Michael Moricz, Mr. Rogers' musical director, wrote this -- I made the video -- we stayed up all night -- over 1,000 views so far -- a song for the dawning of 2020
On Sunday afternoon I got an email from a friend of Michael Moricz. Michael was the musical director for the tv program, "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" for the last five years of the show (he is now the rehearsal pianist for the Joffrey Ballet). Just a couple hours before, Michael had finished a very ambitious recording project -- a song to welcome 2020, featuring many theater singers and actors -- even kid actors (from two different productions of "A Christmas Carol"). Michael's friend thought the song should be heard and did I have any ideas how to get it out there?
Two days later, here we are. Michael is in Chicago, I'm in NYC, and after much back and forth, around 7 AM this morning we finished a video showcasing the song. Between facebook and vimeo t's gotten over a thousand views since then -- it's a perfect song for this imperfect world on the cusp of a new decade.
"A New Beginning"
Some of the credits got lost in cyberspace -- including David Lange's credit, husband of Uncle Bonsai's Patrice O'Neil, who supplied the drone footage of snowfall in Seattle. I'll have to fix that when I catch up on my sleep. NYC mastering engineer Phil Klum mastered the recording for Michael. It's been a labor of love for all concerned.
I hope you can share this with friends and family -- there's something very special at the end -- and that's Fred Rogers' widow Joanne in the photo.
One of the reasons I went 'all in' on this is that one of the actors involved is Rodney Hicks. He was in the original cast of "Come From Away," a show that I love so much. He had to leave the show because he lost his voice -- couldn't speak at all for over a year. When Michael told me that one of the reasons why he has an actor speaking in the recording is that it's a dear friend of his who lost his voice, and nobody thought he would ever be able to speak again. But it's slowly coming back (not singing yet) but Michael cried with joy when he could hear his friend's voice after such a long silence, and he knew he had to include him in this song.
When I asked Michael if his friend is Rodney from "Come From Away," and he said yes, it is -- well, I knew that I had to create this video, and pronto. In the photo above of the original cast, Rodney is in the back row, third from the right in the turtleneck. I am thrilled for him that he's getting back in the game, and that's why we worked day and night to finish this before the clock strikes midnight.
You've got about 7 hours left to share this -- Happy New Year!
p.s. If you'd like to download just the song, it's a free download at bandcamp:
- For decades Phil's sister Sonny Ochs has hosted these shows across the country -- tonight it's all LIVE and FREE on your screen
- We didn't know what songs we'd hear, and looking back on this, it's wonderful -- I list who plays when so you can skip to your favorites
- My live Hurdy Gurdy concert has been moved from indoors to online -- I'm joined by a dozen singer/songwriters each doing 2 songs -- from 7 PM to 10 PM Eastern
- It begins with a funny song for our times, "Stress" by Jim Infantino, ends with Kate Taylor's lovely, "I've Got A Message"
- A strong lineup for top to bottom -- the incomparable Jim Infantino opens, Kate closes, and an embarrassment of riches in between
- Columnist Jennifer Finney Boylan was inspired by the song to write about her best summer -- what was yours?
- The PFF asked me to help MC, and to do a 15-20 min minute set, which is the exact length of this one song, which is based on something that really happened
- Starting with Brooks Williams in Cambridge, UK --- closing with B&B in the US -- next month Bob Lind is headliner (yes, The Elusive Butterfly Of Love guy)
- Wonderful food (dining room opens at 5:30) -- spectacular desserts -- LIVE entertainment -- Tickets $25 in advance, $30 at the door.
- Believe it or not, when I wrote this song inspired by the 2009 Scripps Spelling Bee, I SPELT TWO WORDS WRONG! Finally I've made up for it.
- Jimmy Webb wrote the perfect song for the launch back in 1978, and here Michael Feinstein sings it.
- Have a favorite in the show? Here's when each performs so you can zip right to them --