The other day, I went to see my niece Amy Gabbitas play a program of Clarinet Trios. It was a wonderful concert! Most of the pieces were based on folk songs from Hungarian, Jewish, and German traditions. I always learn so much when I attend concerts by terrific classical performers. I loved how they explained some history of the pieces and little tidbits for the audience to listen for in the music. It feeds my soul.
But this quote really struck me. Sometimes composers get swept away on musical tangents that may be immensely interesting to themselves, but can be too highbrow for their audience. People need to feel a connection to the music somehow in order to enjoy a performance. Melody is the first of the musical elements that the audience can readily understand and relate to.
Even though the clarinet trios were filled with technical elements that were very showy, the folk melodies came through and provided the familiar elements that allowed the audience to easily find connection to the music.
That last element intrigued me. So for "The Adventures of Dick Whittington," I explored writing songs for the show that would draw the audience in and be catchy enough that they could sing along when cued. All of these songs were completely new to the audience, especially in the Premiere performance, and yet the experiment was a great success.
Some of these Sing-Along tunes are "There Is Too, Too Much to Do," "A Toast to Travel and Trade," "Over the Briny Sea," and "Let Kindness Begin with Me"