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My brain... a strange and wondrous place - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
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captainsblog
My brain... a strange and wondrous place
It's back.

It always is, this time of year- occasionally, other times, if inspired by some random sound or measure of music.

It's an earworm of Hamiltonian proportions- the "Independence" movement of a musical. No, not anything as vapidly bad as a High School Musical.  Worse.  We performed this one in elementary school.  Fifth grade, I'm almost certain (I'll get to why in a moment).

Prospect Elementary was a hotbed of crime. Not anything as bad as murder (although I did have a future serial killer in my kindergarten), but plenty of copyright infringement.  A few afternoons a week, we had chorus; that was the default for music education.  Our "faculty" included a band teacher who was a probable devout Communist; it was Mr. LoPatin who taught us that "USSR" was "CCCP" in the Cryllic and it transliterated into Soyuz Sovetskih Sosalistichiskih Republic. (Yes, I still remember this. No, I do not remember what my schedule is on Monday. Get off my lawn.) 

But it was Miss Walsh who was really down with the revolution when it came to the intellectual property rights of The Man.  Rather than trouble us with boring old folk songs, she mostly let us sing what we wanted- and she basically took our handwritten lyrics of Beatles, and S&G, and Joplin songs- Janis, not Scott- and mimeographed them off, mondegreens and all. 

Those were just for fun, though.  Our annual concerts- where it was our job to overcome the nail-on-blackboard efforts of Comrade L's band and Mr. Somebody's orchestra- were among the bigger infringement jobs we had going.  In sixth grade, we performed the entire soundtrack of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, that sortof debut effort by Lord Baron Lloyd Webber.  We were ahead of our time in more ways than one: for one thing, Donnie Osmond at the time was just about our age (still is, I imagine;), and more importantly, there was no public performance of the thing until the following year. Miss Walsh simply made mimeographs out of the lyrics from the concept album and pounded them out. To this day, I can remember the names of the twelve tribes of Israel from that plagiarism.

But that's going too far back in time- at least in terms of the material.  It was fifth grade that brought the musical of my current earworminess- a toe-tapping history of our beloved US of A!  From the stirring overture, through earlier times into "Goin' West!" into FDR, is givin' us all a brand New Deal!, right up to Miss Walsh updating the mimeographs- of course it was mimeographed, paying for 120 parts is expensive!- to reference Nixon's inauguration the previous January. 

Those aren't the earworms, though.  This is:

"Connecticut, are you for independence?
Are you for the pursuit of happiness?
For life and liberty and Freedom?"
"Connecticut...
Votes YES!"


Every damn Fourth, when I see the flag-draped paper plates and Independence Day bunting come out, that song comes back. I'm almost certain I'd googled it in the past without success, but this time round, a bunch of references came up- including to iTunes and CDBaby sites where you can preview and even purchase this fabulous piece of Americana:



There's even a place to buy the actual, original score and voice parts- you know, like we should have.  And it's from that site that I learned an even more amazin' fact about this piece's provenance: it's listed there as being written by "Ruth Roberts and William Katz."

The huh?!?  Unknown to me in fifth grade, Bill Katz was the chair of my future high school's music department and would, for three later years, be my conductor in marching bands and wind ensembles; he retired not long ago and remains an active Facebooker among music alums from back then.  Did he WRITE this thing?

Erm, no. But.  The East Meadow alum who straightened me on that point made an even cooler point about who these authors were:



NOW I had to listen to "Connecticut." I'd resisted, fearing the earworm would take over my entire frontal lobe.  But yeah, the beat, the repetition, the generally lovable hokiness?  That's the Mets' fight song, yo!

So come on over for the Fourth. If there's enough liquor, I might play the whole thing. If there's any left over, maybe we'll even watch the Mets game;)
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