A Is For Anything (Day 68)

A Is For Anything logoSpeaking of youth… Well, I have been speaking of youth in my last few posts, here and here

For the next few days, I’d like to share songs from A Is For Anything, a musical I wrote for young audiences in 1988. At age 33, I was still fairly young, and absolutely a beginner when it came to fatherhood. This project was commissioned by the Delaware Institute for the Arts in Education, and it came along just when I needed it: I was a full-time freelancer at that time, in between academic gigs and relying on my talent and my resourcefulness to scare up my share of our family’s income.

Why not begin with A?
Many things start that way,
Like “anything.”
A is for Anything!
Anna begins with A,
Ends the exact same way.
How interesting!
Anna begins our play.

A is for Anything.
There would be no art without “A” to start.
A is for Audience,
Sitting in a row, waiting for the show.
A is for Actor, too.
We need “A” to act, it’s a well-known fact.
A is for Anything!

Alphabet starts with A.
That’s how you get to B
(Or not to be!)
B is a good beginning!
Be that as it may,
Soon you can get to C. (Si, si!)
See in a brand new way,
A funny way!
Wouldn’t that be OK?
We can begin today!

A is for Anything.
If there was no “A,” there would be no play.
A is for Africa,
We can go by air for adventure there.
A can be Anywhere,
It’s a great surprise, right before your eyes.
A is for Anything!

So I’m sitting here smiling as I’m typing out these words, thinking to myself, dang it, this is as cute as pigs! Really, I don’t mean to be immodest, but this lyric, and this composition, tickles me and pleases me so much that I feel self-conscious saying so. I love the idea of this musical, which is about the power of the imagination, the ability that we all have to make something out of nothing, to make shit up. That’s what I did in 1988, when I was broke and freaked out about being a husband and a dad and a breadwinner – I made some shit up, and it was delightful. It delighted a lot of people – I watched it happen – and it continues to delight me today.

This opening number doesn’t do much in terms of storytelling, apart from a little foreshadowing: we are told that the play will be about Anna, who will have an adventure, and learn to see, but these are just words at this point. Mostly, this number convinces us that we are in the company of three charming performers who are going to beguile us with a zany, energetic spectacle in the coming minutes.

The music was made in the studio of R. J. Miles, a Wilmington audio engineer who initiated me into the magic of Performer, a sequencer program for the Macintosh platform. It wasn’t long before I acquired the gear and the knowledge I needed to do this stuff at home, but for this project, I was fortunate to have an engineer to handle the digital tools while I made the music. The drum tracks were all created as patterns in an Alesis drum machine that R. J. let me take home and tinker with. Considering the highly mechanical way the music was created, I’m astonished by how much life it has!

One thought on “A Is For Anything (Day 68)

  1. Pingback: What Is The Matter With Me, from A is for Anything (Day 69) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

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