WorlDream was when I realised I was not just participating in a convention - I was part of a community.
... The WorlDream isn't about a song. It's about
community. It's about coming together and sharing our creative
drive and energy to make something bigger than any one of us
The song is just a vehicle. Like a flag, it is
not itself that which it represents.
Thank you for the "WorlDream Project". For all it says and
all it means, but especially for making Donna feel like "a
real person" again. Thank you all for helping to make his
dream come true. I downloaded the mp3 file and having stopped
playing it since. The audio file still gets played *at least*
twice a day, soundcard permitting
I'm still trying to
put into words how I felt at the recording and practise sessions.
You are very special and make powerful music. I'd like to
Lots of people, lots of voices, high emotions...
It was not possible to stand the rehearsal without being
But the recording: goosebumps - shiver - gulp - takeyourbreathaway
- almostaheardattack - feelsogood - feelyetbetter - crylikeababy.
And it was not easy to stay silent for some seconds after
the last note, to get a good ending of the recording - but
Filkers freaking out in joy!
I'm looking foreward to do it again at FilkContinental in
Germany! (And looking foreward to hear the final version on
Even before I had gotten to ConThirteena the crazy
idea behind this WorlDream project moved me immensely. I was
looking forward to the actual thing very much.
I had already heard the song before, as I had downloaded
file. However, this song definitely needs to be sung by a
roomful of people, only then it get's the drive it needs.
I was surprised at how much of a difference it made! Due to
the song being a bit too high for me, I was doing a harmony
version throughout the whole song, which sounded ok.
The rehearsal session was ... ahm ... interesting. Apart
from being thrilled by the sheer emotion overload of the situation,
lots of people doing wonderful harmonies on the spot and Steve
standing on a chair in front of us playing the guitar and
looking overwhelmed (wonder why? I wouldn't manage to sing
a single note if a roomful of people would sing my own song
back at me!!!), I was most fascinated by the timekeeping issue.
Lissa did a sterling job on drums to keep the beat, but what
will happen at a con where you don't have a drumkit or a percussionist
person loud and insistent enough to "stop the masses" from
getting carried away? This is a thing likely to happen with
this song, as it just sort of "carries" you. I am not entirely
convinced that the mixdown of the different convention parts
into one song will go smoothly, but of course I dearly hope
that it works out (Well - I'm not an engineer, maybe there
are ways to balance the speed, unnoticed). However, I feel
that it should be made very clear before every recording session
that people should not necessarily listen to Steve's guitar
playing but to the drummer / percussionist. I am not convinced
that it works better if Steve uses the timing track himself
- I think it's too hard not to get influenced by the enthusiastic
atmosphere with, say, 60+ people in a room singing this song
from the bottom of their hearts ... - but that's just my feeling,
maybe I'm wrong.
The recording was yet again different. The atmosphere was
much more tense, but in a positive way. You can always "feel"
the excitement of the singers when doing a recording (which,
in my opinion, is a good thing, it gives the voices a little
extra "kick"), and this came together with the spirit of the
song, "being one voice", "belonging together" - it was just
fabulous. Chris Conway did some really good improvisation
on tin whistle - wow (or "groovy", as Uncle Chris would say)!!!
In the end, it was very hard not to break into immediate cheering
and applause but to wait a few seconds so that the tape could
be switched off.
Overall I can say that DOING these recording sessions creates
so much togetherness that the project has definitely fulfilled
its purpose, no matter how the final product will sound.
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. _____________________________________________________
'A Phouka Walks Into A Bar' is a non-commercial humor column,
written and distributed for entertainment purposes only. If
you feel that you have been added to this list in error, please
email Seanan McGuire at firstname.lastname@example.org. The contents
of this column are (c) Seanan McGuire, 2001, and may not be
forwarded or distributed in any form without this notice.
Where's my iguana?
For me, it's as much the singing as the song.
Yes, the words help, but it's the whole shared experience
Blown away once again by the harmonies and
focus of the crowd, as well as the enthusiasm and sincerity
of SteveMac. Not many more to go now, Steve!
I love this song! Ithink the lyrics and tune
are lovely and was telling someone at HarmUni that I feel
myself privileged to have joined this comunity at a time when
something so monumental is happening. We've (me, Emily, and
Dad sort of) been here only since February but I already feel
closer to many members of the filk comunity then some of my
family (that might be since they live in Ireland). Before
I start freaking people by calling them my aunts and uncles,
I want to say...oh i think I've already said it!
When it was first announced, with just the words,
it (the WorlDream) didn't do anything for me. When
I heard smac's rendition on his own it was better, but nothing
special. Singing it in the massed group, however, is the thing
which is special. Much the same I find is true for Sam's Song
or Brenda's Strangers No More. It's the singing of it which
makes it special.
The wonderful part of the Worldream is, for
me, the feeling of commmunity and connection to others we
may never meet. For us filking a song is a collaborative thing
which reinforces that community feeling.
This is one of the most amazing experiences
I've ever had. I'm truly honored, proud and humbled by my
participation in it. The last time I remember feeling this good about being part of something was when I joined
hands in Dayton, Ohio as part of Hands Across America. The
song captures everything I feel about being part of fandom,
not just part of filking. Just thinking about it is raising
goosebumps and bringing tears. Thank you for letting
me share in this dream!
Heavens, I really lost my grip on reality during
FilkContinental. I just wanted to thank you again for this
great idea of the WorlDream projekt. I felt that we really
are what we have sung so deeply from the heart - one heart,
one voice. Thank you.
A few random recollections....
Lots of sets, and Franklin doing his inimitable
Master of Ceremonies act to string them all together.
Taunya and Paul performing "Diamonds and Rust"
and "My Jalapeno Man", and the Danger-ettes giving Danger
Man Paul backing (Whooo!) as a set finale.
Valerie singing her song "Flying Free" based
on "Requiem" by Robert Heinlein, to the tune of "Sam's Song".
The only song that made me cry this year...
The WorlDream rehearsal and recording sessions.
Wow! Gets my hair standing on end just thinking about it.
The harmony workshop. "Promise" felt to me like
an over-ambitious choice when the nMC were working on it,
but it seemed to come together well in the end. I guess the
recordings will be the final arbiter, but it was fun to try
World Dream... Yes, that was something else
I wanted to thank you for. When I first learned about it,
I thought "Nice idea, the guy's nuts." When I heard the song
for the first time, sung by Katy on the camp fire at FilkyDays
I thought, "Nice idea, but he should have written something
else, something less... sentimental". So when the song was
rehearsed, I missed out all of the rehearsals, being snobbish
and saying things like "Well I've never had trouble learning
a song and after all, it's all so sentimental, and we've got
our own spot to rehearse...". But then I attended the recording
(never leave out a chance to get mentioned on a CD-cover!),
and for the first time I heard the song as it was meant to
be sung, by thousands of voices, and yes, and was sentimental,
and yes, it was beautiful, and again, I almost started crying.
Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for sharing
your dream with us. Hope to see you again in 2003... Or meanwhile,
(the left-handed half of Lord Landless)
I think it was a really great idea. It has given me very much. I never thought that there are so many filkers out there! Never thought about anything outside my country or Europe. You have made me curious about it. The dream is about community, and it is not only a dream, it is true! I am very sad I missed the recording. That would have been the opportunity to sing together with people I have not yet met. Shareing something. Even if the others are so far away. But I am happy that I tasted the spirit of WorlDream at the practice session. A thousand thanks for that!
You know you will have to do it again? (grin)