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fascinating fun Memoir poems

A Truly Widespread Orchestra

Back in March of this year, about a week after I went into self-isolation from C19, like many, I was feeling pretty low, lost and lethargic, forcing myself into routines so that I didn’t lose my mind in a vast field of worry. But even though I was flying solo on this journey, I knew wasn’t actually alone. While doing mundane tasks like household chores and sorting of things that I’d put on The Wayside, I realized that so many of the people I love (along with those I hardly know, but who are very lovely) were probably doing the exact same things and quite possibly at the exact same time. I often imagine how many people might be laughing while I am laughing, crying while I am crying, eating toast at the precise moment I am eating toast. The great potential for this sort of banal synchronicity fascinates me. So I jotted down a quick poem and called it “Widespread Orchestra,” a phrase I’d had rolling around like a fat marble in my head for the better part of decade. The poem got a good response from folks, especially from my friend Noah Luna, composer and fellow San Joser, who took the poem and gave it a sound I am incapable of formulating or performing. Over the last several months, he’s built a beautiful song out of my words, which renders me speechless every time I see and hear it. Check it out for yourself.

Noah had asked me sometime in late spring if he could play with it. I love poetry over music, so I was emphatic in my affirmation. Noah asked world class cellist Joshua Roman to play the composition he had written for cello. Then they both recruited a number of vocalists from all over (I’d like to say the world, but I don’t actually know where they’re all located) to record themselves singing and to capture it on video. Through the awesome support of Town Hall Seattle, where Joshua is the current Artist in Residence, he and Noah were able to stitch together all of the vocal tracks and footage to make what you see and hear in the video.

We had a video debut of the song over Zoom the other day a good number of the vocalists joined us. Many of them commented on how it was the first time they had to listen to themselves sing solo for a chorus. Noah commented that is was the first time he’d ever heard every voice in a chorus individually as he put the track together. Very fascinating work.

They made a widespread “orchestra” and turned my little poem into a much, much bigger song. My mind is blown and I cannot thank them enough.

Many, many thanks and kudos to Noah Luna and Joshua Roman for their incredible, remarkable work. Huge thanks to the vocalists who participated in this strange and beautiful endeavor. Major thanks and gratitude to the folks at Town Hall Seattle for their part in making this happen.

Wow.

Noah and I are already talking about future projects. Stay tuned.

Categories
blog fun

My Surprise Sax Playlist

I originally posted this project to my Facebook account in October 2019.

For the purposes of helping the the entire world, I am building a music playlist called “Unexpectedly Saxxy” (or maybe “I Am Too Saxxy”) and it only contains songs that feature a sax solo when no saxophone had appeared in the first half or so of the song.

I feel like this is probably mostly an ’80s phenomenon, but I welcome any entry you can add. NOTE: Songs like “Baker Street” and “Careless Whisper”—while divine jams—do not count because the presence of saxophone is not a surprise.

See the Surprise Sax playlist here.

Send me your suggestions: mightymikemcgee@gmail.com

Categories
poems

POEM | 50 Words On The Orchestra of Human Sound

50 Words On The Orchestra of Human Sound
by Mighty Mike McGee, 2010

Listen
Someone once said

we listen to music
for the silence

In this quiet
you are all music
          a symphony
          of ears
          eyes
          and hearts

Time moves fast
Let’s take it slow
          before we
                    heartbeat it to the punch

Let’s all listen while
we all
play our song

 

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Harmony by “Mighty” Mike McGee

This!

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=3736681172/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=f171a2/transparent=true/

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My incredibly gifted singing friend @ChristaCouture and her newest song “Oh Magnolia.”

Check her out: http://www.christacouture.com/

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https://popplers5.bandcamp.com/download/track?enc=mp3-128&fsig=319597e11aca944969d82ac85ab7c5d1&id=45362015&nl=1&stream=1&ts=1486423263.0?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio
http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/size=medium/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/notracklist=true/transparent=true/track=45362015/

Listen/purchase: Slow by David Newberry

I LOVE this EP. Listen to it all, please! I think you will like it. Especially if it is late and you have headphones. Check out my friend David Newberry sweet tracks and reblog often.

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https://popplers5.bandcamp.com/download/track?enc=mp3-128&fsig=7ab9326c48740d3266f02fa22a8bfff6&id=813414534&nl=1&stream=1&ts=1486423337.0?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio
http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/size=medium/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/notracklist=true/transparent=true/track=813414534/

“Mirror” by Bright Weapons from their album Consent.

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He’s the angriest man you’ll ever meet. He’s like a man with a fork in a world of soup.

Noel Gallagher on his brother, Liam (via austinkleon)
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explore-blog:

Amazing mechanical device designed in 1890 mimics the sound of birdsong. 

( Colossal)