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06 June 2010

The Chesterfield Massachusetts JULY 4TH PARADE is coming! / Charles Ives' "The Circus Band" / Please do not shoot the karaoke singer, he is doing the best he can.

Click image, maybe bigger, I don't know yet.

I guarantee there'll be genuine Massachusetts (only) Maple Syrup for your Breakfast Pancakes. If I ever run out, I think the family across the road cranks it out by the truckload. (HINT: Get the Dark Amber.)

The American composer Charles Ives wrote songs -- art songs, lieder, he would have just said songs as he banged them out on the piano and yelled them into the microphone. He never copyrighted any of his music. He gave it away free to the world's musicians, and didn't even demand that they follow his rules for performing it.

Realizing it was unlikely he'd ever be able to support himself and his wife Harmony (née Twitchell) writing his unique, strange, ethereal, original music, he became one of the USA's most successful insurance salesmen and executives. President Woodrow Wilson appointed him to lead the Victory Bond drive during World War I -- and it's very likely Wilson didn't even know the guy wrote music.

This is my favorite Ives song.  I loved it so much and listened to it so much that I can stand up and sing "The Circus Band" on request, at the drop of a hat. Find me a karaoke club that has the music, and I'll get tanked up on sake and belt it out to 80 perfect strangers. Let them shoot me, I don't care -- I'll die singing this, but I refuse to get shot for singing "My Way" in a karaoke bar.

This rendition is by Donald Gramm, bass-baritone, and Donald Hassard, piano.

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i.   The Circus Band        [ 3 pages, 1' 05" ]  

All summer long, we boys
dreamed 'bout big circus joys!
Down Main street, comes the band,
Oh! "Ain't it a grand and glorious noise!"

Horses are prancing, knights advancing;
Helmets gleaming, pennants streaming,
Cleopatra's on her throne!
That golden hair is all her own.

Where is the lady all in pink?
Last year she waved to me I think,
Can she have died? Can! that! rot!
She is passing but she sees me not.

ii.   The See'r     [ 1 page, 30" ]
An old man with a straw in his mouth
sat all day long before the village grocery store;
he liked to watch the funny things a going, going, going by!

iii.   The Cage     [ 2 pages, 1' 15" ]
A leopard went around his cage
from one side back to the other side;
he stopped only when the keeper came around with meat;
A boy who had been there three hours
began to wonder, "Is life anything like that?"

iv.   The Side Show     [ 1 page, 25" ]
"Is that Mister Riley,
who keeps the hotel?"
is the tune that accomp'nies
the trotting-track bell;
An old horse unsound,
turns the merry-go-round,
making poor Mister Riley
look a bit like a Russian dance,
some speak of so highly,
as they do of Riley!

             [ Based on a text in English by P. Rooney ]

v.    Waltz     [ 4 pages, 2' 25" ]
Round and round the old dance ground,
Went the whirling throng,
Moved with wine and song;
Little Annie Rooney,
(now Mrs. Mooney,)
Was as gay as birds in May,
s'her Wedding Day.

Far and wide's the fame of the bride,
Also of her beau,
Every one knows it's "Joe;"
Little Annie Rooney,
(now J. P. Mooney,)
All that day, held full sway
o'er Av'nue A!
"An old sweetheart!"

vi.   1, 2, 3     [ 3 pages, 1' 00" ]
Why doesn't one, two, three
seem to appeal to a Yankee
as much as one, two!

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