Monday, December 01, 2008

Well, You're Still Sleeping, So It's Still Not Too Late For Soundtrack Sunday

Grandy pointed me to a blogger who had an awesome theme for NaBloPoMo: Blatantly Bad 70's songs. (I so want to borrow that concept for 80's songs, but I have a feeling she'll cover 80's songs next year!)

Anyway, one song came up and I've got a story to go with it, and I have to share this.

In 1983, my fellow choir members talked me into joining the Italian Club in singing "Fa Una Canzone" at the Long Island Foreign Language Festival. The event brought high school language students from all over our two counties together to get out of school for 'educational purposes' celebrate taking a foreign language. I was celebrating the fact that I'd escaped Madame B's French class in ninth grade! (Sorry, Papa)

It was held at some huge ass high school (Comsewogue) over an hour away from ours, so imagine a bus ride of choir geeks practicing their 2.5 minute song over and over, having loads of fun, but probably annoying the heck out of the bus driver. Then again, he was probably happy that he drew the field trip that didn't involve a single verse of "100 bottles of beer on the wall". (Oh, and I remember it was a Friday during Lent and having someone who was Greek orthodox torturing us with her sandwiches with meat, when the rest of us were stuck with cheese and PB&J's!)

The Sophomore Choir had performed this song in concert the previous year and had been schooled in proper pronunciation by our resident paisan, Anthony C. This was typical for us: Perfectionism on the part of the choir director meant that we were going to learn how to sound like we were fluent in whatever language we were singing. For that reason, Anthony drafted a few of us who weren't actually Italian, but could sound like we were-as long as we were singing, that is.

When we got there, we found seats in a HUGE auditorium, filled with all the different language clubs from across the Island, ready to strut their language skills in musical form. Most of these schools were like ours: 70 Spanish classes to the two Italian, and one French class. This stacked the deck for songs that would be performed in Spanish. (Note: For all the Spanish classes, there was no club. Only the two Italian classes managed to have a pretty active group)

Looking back on it, if you weren't a singer, but were learning a language, your group would find a popular song sung in your language. Multiply that by the 50 or schools represented and the fact that most of those schools only had a Spanish club and you end up hearing a lot of this:



We endured about 25 Spanish clubs singing "Eres Tu" that day. The bad part? They weren't like our group, which recruited non Italians who could *sing* in Italian. Most of the "Eres Tu" performances had impeccable pronunciation, and horrible singing. That high note? Heard it mangled in all but one of those performances.

It was a fun event but man, I wish I'd had some earplugs that day.

3 People talked back:

wrekehavoc said...

aw shucks - thanks for the kind words and link :-) and heck -- there's plenty of crappy 80s songs to go around :-)

of course, i guess by now, you know how i feel about eres tu. believe it or not, there are a lot of people who love that song. i know. they emailed me ;-) crankily, i'd add ;-)

songbird's crazy world said...

that song actually hit the charts in the 70's. I was in junior high and we sang it in my spanish class. can't stand it anymore, either.

Suzanne said...

wreke, I had fun strolling through your worst of the worst. The only one that you didn't like that I do is "Dream Weaver'. Then again, I have the album and like it.


SB, yeah, I know it hit in 73, but that was the one that got a lot of airplay, enough so that high school kids would know it. The only thing worse is if they'd sung 'una paloma blanca', but i think the mariachi horns scared anyone from trying to do it!