the release of the blues compilation album Santa is a Bluesman.

The year 1993 is sure to have its share of memory-making music as well. Check it Out.

Happy Memorable Musical New Year!