Privilege and responsibility are the dual characteristics of citizenship. We lucky American citizens have the privilege of voting for our officials, and the responsibility to be informed voters. On this day of the Texas primary election, I had a heavy burden and great joy besides attending the post-election precinct convention. More on that note later. For now I'm talking about the hotly contested goat and troll auditions for the spring music festival.

My little sister, the choral director, will never believe it. I evaluated music auditions! She used to stand beside me in the pew of the United Church of Christ (not the same congregation as Senator Obama), and suggest tactfully that I didn't need to sing the hymn "if I didn't want to". I could "just read the words silently", she advised in a whisper. My little brother would support her suggestions with his most forceful aspect, and it is mighty tough to exert influence wearing a pale blue polyester suit with wide lapels and a navy and orange floral necktie.

We won't even discuss how I went to CVS to buy a new toothbrush, and the Bee Gees' "Stayin Alive" was playing on the piped-in Muzak. The Bee Gees sang higher than any of the preschool kids trying out for the Wee Billy Goat. An old married couple, okay, over fifty, was rocking out in the greeting card aisle.

Feel the city breakin' and ev'rybody shakin'and we're stayin' alive, stayin' alive. Ooh, hoo, hoo, hoop, Stayin' Alive.

"Did you ever hear of a hoopoe?," my lead teacher asked. We are talking about birds, not bad disco haircuts. The hoopoe is actually an Old World bird with a bad disco haircut; cute in it's own way, but probably not critical for Texas preschoolers to learn. It says its name, oop-oop-ooping along.

The music festival troll has a big nose and a club. This is all starting to sound familiar. Few children are brave enough to even audition for the part. I want to reach across the divide between my inflated imperial status as auditioner to their young hearts as auditionees to tell them THE TROLL IS THE ROLE TO GO FOR! Few moments in my own childhood were as deliciously nasty and satisfying as playing Cinderella's stepmom in a neighborhood basement production. Well, maybe that time when I was two years old and went totally berserko running up and down the aisles of Leon's Food Mart with my exasperated very pregnant mom in slow pursuit.
Trolls and goats and hoopoes, oh my! Bad disco suits and grocery store hoots... My little brother's very first LP was the Snoopy vs. The Red Baron album of the Royal Guardsmen. The strange comedy cover album by a sextet from Florida included the song that haunted my afternoon. The "Alley Oop" words and music are by Dallas Frazier, 1960, based on the comic strip.
There's a man in the funny papers we all know
Alley Oop Oop, Oop Oop Oop
He lived way back a long time ago
Alley Oop Oop, Oop Oop Oop
Well he don't eat nothin' but bearcat stew
Alley Oop Oop, Oop Oop Oop
Oh well this cat's name is a-Alley Oop
Alley Oop Oop, Oop Oop Oop
Now I will listen to some election news, oop oop!

© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder

1 comment:

Christine Thresh said...

The Hoopoe is a marvelous, odd-looking bird. Thank you for the video.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...