Music: June 2012 Archives

The Union Pacific Railroad is celebrating its sesquicentennial this year, and as part of the celebration, the UP is asking people to try their hand at remaking the "Great Big Rollin' Railroad" jingle used in early '70s UP TV ads. The grand prize is $15,000, and there's a monthly prize of $1,000 for the video that has the most "likes" at the end of the month. A Tulsa couple is in a close race for the June prize with a sunshiny, pop remake that will keep you smiling for the rest of the week.

The lyrics are by Bill Fries, the music by Bob Jenkins and Dick Proulx. Fries, an ad copywriter, went on a few years later, under the stage name C. W. McCall, to team up with Chip Davis on a hit song called "Convoy."

Here's the original version, from 1970, filmed in North Platte, Nebraska, using UP employees (some with very big hair indeed) singing a line of lyrics each.

Tulsa musicians Jarrod and Jaime Gollihare are either in 1st or a close 2nd for the June contest. Jarrod is the drummer with the power-pop band Admiral Twin; you may also remember him as a writer for Urban Tulsa Weekly. Their version of the song features the two of them in their mid-century modern apartment playing glasses, suitcases, bottles, a squeaky door, blinds, a pie plate, slide guitar, ukulele, and a xylophone. It's a catchy arrangement with clever visuals (including, briefly, the animal masks you see below). I'd love to see and hear more videos like this one from Jarrod and Jaime. (Maybe a remake of "Tulsa Straight Ahead"?)

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As I write this, Jarrod and Jamie have 196 likes, just two behind the leader. I hope you'll take a minute to click through, listen, and show your support by registering and liking their video.

  • Who: Tulsa Boy Singers 2012 Spring Concert
  • When: Tonight, 7:30 pm, Friday, June 1, 2012
  • How much: Adults $10, students free. Tickets available at the door
  • What: Music by Gershwin, Mozart, Bach, Gardner, Durufle, Franck and others, followed by a reception
  • Where: Trinity Episcopal Church, 5th and Cincinnati in downtown Tulsa

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The Tulsa Boy Singers have been Tulsa's Musical Ambassadors for more than 60 years, and twice a year they present a formal concert of both sacred and secular music in the beautiful Gothic Revival sanctuary of Trinity Episcopal Church. The boys range in age from 5 to 18, covering the full vocal range from treble to bass. Their twice-weekly rehearsals provide an education in musicianship. They work hard, have fun, and learn to blend together to produce a beautiful sound. If you've got a boy as young as five or older who loves to sing, the directors will be glad to talk to you after the program about an opportunity to audition. TBS parents always put on a nice reception following the show.

Please treat yourself to some beautiful music, and show your support for these hard-working young musicians by attending tonight's Tulsa Boy Singers performance.

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MORE: A great article about Tulsa Boy Singers by G. K. Hizer in the current Urban Tulsa Weekly:

When meeting with Janet Drye, from the Tulsa Boy Singers' board of directors, we discussed a bit of the group's history and how it has developed over the years as well as a few of the challenges the group faces. Originally founded to consist of young males from ages 8-18, membership is constantly changing as voices change and singers graduate from the group and move on, so recruiting has always been crucial. With that natural transition of members, the troupe's size has fluctuated and currently consists of roughly 15 boys, it's smallest iteration for a number of years. Just recently, the organization changed its guidelines and is accepting singers as young as five years old in order to develop young voices and fill some of its gaps in the trebles of the choir.

Recruiting singers has always been a challenge. "We used to contact elementary school music teachers and they got word out," Drye shared. In recent years, however, the group's connection with those teachers has been reduced as budget cuts have limited the music programs in many schools.

Another challenge has come as so many children are involved in multiple activities at an early age, from music lessons to sporting events, limiting their time to become involved or even interested in the choral group. "We're hoping that with the new age changes, we'll be able to get kids interested and involved before they become so committed to other activities," Drye said....

When asked how material is chosen for the group, [director Casey] Cantwell responded: "In choosing repertoire for TBS I try to do a variety of music and styles. However, I always include repertoire from the English Cathedral tradition since those choirs are, for the most part, choirs of men and boys."

"I also take into account the abilities of the boys at hand," he continued. "I try to do music that they will enjoy and which will be successful for them. I think it's good to stretch them to do music that's harder than they think they can do, while making sure that they succeed in doing it."

Cantwell also addressed the evolving nature of the group. "During my tenure," Cantwell said, "we have had ups and downs in numbers and talent. At the current time we have a smaller number of boys than we have in the past, but they have worked hard and are ready to perform. To help them out, I have three alumni of TBS who will be joining us for this concert -- all of whom are currently, or soon will be, in music degree programs in college. The constant changing of TBS members is at the same time exciting and scary, but it's never boring and is always rewarding."

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Music category from June 2012.

Music: May 2012 is the previous archive.

Music: October 2012 is the next archive.

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