How fitting it is the older I get, the more I can finally understand the lyrics to songs and truly relate in ways I never imagined I would.
For the Salute to Valor concert, which took place in Oahu, Hawaii on Fourth of July weekend, my dad gave me a solo to do for one of the performances.
“Great,” I grumbled, “so you’re gonna make me learn a new song on top of all the other music I’m working on for the concert PLUS the musical I’m in after that.”
“You’ll be fine,” Dad said with his usual persuasion. “You’re a fast learner.”
“Yeah, but I wanted to be stress-free and completely lazy on my first trip to Hawaii,” I argued.
“It’s really easy, Baby,” he said. “Besides, I need someone to fill the spot. You’re the only one who can do it.”
That’s the usual persuasion: you’re the only one.
“Fine, what it is?” I said.
Dad gave me the solo “Wade in the Water” which, after I quickly downloaded it off of iTunes, attained the music, the song WAS easy to learn and a lot of fun to sing. It was upbeat and had a lot of belting rifts I could throw in there just for fun. A real great gospel type.
As soon as I got the song down and memorized, Mom called.
“Hey, Baby?” she said, all calm and charming-like. “We’re going to have you sing ‘Red, Red Rose’ instead.”
“What?! That’s Dad’s song. I thought he was doing it?” I said.
“He can’t. After doing Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd, your Dad can’t get back his high notes so soon before the Salute to Valor concert. And you know ‘Red, Red Rose’ is all about floaty high notes,” Mom said.
“Yeah he can. He can do it,” I argued.
“No, Baby. Trust me, your dad’s not too happy about it either,” she said. “But you’re the only one who can do it right, other than him.”
“It’ll be great! You’ll do it beautifully,” she said.
I agreed, grudgingly of course. I didn’t want to mess around with Dad’s song. A singer always has THEIR song, and “Red Rose” was Dad’s. I have a few that I’ve claimed for myself.
So I quickly downloaded the song, got the music and learned it as fast as I could. Wasn’t too hard, considering I had heard Dad sing it plenty throughout my childhood.
Once we arrived in Hawaii, we had one day of rehearsal for the small A-capella group run by my father. I had decided to make the song my own. I abandoned the classical technique normally used for folk songs like ‘Red Rose’ because I wanted people to really understand what I was saying. I realized, after I had learned the music, how much I could relate to the lyrics. Of course, Dad wanted me to soften the consonants
But I didn’t. I’m that stubborn. This is what I sang.
O my love is like a red, red rose that’s newly sprung in June.
O my love is like a melody that’s sweetly played in tune.
As fair thou art, my bonnie lass, so deep in love am I. And I will love thee still, my dear, till all the seas gang dry.
Till all the seas gang dry, my dear, till all the seas gang dry.
And I will love thee still, my dear, till all the seas gang dry.
Till all the seas gang dry, my dear, and the rocks melt with the sun. And I will love thee still, my dear, while the sands of life shall run.
But fair thee well, my only love, oh fair thee well a while. And I will come again, my love. Tho ‘twere ten thousand mile.
Tho ‘twere ten thousand mile, my love. Tho ‘twere ten thousand mile.
And I will come again, my love, tho ‘twere ten thousand mile.
Anyone who’s lost a love, or is far away from their love, can really feel this song. I know I did. That’s what was so fun about it. Knowing what I was saying, feeling it come from inside, and letting it out in one pure sound.
So I’m thinking of claiming this song too…as long as Dad let’s me borrow it.