Please donate to Eden in Babylon.
Even after the Good Cop Bad Cop maneuver, only six out of twelve showed up on Friday’s rehearsal. That, on top of other factors, has caused me and Dave to make the decision cited in the email below:
We have come to the difficult decision to postpone our reading of Eden in Babylon. After a couple of weeks of cast fluctuations, some difficulty with scheduling and a hard look at our current workloads and available resources, it makes sense for us to step back to reduce the stress and to be sure to give this piece the attention it deserves. The hiatus will give us an opportunity to find additional collaborators to help us with logistics. And it will give Andy time to finish up the scoring and materials to help teach and learn the music most effectively.
At this point we don’t have a new target date for the reading. We’ll let you know as we know more. You’ll all be on our list when we get ready to put together a cast in the future.
Thank you all for the work you’ve done. We truly appreciate it. We will keep in touch as we look for the right time to do this show.
Dave and Andy
The wording is Dave’s after a lengthy discussion, and he and I are in agreement. Not only will this give me two months distance from a situation in which my overloaded, all-over-the-map semblance was promoting a loose and chaotic atmosphere, but it will clearly communicate to the Kids who have been screwing around that we mean business with this thing, and they can’t just take my kindness for weakness. A lot of the Street Kids were like that, too. They saw me as a pushover, and that shit’s gotta stop. The ones who are good know who they are. Their loyalty will be not be forgotten.
Please donate to Eden in Babylon.
A little bit goes a long, long way.
I’ve been under the weather this week and have not practiced my piano piece at all. I told people I would actually be singing tomorrow — but my voice is not in very good shape. Still, I’m going to venture forth toward the church in a bit, where that nice Baldwin grand piano is, along with all the very nice people who don’t mind me playing on it from time to time.
So, I might pull through. I just want to leave it up in the air. In the meanwhile, anyone who wants my Exile album, or at least wants to listen to it to check it out, but who doesn’t want to shell out fifteen bucks for it, here it is online:
Also, in isolation this week, I have been pondering my life’s direction. I’ve felt as though I’ve been in something of a lull ever since I finished the script and demo to my musical. I’ve been working here and there, on my various projects as well as on the necessities of living. But my heart, by and large, has not been in what I’m about.
I think this is because I am being cosmically nudged to get cracking on the Eden in Babylon vocal score. I finished the first five numbers a while back, but got sidetracked when I encountered a few setbacks earlier on. I’ve dealt with the setbacks sufficiently that there’s no real remaining excuse for slacking.
So I’m going to prioritize scoring all the singing parts for Eden in Babylon, and it’s going to have to take priority over this blog. I found earlier that I was spending too much time blogging, and not getting the vocal score done. Life does present itself occasionally, and it will interfere with my creative flow. But in the meantime, there’s no valid reason for not pressing onward with the goal.
So – I’ll try to have something posted tomorrow. No promises, but you might as well check back in a day or so, and see if anything looks different. After that, if you don’t hear from me a while, take it to be good news. Only so many hours in the day, and occasionally one has to get on the ball.
Please donate to Eden in Babylon.
A little bit goes a long, long way.
This version of my song “Bone of My Bones” is far superior to whatever I posted the other day. (Incidentally, it’s Version 18-Y, for whoever’s counting.)
It still isn’t quite “complete” yet — at least not in terms of its capacity to replicate what I’ve got going on in my head. But is it ever complete? I don’t think so!
In any case, as of this morning, I’ve moved on to new arrangement of the song Bubbles Taboo, intended to segue into Bones as part of the larger work described in this entry. It’s all rolling along so sweetly that, to be honest with you, I’m having a hard time stopping all the composing in order to attend to the more mundane functions of modern life.
A lot of this newfound enthusiasm for composing is based on my having become more endeared to the software itself. Somehow, the challenge of getting all these computer commands to resemble what’s going on in my head has begun to fascinate me, rather than intimidate me. It’s also helping with a second aspect of my creative-artistic trip these days. It’s helping me to enjoy the process of notating the vocal score to Eden in Babylon.
Note how I didn’t say “Piano-Vocal Score.” I’ve lowered my expectations, and have taken to writing out only a vocal score, without the piano accompaniment. This will still be some representation of the music, and it might even be enough to get a producer interested in the show. In any case, it’s forward motion.
I also made it to Jazz Choir finally, and enjoyed singing the interesting music of Dan Bukvich in a context consisting mostly of University students, but also including members of the community, several of whom were my age or older. I saw Erika there, the new Director of Music at my church, and she again said she’d be happy to sing on the Eden in Babylon demo. Maybe she knows some other Jazz Choir members who might be interested. Perhaps I won’t even have to pay them — although frankly, the idea of not being able to do so is irksome to me. Again, if anybody wants to donate, that’s where the first money will go — to pay singers and musicians something, even if it’s not what they’re actually worth.
But not to get off on all that. I’ve been snagged on this demo thing, mostly in a depressed or discouraged state, for over five months now. It really is time for this thing to pick up steam again. But whether it does or not, there’s a third aspect to my “trip” these days, and I can’t overlook the fact that it’s the aspect that’s been getting me some recognition lately, even though I didn’t really do anything consciously to attract it.
It’s all the writing I’m doing on the Homeless Experience. People are tuning into it. After A New Pair of Glasses was published in Street Spirit in August, I had three more pieces published in September. Then I offered to come up with three more by Friday, and Terry Messman the publisher asked me to nudge him when they were done. It’s beginning to look as though I’m becoming a regular columnist all of a sudden. This is something I never dreamed would happen.
So, between the three, you might see a few more postings from me than usual. There will probably be more for me to report here than ever before. I’ll try to keep them short. But be advised that as far as WordPress is concerned, you’re going to be dealing with a “frequent flyer” until further notice.
Please donate to Eden in Babylon.
Anything Helps – God Bless!
The piano-vocal score to my song “The Very Same World” is finished now. If anyone wants to take a look at it, you can click on the title below. (It will lead to an 11-page pdf file.)
from the new musical Eden in Babylon
Words and Music by Andy Pope
Copyright © 2017 by Andrew Michael Pope
I’d hoped to get three of these finished and then approach a certain professor from the nearby School of Music. A number of people told me that he would be the logical person to talk to, if I wanted to find singers to help me out with my musical demo. But a couple things arose to deter me, much as I so desperately desired to proceed unhindered. First of all, I got behind schedule. I had been hoping to have two of them done by Friday, and the third by next Friday. Instead, I only have one of them done — and it’s already Monday. Secondly, I was somewhat intimidated by the man’s awe-inspiring credentials. This played into my natural shyness, and I began to doubt my fortitude.
But then, a mysterious turn of events took place. As it happens, the professor is actually coming to meet me. You see, the departing Minister of Music at my church has to leave during Holy Week due to the poor health of her husband. It turns out that she knows this professor, and so she called him to take over our rehearsal on Wednesday night, as well as the Good Friday and Easter Sunday services. So by this Wednesday, I will be following his conducting on the piano as I accompany our church choir. Naturally, I used this as a deadline to finish the score to The Very Same World. I printed it out today, and after I make minor corrections, I can simply show it to him. So my shyness and timidity are no longer an issue.
I also just happened to meet three decent singers who have expressed an interest in working with me on this project. One of them, a mezzo-soprano whom I ran into at the local pub, looked over my score briefly, then said she would reply to my call if I “posted a notice.” Being the new kid on the block here, I haven’t exactly found out where to post this notice. She said it with such authority, I did not want to admit my naivete. But then, I met two young men at a cafe who were working on theory assignments on music paper, so I invited them to come look at my score. Turned out one of them was a baritone, and we exchanged contact information. They also advised me that anyone can audit the Jazz Choir that meets in the afternoons throughout the week, and that I could pick up a bass part and sing with them. I don’t have to be a University student to participate. Finally, there’s this fellow Josh who works at the Bagel Shop downstairs from me, who has a degree in Acting and has sung professionally in musicals. He seems eager to help me out with this as well. So perhaps I already have two or three singers. I only need two or three more.
All of this points to an eerie phenomenon that might best be explained once it’s understood that I have only lived in this particular city for eight months. I came here from the San Francisco Bay Area, largely because the rising cost of living was getting to me on numerous levels. Six years ago, I lived in a situation that was almost identical to my present digs, as far as basic specs were concerned, and it rented for $900/mo. What do I pay here in Northern Idaho for the same set-up? You guessed it. $275/mo. So I finally came up here on a lark, answering a Craigslist ad, looking for a mere hole-in-the-wall where I could plug in my laptop, unhassled by numerous disconcerting factors: high crime rate, distrust among neighbors, frequent homelessness, and so forth.
I moved into small studio in an old-style apartment building, where there are business on the first floor, and residences on the higher floors. What I did not expect was for there to be a running store in my very building. Being a runner, this intrigued me. I then noticed yoga centers and bike shops. A health-and-wellness emphasis, I thought. Very good. I then learned about the School of Music, and that the State Repertory Theatre was founded here as well – in the year I was born, incidentally. As you soon will find, that’s quite germane.
The second week I was here, I applied for a part-time church position, was hired, and still hold that job today. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by Artists and Writers of all kinds. And as for music? I’m doing gigs all up and down the main drag. And culture? I heard more decent music my first five days in this small college community than I heard in Berkeley, California, in five years.
There is more to this story, so I might as well tell it.
Why did I choose Moscow, Idaho? Out of all the small out-of-the-way villages where I could have sought affordable housing, why Moscow? Because I was born here. I lived here the first year of my life when my dad was teaching ROTC at the University. Then his Navy career took us all over the country as well as to other parts of the world. I didn’t want my whole life to go by without seeing what Moscow, Idaho was like. When I came here, I was astounded. This city seemed to be custom-designed for me.
In the first four months I was here, I sequenced all the music I wrote internally after four of my laptops were successively stolen in Berkeley, and I could not afford to replace them. In the next three months, I sat down and finished a draft of the musical I had been struggling, through adverse circumstances in California, for five years. Now I’m working on the piano-vocal score to that musical. I have the same laptop now that I bought shortly before I left Berkeley. Had I stayed in Berkeley, I would never have been able to retain a laptop that long. It would have been stolen by now. In fact, considering the huge upsurge in violence that has taken place on the Berkeley streets since the election of our current clueless leader, I can’t help but wonder if I would even still be alive today, had I stayed in this unfavorable town.
This is why my faith has increased as much as it has. I was so angry and discouraged when I was homeless on the Berkeley streets, that I shouted out to God:
“WHY am I always forced to be hanging around thieves and hustlers and pimps and hookers and panhandlers and criminals and murderers? WHY does nobody care about my Music or my Art? WHY am I not hanging around Actors and Directors and Musicians and Writers and Artists??”
The question “Why?” is often moot. But if the desperation in that oft-repeated query could be interpreted as an entreaty to an unseen God, then the proof of the answer to that twisted prayer is in the very experience I own today. It happened in less than forty-eight hours. I hopped on a Greyhound, alighted randomly upon this little town in Idaho, answered an ad for a studio, and three days later signed a one-year lease. I’m where I am supposed to be. There is a God.