Monday, May 14, 2012

Strike up the band!

I'm the Commencement Coordinator for our department at the Big U.  This means that I get to select music that isn't "Pomp and Circumstance."  I get to have the crowd entertained beforehand, and I decide what graduate will walk out to.  

I could have nearly anything played before the ceremony.  The auditorium has a great sound system.  In my mind I currently imagine Herbie Mann's "Comin' Home Baby" followed by some good soukous music like "Nairobi" by Tabu Ley Seigneur Rochereau.  We could follow that with Johnny Cash doing "Mean-eyed Cat" then Lester Young with "Sometimes I'm Happy."  The guests would feel like ping pong balls.  Maybe just a long Ravi Shankar piece would work. 

For the recessional, the reasonably proper side of me has the march from Shostkovich's Jazz suite No. 2, followed by "Hoe Down" from Copeland's Rodeo.  Between the two of them they take up nearly seven minutes.  That's a nice, upbeat, straight up orchestral sound and would work well, but then I want to follow Hoe Down with Sol Hoopii playing "Kohala March" on his steel guitar.  It's absolutely one of the happiest sounding tunes ever recorded.  I think I have to go with that.  It would add a touch of Spongebob to the proceedings.  It wouldn't hurt anything to have at least the possibility that some of the audience would leave with silly smiles on their mugs.  

 Or, we could follow Copeland with Edgar Winter doing "Free Ride."  The sad thing is, not many would get it. 

One year we had "Get up, Stand Up" but people seem more religious these days, and the lines about ism schisms and "the mighty God is a living man" might get people's hackles up.  I wouldn't mind that, but I'm too tired to deal with concerned faculty roaring up to me at the bar afterward saying someone had a complaint.  Shit, maybe I'll do that anyway.  There's not enough reggae around here anyway and if these graduates don't get and stand up, they are fucked.  Why not inspire them a little further before they throw themselves into the shyte. 


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