Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Utah! This is the Place!

Last week Meg found herself in a Pioneer Day crisis AND IT WASN'T EVEN PIONEER DAY.

She desperately needed a non-copyrighted audio version of the State Song, UTAH! This Is The Place! for some project at work because Meg has a very weird job.

When you find yourself dealing with paranormal activity, you call the Ghostbusters. When there's a bank robbery in Gotham, you call Batman. When you need to remember how good bread is, you call Oprah. But when there's a Pioneer Day crisis, you call the hell out of Eli Whittlebottom McCann.

So that's what Meg did. She called me right up. She asked me if I could possibly figure out how to play the State Song on the piano, record it for her, and send her that recording.

A few things you should know about my piano skills: they are exactly impressive enough that people ask me to do things but not quite impressive enough that I'm able to do those things.

I asked Meg if she at least had some sheet music I could look at. I don't know why I asked her this. I sight-read piano music at a Kindergarten-equivalent-reading level. In any event, she told me that after searching the ends of the Earth, she was convinced that sheet music for our State Song does not exist.

This doesn't surprise me. I've always known in my heart of pioneer hearts that this song probably spontaneously wrote itself from wind chimes.

I told Meg, skeptically, that I would "try." But without at least having some basic chords, I didn't think I would possibly come up with something.

I totally underestimated the magic of Pioneer Day. And the long-lasting effects of spending an absurd amount of school time learning hand actions to "IT WAS BRIGHAM YOUNG WHO LED THE PIONEERS ACROSS THE PLAINS!" and "NEW TECHNOLOGY'S HERE, GROWING FASTER EACH YEAR!" instead of other things. Like math. And stuff.

Because not long after I sat down at the piano, I had come up with this hokey clip:



I sent it to Meg, proud of myself for actually being kind of helpful. She almost immediately responded with, and I'm paraphrasing here, "THIS IS COMPLETE GARBAGE AND NOT AT ALL WHAT I WANTED YOU EMBARRASS YOUR FAMILY NAME."

She further explained that she needed something "pared down." I interpreted this as "mainstream" and I immediately assumed the role of "misunderstood artiste" whose masterpieces were being chucked to swine. But then I immediately sold out and gave the people what they wanted. And, considering that I wasn't even getting paid to do this, I think I learned from this experience that it really doesn't take a lot for me to give up on my dreams.

I sent her this [WARNING. THIS WILL GET STUCK IN YOUR HEAD FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE].



After I created this, I played it for Skylar, who then recorded me doing the dance move that involuntarily came from my body while it played.


He sent it to Meg who responded that we should turn it into a ten-hour video loop on Youtube. I don't know how to do this, but I think it would be my most valuable contribution to the Internet to date.

~It Just Gets Stranger

19 comments:

  1. I love that we can hear the angst in the garbage version.

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  2. Dude, you undersell yourself. I am a pretty good piano player, but I have never been good at writing music. Ever. (Some guy at institute tried to tell me that if I could play the piano, I could write music. Nope. You don't know me!) That was excellent!

    And if you think you had it bad, that year I was in 4th grade, and at my school that meant we did the 4th grade play. It was an entire musical about Utah's state history. So I learned many, many songs about Utah that year, including our illustrious state song, which was the grand finale.

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    1. Brittany, I also participated in the famed 4th grade program! It included classics such as "buffalo chips" and the tear-jerker "shoes". Of course, it also featured utahs state song as the finale! Is it possible we went to the same elementary school? I went to Samuel Morgan elementary. Or even better, do multiple schools have this fantastic musical production for the 4th graders??

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  3. The Strangerville theme music is my favorite thing ever. You may not be able to sight read but writing music is probably cooler anyway.

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  4. I worked 10 hours yesterday, and was consequently exhausted by the time the family went to watch fireworks. When they got home, I lamented to my husband how sad I was I missed them, to which he responded "do I need to take you to Utah for Pioneer Day to see the fireworks?" I have to say, parades (free candy being hurled at my face!), Santa in a swimsuit, and fireworks are a-callin' my name, so I may take him up on his offer. In conclusion: if we do go, will you PLEASE meet me at the Brigham Young statue and sing me this song, enthusiastic dance moves and all?

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    1. I'll do you one better. I'm running the Pioneer Day marathon (thank you for your prayers). If you can catch me on the last bit of the parade route, I'll give you a Pioneer Day This is the Place high five. (And then I may ask for a piggyback ride).

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  5. I want you to know that I listened to your piano piece covering Tami's face with my finger because nightmares.

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    1. It's like you don't even care that Pioneer Day is Tami's birthday.

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    2. I listened with my eyes shut so I didn't have to look at her. But it worked because it appeared as if I was just deeply moved by the music.

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  6. You make me happy.

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  7. More background information than I ever needed to know: http://onlinelibrary.utah.gov/research/utah_symbols/song.html

    And then I had to discover if Ohio had a state song. It does. And then I also learned that it claims to be the ONLY state to not only have a state song but also have a state ROCK song. I give you: "Hang On Sloopy."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoZ5JL3gmHo

    I promise they really did pass a law making that the state rock song: http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Ohio%27s_State_Rock_Song_-_Hang_On_Sloopy

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  8. Anytime you post a picture or video of yourself, all I can think about is this clip from your celebrity doppelgänger: https://youtu.be/zOtpeYERu9w

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    1. Yes! I see it now! Maybe we should flood the comments with Eli's name, so the world will know.

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  9. I love that after the video clip finished, it pulled up a thumbnail of DAME JULIE ANDREWS.

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  10. The garbage version sounds like Schroeder playing the tinny "Jingle Bells" for Lucy.

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  11. I'm laughing so hard I'm crying. Stranger is such a good place in the internet. :')

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