Tuesday, December 30, 2014

All My Bags Are Packed; I'm Ready to Go

There's a part of me that knows for certain that I will to be able to complete this project as planned. Over the years I have gathered ample evidence that I can pretty much write a song about anything, regardless of my state of mind. I know that I can be disciplined to create every day, well at least for a hundred days. What's another 265? I've already recruited a small army of supporters and cheerleaders. I've already got ideas for at least half of the songs. I've fine tuned my work environment, and have already adopted some new, productive habits.

There is also, however, a pesky little voice in my head that likes to remind me of the times in my life when I have failed to follow through on one of my grand ideas. I gently thank that the voice for the reminder and suggest that this task, though challenging, is quite doable and well worth the doing.

In addition to the Facebook event and this blog, I will be storing the songs on www.archive.org once they are in some sort of publishable form. Several arrangers have already stepped up to offer to arrange a song or two or more.

So, I'm ready to get going. Just standing in the vestibule with my coat and hat on, waiting for the taxi to arrive.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Thank you for joining me on this journey

2014 was very successful year for me in many ways. One of the highlights was a project I conceived and executed called "100 Days: 100 Tags." Each day, for a hundred days in a row, I wrote and published a new barbershop harmony tag. For any non-barbershoppers, a tag is the last few measures of a (real or imagined) barbershop arrangement. It was a feat that few could imagine me completing, and one about which I surely had my own doubts.  But I did it!

So, naturally, I got to thinking about what to do next. In the barbershop harmony world, I'm one of a small number folks who write original songs for barbershop groups. I have also been privileged to teach Songwriting at the Barbershop Harmony Society's Harmony University for the past six years and was recently invited to teach again in 2015. I've written several dozen songs for barbershop groups over the past thirty-five years, but, as was the case with the tag project, if I am successful in completing this new challenge, I will have more than doubled my output of original songs.

So, here's the plan. I will write an original song intended to be sung by barbershop harmony singers, one per week for the entire year of 2015! So far, most of my friends and colleagues think I'm a little bit crazy, but they also think that I just might be able to pull it off. My inner voices are only slightly more confident. The "100 Tags" project showed me that I can be productively creative on a daily basis, no matter what else is going on in my life. Another reason I have to feel confident is that in 2013, without any fanfare or blogs, I wrote eight new songs in the first eight weeks of the year.

I'm excited and nervous to see what this process may have to teach me as a creator, teacher and human being. I hope to contribute in a significant way to the barbershop repertoire. I hope to inspire others to take on their own creative challenges. I look forward to collaborating with other tune weavers, storytellers and barbershop arrangers. By granting a very broad license for the songs, I hope to inspire people to think of music and song in a different way, not so much as property to be bought and sold, but as gifts to be shared and expressions of thanks (yes, sometimes in the form of dollars) to be made. Thank you for joining me. Invite your kindred spirits to come along. I look forward to meeting you along the path.

In harmony, service and love,
Paul Carey Olguin