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Deep in December; It's Nice To Remember

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Many of you recognize the above title as coming from The Fantasticks, the longest running stage production in American history (over 41 years continuously on Broadway, with Revivals since)…. But this ground-breaking musical with Music by Harvey Schmidt and Book and Lyrics by Tom Jones; is much more than that. More than a huge success story and one of the most performed musicals by high schools, colleges, and community theaters around the world. And it is more than just another dated musical or sleeper movie adaptation: It is the story of our youth, our hearts; that touches our very existence, that reminds us of what our lives once were. It is a story of our youthful vigor and folly before cynicism, disappointment, and inevitable sameness etched our personalities (or at least a story of what our idealized youth could have been, if our dreams had worked out as we had wished back then). 

Nearly everyone knows the “money” hit song of The Fantasticks, "Try to Remember." This song has been covered by dozens of well-known singers since 1960 . Yet very few have managed to cover the actual feel or mood and thrust of that song. Without seeing the musical or movie and understanding the true meaning of the lyrics, “Try to Remember” could be seen as little more than an overly-sentimental and maudlin journey into the “un-cool”: What many young people today would term “Emo”… And smelling like a dusty stack of our parent’s old “LP” records. And many would sneeringly rate it a simple and repetitive piece without much technical merit. Perhaps we must be old and long ago jaded before coming around full circle and grasping it’s meaning; and appreciating it’s true worth.  

Those who know the play understand the song was designed at least in part to set the stage, to bring the audience to the proper mood and understanding, to augment the trade-mark minimalist, early 60’s “Bohemian” avant-garde sets of the stage production. And this it does magnificently as the opening number. But as we hear it again at the end of the play… The song has somehow magically transformed into both a haunting story of our lives… And as a blueprint for re-finding our way in a world of tragedy, despair, and hopelessness. For those of us above a certain age, it has finally transcended cool, and has touched our very soul.  

What more can we ask from Art, from Drama, and from Music?   

Try To Remember  

By Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones  

Try to remember, the kind of September,
When life was slow, and oh-so mellow.

Try to remember, the kind of September,
When grass was green, and grain was yellow.

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Try to remember, the kind of September,
When you were a tender and callow fellow….

Try to remember… And if you remember,
Then follow!  

Try to remember, the kind of September,
When no one wept; except the willow.

Try to remember, when life was so tender,
That dreams were kept beside your pillow.

Try to remember, when life was so tender,
That love was an ember about to billow….

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Try to remember… And if you remember,
Then follow!  

Deep in December, it’s nice to remember,
Although you know the snow will follow.

Deep in December, it’s nice to remember,
Without a hurt the heart is hollow.

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Is a writer and activist in the field of alternative energy. A partial list of his articles can be seen here (or by Searching OpEd News): http://en.wordpress.com/tag/windisch-steve/ He is also the Admin of The Free Energy Facebook Group, all (more...)

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Nice choice for valentine's day!  Thanks ... by sometimes blinded on Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 8:21:04 PM