December 3, 2008

10 Things I Love About Music

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In the interest of summing up the semester — this being my final column of 2008 — and because I’m at a loss for things to write about, I’m going to supply loyal readers (that means you, Dad) with a Weiss-a-roni-style list of my favorite musical things. The underlying message here being that because I love these things, you should love them too.
Number One. Les Choristes. Les Choristes is a French film, directed by Christophe Barratier, about a failed composer who goes to teach music at a dreary boarding school for “troublesome” boys. Rebellion and learning ensue, and the movie ends up making me so happy every time I watch it. If you are feeling sad, you must watch this movie. You will grin by the end.
Number two is “Deerpath Dances.” Now, I know that pretty much all of you are unfamiliar with Deerpath Dances, but it is basically the greatest piece of music written for 8th grade band, ever. Or not. In any case, it’s written by contemporary composer David Holsinger and is just chock full of crazy syncopation and rapidly-morphing time signatures. If you play an instrument, or ever plan on becoming a grade-school band teacher, please look up this piece.
The third is the annual musical at Ithaca College. I missed this year’s performance of The Wild Party — though it was apparently not that great — but in any case, they’re usually pretty awesome. Seussical (a musical written entirely about Dr. Seuss books), put on a few years ago, was quite literally tons of fun. And Urinetown was possibly the strangest musical I have ever seen, the basic premise being that the people live in an oppressed town where they’re only allowed to use the bathroom once a day for a fee. One day an old guy goes crazy and urinates in public and disaster/laughter ensues.
Fourth is impromptu dance parties, because who doesn’t love impromptu dance parties? Are you cooking dinner? Make it a dance party! Washing dishes? Make it a dance party. All you need is some apple bottom jeans and two working legs.
The fifth is something I have never actually seen — Lion King the musical on Broadway. It is my life’s ambition to see this play, but I feel obligated to warn whoever I end up going with: I will cry. Other Broadway musicals I desire to see include Wicked and Legally Blonde. Legally Blonde is undoubtedly a great musical.
Number six is Cornell Bhangra. I love Cornell Bhangra. I tried out this year, just for fun, and actually dancing Bhangra is just so energizing and joyous and fun. I’m studying abroad in India next semester, you see, so I’ve been checking out Bollywood films and Bhangra music, and Bhangra music is so much fun. Especially good for impromptu dance parties.
The seventh on the list is ballet. I secretly wish my parents had forced me to go to ballet classes when I was little. I would have rocked at it. If I ever decide to do some tripping on acid, please do not be surprised if I appear on the arts quad in a tutu, enacting a long-lost fantasy about Swan Lake. On a related note, I love ballet-related movies, like Center Stage and Billy Elliot, which coincidentally is now a musical on Broadway as well. Starring Daniel Radcliffe. Naked. Not really.
Number eight? Singing telegrams. Who wouldn’t want a singing telegram? ’Nuff said.
The ninth best thing somewhat related to music is, of course, Disney movies. I can, for example, sing — to this day — every word to every song from Mulan. I am also a fan of Aladdin, Fantasia, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid — actually just about every Disney musical ever made. And I watch them on a regular basis; I just watched Robin Hood the other day, which is, in my opinion, seriously underrated by Disney viewers everywhere. I used to be terrified of Kocoum in Pochahontas and Cruella in 101 Dalmations.
Ok, now, I know it’s a little early for this, but I began my Christmas song-listening preemptively this year. (Even before Thanksgiving, which is rather unforgivable, I know.) In any case, despite atheist leanings, I love Christmas songs. They’re just such a great way to get into the spirit of the holidays, which is beautiful, peaceful and joyous (Yes, I realize that’s clichéd.) May I suggest for you the Christmas albums of the Vince Guaraldi Trio or Sufjan Stevens? In particular, O Holy Night on the latter. It’s pretty.
So on that note, I will conclude 76 Trombones for the year. Good luck with finals, and happy holidays!