A Phouka Walks Into A Bar:
Steve Macdonald Wrote A Song...
* * *
...G Am D.
A few of you may have noticed last week that I mentioned
Steve Macdonald's 'World Dream' project*, said that I would
talk more about it later, and then proceeded not to mention
it again for the duration of the column. Maybe you thought
I had forgotten, or just hadn't proofread correctly. Well,
if you thought that, you were wrong. It just wasn't later
It's later now.
(*Sorry, _still_ refusing to spell it 'WorlDream'. It brings
ElfQuest memories of the whole 'WaveDancers' fiasco, and I
better things to do with my time. Like bleed from the eyeballs.)
For those of you that aren't hugely involved with the filk
yes, Lars, I realize that's most of my readers, I promise
to return to the
world of 'things that aren't filk' next week), the 'World
is the brainchild of Steve Macdonald, a filker from the Midwest
frankly has too much energy for the amount of time included
in a standard
day. As a consequence, while the rest of us must be content
simple twenty-four hour day, Steve is actually running on
_thirty-two hour days_, hand-manufactured by the evil gnomes
Well, no, actually, that's not really true. But it sounds
World Dream is basically the filker's equivalent of 'We Are
World'. The same song is being recorded at every single filk
which takes place during the year 2001 (and that's a _lot_
conventions). Once all the tapes have been made, they're going
combined by some poor, long-suffering soundman who will probably
cursing the day he discovered filk music. At the end, we'll
have a single
CD -- a CD which includes the song 'Many Hearts, One Voice',
as sung by
pretty much every filker to attend any one of those conventions.
One song. Several hundred singers. Sounds ambitious, doesn't
it? At the
very least, it sounds insane.
To ensure that this Herculean* project would actually be completed,
has committed himself to attending every single filk con to
2001. Oh, the sacrifice. Poor, poor Steve. I attend half those
conventions in a given year without having the excuse of a
project. I just admit that I'm crazy and move on.
(*Today's fifty-dollar word!)
But anyway, inspired by that extra time in his thirty-two
hour day, Steve
wrote a song, spoke to the various convention committees,
got to the point where his World Dream could become a reality.
children, is where today's story begins.
Following the Friday night concerts at Consonance (see the
3/5/01, 'Conventional Thinking), I was handed a large stack
sheets and asked to pass them out. Oooooooo-kay. Snagging
myself, I began waylaying innocent bystanders and thrusting
their hands, assuming that I would eventually be told what
on. I'm a trusting sort, aren't I?
The lyric sheets were pretty nice, too, topped with a lovely
I would later find out had been designed by our very own Beckett
Gladney. The filking community has long since adopted the
our emblem and flower of choice. Well, Beckett had managed
to fill an
entire nighttime sky with dandelions, as well as turning the
into a very, very large dandelion. Pity the person whose lawn
scattered with _those_ dandelion seeds. No amount of roto-rooting
going to save them.
In any case, it was pretty. Too pretty. It lulled me into
a false sense
of security. As a result, I stayed in the room.
Steve Macdonald took the stage after half the people in the
room had lyric
sheets of their very own, and informed us that it was time
to rehearse for
World Dream. Okay. I could handle that. Under normal circumstances,
could even have been excited by it.
Unfortunately, I was still recovering from pneumonia. As a
normal voice -- a fairly steady soprano -- had been replaced
intriguing alto squeak which became raspy and unpleasant on
middle C. Lucky me. I seem to have this amazing talent for
right before conventions that I want to sing at. So far, the
convention that hasn't been affected is OVFF (the Ohio Valley
Festival): I'm fairly sure that my immune system just hasn't
yet. The concept of rehearsing didn't really appeal to me,
I wasn't sure my throat would hold out.
I tried to sneak quietly out of the room. I really did. Have
tried to sneak quietly when clutching a large stack of lyric
being hailed from all sides? I'll give you a hint -- don't
bother. You're not going to succeed. You will, however, wind
attending the rehearsal, smiling wanly and trying to coax
wounded throat into uttering something above an angry squeak.
In accordance with Murphy's Law (Murphy loves me!), the World
turned out to be written in a nice, high key -- the sort of
thing that I
would normally really enjoy singing. The sort of thing, in
fact, that I
had to concentrate to sing anything other than soprano on.
Can you guess
what came next? Yes, exactly. I would start in a nice, alto
concentrating on actually singing the lyrics correctly, rather
singing them _low_, and would automatically jump into a soprano
register. End result: every time I opened my mouth, I sounded
chipmunk on downers.
We rehearsed for about twenty minutes, then moved next door
ballroom for the actual recording. Those who played guitar
-- or, in some
cases, mandolin -- moved to the front of the room, ready to
home-made chaos. Callie Hills of Echo's Children (a wonderful
duo) was also there, flute in hand, ready to play.
Now. The World Dream song was purposefully written to be simple,
learn, sing and play. And I am bearing this in mind as I say
is a Flute Goddess. With twenty minutes of rehearsal -- which
enough for some of the singers to figure out the tune, much
less some of
the instrumentalists -- she had managed to come up with a
that sounded like it had been polished for months. Yes, the
simple. Y'know what? I don't care. I hereby nominate Callie
deity-hood -- and if anyone wants to argue, I'll just point
them to the
recordings from the World Dream.
Filkers spread out through the ballroom, automatically seeking
far from the microphones as possible. Steve gently nudged
us all closer
to the recording equipment, despite the fact that most of
us were looking
at the sound system the way my grandmother looks at poisonous
was sort of a case of 'immovable object meets unstoppable
was trying to move a whole lot of people who didn't really
want to be
moved. Personally, I would have put my money on the crowd.
It's a good thing I'm not a betting sort of person. Steve
to not only move everyone in that room, he moved us _twice_,
managed to make us all hold totally silent-and-still for a
while the sound levels on the room were checked and verified.
man is eventually going to overthrow the world's government,
doubt, or the World Dream song is actually a complex mind-control
aimed at the filking community. I'm leaning towards the latter.
Once we had all been settled into place with the flair and
elan of Martha
Stewart laying out a formal dinner ('...and just to give the
cultured air, a centerpiece of live filkers!...'), it was
time for us to
All around the room, harmony broke out like some sort of plague.
exceedingly neat to watch -- although I'm sure I would have
more if I hadn't been concentrating so hard to make sure that
actually staying in the same key for more than thirty seconds
time. I'm normally pretty good about that sort of thing: starting
lessons at the age of four will do that to a person. Of course,
my voice isn't trying to buck me off like some sort of rodeo
I suppose it was inevitable that my voice would win. About
the way through the second rendition of the song (this time
_feeling_!), everything gave out completely. I made an interesting
squeaking noise, and stopped singing. That seemed like my
since the alternative was to continue making that exciting
new noise and
probably get lynched when this forced us to sing the song
a third time.
After that, it was off to the con suite for hot tea and grousing.
was there, I managed to find a mandolin and completely mangle
the Tam Lin
Talking Blues, but that's neither here nor there.
Oddly enough, despite the remarkable damage that I managed
to do to my
throat (I'll be abasing myself before my voice teacher for
future), I'm really glad that I did it. If only because in
ten years, no
one's going to believe any of this actually happened. There's
becoming part of an urban legend. At the very least, it can
Now if you'll pardon me, I need to go get some throat lozenges.
some hot tea with honey. And a new throat...
What does this button do?
Seanan McGuire. 3/12/01. _____________________________________________________
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Where's my iguana?