DIY Music: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle?

I have training in music composition and have written original works for ensembles large and small. However, it might be more precise to call me an arranger. While I can write something original if needed, my heart is in arranging. Arrangers spend time considering a single melody or tune created by another composer or songwriter, breaking down each element of it, considering how it might be taken apart, turned around, seen backward, forward, upside down, stretched out, and shrunk; creating a new musical work from something original, and yet inextricably connected to its origins. This is not unlike the process in which the principles of Unitarian Universalism challenge their new and long-time members to examine themselves and the world around them.

On Sunday May 7th, the choir will premiere my new choral arrangement entitled, “A Sherman Brothers Medley on Unitarian Themes”. The Sherman Brothers were an American songwriting duo that specialized in creating songs for musical films, television, attractions and theatre. Together they received various accolades including two Academy Awards, and three Grammy Awards. Most of their compositions were created for projects by the Walt Disney Company. 

This arrangement considers how several of their songs might fit into ideas presented by Unitarian Universalism. Included in the arrangement are: “One Little Spark” (from the former Imagination Pavilion at EPCOT Center in Orlando, Florida) for the power of our Imagination and the ability to dream,  “Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang” (from the film of the same name) for the power of invention and reinvention, “It’s A Small World” (from the attraction “It’s A Small World” at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World) for Environmental and Social World Justice, “Substitutiary Locomotion” (from the film “Bedknobs and Broomsticks”) for the power of faith and consideration in ‘magic’ in all its forms. 

~Michael Parker

This entry was posted in Creativity and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to DIY Music: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle?

  1. Barbara Stahnke says:

    This is great to have the full interpretation. Can I suggest that your arrangement also suggests the complexity of our world when we hear the many different voices and words?

  2. katrina yurko says:

    Wonderful metaphor ! Your critique on musical arrangement and Re arrangement is the essence of what we do. UU’s retrofit their essential melodies, stretch and reconfigure the song they have been signing for many years. I can see it takes more than just knowing the melody! It’s how you hear it. The person is inside the melody and it is very challenging to adapt it to a new arrangement unless you have the bigger picture, the “modernized” remix in mind. It goes well beyond the core melody, it speaks to us differently, it sounds different, the user Uses it differently. It’s been re-arranged but it is still core melody. I like your angle on this idea. You are such a Musician !

  3. Carol Richardson says:

    Looking forward to seeing you & hearing your music Sunday, Michael!

  4. Lydia M Patrick says:

    LOVE to find out about the stories behind the songs. This is great! I absolutely love the way this weaves into our UU principles!
    Can’t wait to sing it this morning and share it with the community!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *