I haven’t written much here about our upcoming ROADSHOW, but it’s time to enlighten you. Some of the younger generation might not even know what a roadshow is, but Brigham Young is probably the man responsible for roadshows (or you might have called them â€œtrail showsâ€ back then). At least he set a precedent when he instructed the Saints traveling across the vast prairie expanses to gather together in the evenings to sing, dance, and entertain each other. He knew that such celebrations could raise the spirits of his people.
Todayâ€™s Saints are still carrying on the tradition, according to Pat Davis, cultural arts specialist for the General Activities Committee. â€œI sometimes think we donâ€™t realize what we have in roadshows,â€ said Sister Davis. â€œRoadshows are a unique LDS art form, and an exciting showcase for talents. Every would-be composer, choreographer, director, singer, playwright, and dancer has the opportunity to hone skills and try them before the public.” Originally the roadshow would actually go ‘on the road’ and be performed at several different churches through the stake. Now, not every building has a stage or place to perform, so our roadshow is limited to one night at our Stake Center.
And who would be in charge of the ward’s road show, you ask? Well, me, of course. Because apparently having a time consuming calling with the Bells on Temple square and another time consuming calling in the primary presidency and, well, you know, my life weren’t enough to keep me busy. Ahem.
In December, right in the middle of my crazy hectic schedule where I spent about half of my month at the conference center in Salt Lake City, I was informed that the young men and young women had scheduled every week in January to work on this roadshow of mine, so would I mind getting off my butt and coming up with a plan? Ok, they didn’t exactly put it like that, but on the day after Christmas, I called together my committee for an emergency planning meeting to figure out what the heck we wanted to do.
I am honestly so IMPRESSED with what we have come up with. Our theme was basically the 13th article of faith, which in case you need a reminder states: We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paulâ€”We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
We decided to go with a top 40 countdown show, showcasing the songs that are important to our Highland 9th ward youth. We thought of popular, current songs, and we had our youth change the words. For example, instead of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” we have changed it to “All the Missionaries”. I was explaining to this my parents, and telling them how great it was to see all our young men actually learning this dance (toned down just a little bit. And they do wear pants) and having fun. They said, ‘Who is Beyonce?’ and “What is this Single ladies song?” What? I thought everyone in Northern America had pretty much seen at least one version of this song, but I guess I was mistaken. So, for my parents, here’s the original song.
I won’t post all the lyrics to our awesome song just yet, because there may be other road show writers out there just lurking here to find out our secrets. –What? It could happen!– But just know that it’s awesome.
The kids have been working on choreographing dances and blocking to these songs, and I’ve found that a lot of my job is organizational. When are we going to rehearse each thing, and how are we going to make such and such work. Not theatrical at all. Basically, I’ve been stuck doing all the boring grunt work, with not so much of the creative work. Oh, well. Maybe I’m getting better at the organizational stuff.
We’ve got one song, “Don’t Stop Believing” which is kind of my song. When we chose our songs, and figured out how we wanted to change them, we assigned one or two young people to come up with the actual lyrics. Except when I asked one of the youth to help me rewrite the words (since she WAS on the writing committee) she pretty much blew me off with the excuse that she was too busy. Seriously? Too busy? I may never get over that one, chick. So… I wrote it. It took me about a half and hour. (Too busy? Humph!) As we are trying to teach the youth the lyrics and dance to the song, we found it’s harder to learn when all we have to rehearse are either the original lyrics or the karaoke version with no words. Fine. I’ll sing the song and record the changed words so we can all learn it at our Tuesday night rehearsal this week. It won’t be our performance cut or anything, but it will do.
So I went over to our tech guy’s house, where he’s got the whole ‘garage band’ thing all set up on his computer. He plugs in a mic, gives me a set of headphones and off we go. Now, just for the record, “Don’t Stop Believing” is not the easiest song to sing. It’s high, but it’s right in between my “belt it out” range and my “head voice” range. Never mind. I sang it through once, and then we listened to it. Or rather, he listened to it, and I sat there cringing. Flat note there, not a good entrance there, too loud and a bit screechy there. I sound dumb singing the boy’s part there. And gosh, do I really sound like that? It was painful.
“Do you want to do it again?” he asked. And while I would have liked to do it right and do it again and again until I was satisfied with the sound, I realized that this is called a “scratch recording” for a reason. We’re just going to play it for the kids to sing to so that they can get the words. It’s not for performance.
I cringed and said, “No, it’s good enough. Just don’t tell anyone who did the vocals. Tell them it was your wife or some homeless person off the street who had a ‘will sing for food’ sign.”
He laughed and said, “Right. Let me just download this as my new ringtone, then we’ll be done.”
“You will do NO such thing!” I said a little too loudly.
Now I’m hoping that tonight I can survive hearing myself singing that song over and over and over while trying to teach it to our youth. If I develop a slight facial tick or have a stroke, I’ll let you know.
I should probably prepare by stashing some chocolate and ear plugs in my purse, don’t you think?