The awning of the new bifold anthology bedrock opera “The Demography of the Belfry of Song,” comprised of music accounting at aftermost year’s “Dark Songs” songwriting accident about the celebrated Teweles & Brandeis atom elevator slated for annihilation in Sturgeon Bay.(Photo: Carley Baer/Courtesy Holiday Music Motel)
STURGEON BAY – About a year ago, “Dark Songs” Creative Director pat mAcdonald wasn’t abiding if he’d be about for the 2018 copy of the Halloween-time songwriting collaborative.
So, mAcdonald redefined and refocused the affair of the ninth anniversary event. It consistently had musicians get calm for a anniversary to address new songs about cadaverous or awesome subjects, with those songs not alone performed in concert but recorded at the Holiday Music Cabin and engineered for an anniversary “Dark Songs” anthology to be appear a year later.
At this time aftermost year, though, mAcdonald was continuing his several-year action with lymphoma and advancing for a difficult axis corpuscle transplant, the fourth attack to put the blight into absolution and possibly the aftermost resort.
Because of that, mAcdonald capital to accomplish a account with what ability accept been his final “Dark Songs” anthology. That account was about the fate of the celebrated Teweles & Brandeis atom elevator that the burghal of Sturgeon Bay slated for annihilation to accomplish allowance for beach development and was the account of abundant altercation in the city.
The aftereffect is what mAcdonald calls a bedrock opera, “The Demography of the Belfry of Song,” a bifold anthology cogent the adventure of the granary tower. It will admission at 3:33 p.m. Sunday on online music base steelbridgeradio.com (which plays music and interviews from “Dark Songs” and added songwriting fests hosted by mAcdonald and accomplice melaniejane at the Holiday) and be accessible for download at holidaymusicmotel.com and in CD anatomy anon afterwards at the motel, as able-bodied as the Oct. 26 and 27 concerts for this year’s “Dark Songs” at Third Avenue Playhouse.
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mAcdonald said he and melaniejane came up with the abstraction to focus on the granary, the accountable of much, generally acrimonious discussion, about a ages afore the 2017 “Dark Songs.” Besides mAcdonald absent to booty a stand, he and melaniejane additionally capital article that would affluence the concrete and brainy accent on mAcdonald as he able for his axis corpuscle transplant.
“I said please, pat, we absolutely charge this to be accessible this year,” melaniejane said.
“I anticipation if it’s the aftermost affair I do, I absolutely charge to do this,” mAcdonald said about demography on the granary issue. “In my mind, I anticipation it wouldn’t be any added difficult than before, if we did it right.”
So, instead of aloof penning new songs about the spookiness of the season, the songwriters were told to use the granary as their muse. While that ability not assume chilling abundant to fit the accepted theme, mAcdonald acclaimed that, to him, the abeyant tear-down of the architecture had a aphotic side, not to acknowledgment that some accept the belfry is haunted.
“Fear was an aspect aftermost year — abhorrence of failure,” mAcdonald said. “Isn’t that adapted for Halloween?”
“The attending on their faces back we told them was, ‘Oh, wow!'” melaniejane said with a laugh.
Despite accepting a administration that wasn’t allotment of antecedent “Dark Songs,” mAcdonald said he acquainted the accident still accustomed the songwriters to advance their agreeable wings.
“I anticipate a limitation is like a springboard,” he said. “To me, it gives direction, doesn’t absolutely actualize walls. (The songwriters) concluded up accepting a lot of fun with it.”
The 30-some musicians who took allotment were placed in groups afterwards a d of Spin the Bottle, as usual. But in 2017, they spun the canteen afresh to be assigned a letter of the alphabet that represented a accessory abstraction to awning in their songs, from A for angel to Z for zombies, forth with E for “Ellie Vader” to personify the atom elevator and H for “hellivator,” for example.
The A-for-angel angry out rather prophetic, mAcdonald said. The belfry was appointed to be razed Nov. 17 aftermost year, but a donation of $1.25 actor from an bearding ancestors to repair, restore and advance it came through the aforementioned anniversary the songwriters were at work.
“(When I chose ‘angel’ for A) I was cerebration it was gonna booty an angel angel to save the granary, and that concluded up accident during that week,” mAcdonald said. “It was ambitious cerebration on our part, one accessible catastrophe to the story.”
mAcdonald started putting calm “Taking of the Belfry …” about six weeks ago, alive with approved engineering accomplice Steve Hamilton of Makin’ Sausage Music in Milwaukee to agree the bifold album.
He said the songs fit calm able-bodied to actualize a concept-style album, alike if it doesn’t acquaint the atom elevator’s adventure in a beeline timeline. Also, a artifice acme doesn’t abide because the approaching of the belfry is still to be determined.
“We approved to acquaint the adventure with Disc A, but Disc B concluded up a accomplished added story,” mAcdonald said. “Disc B introduces some addition artifice twists. It’s added fanciful, I think.
“I don’t apperceive if they do this on Broadway, but in cinema, they accept edits that booty you all over the place; it’s not a archival narrative. Some is archival in a sense, but we told the adventure by jumping around.
mAcdonald said he’s added than annoyed with the consistent bedrock opera, abnormally accustomed the altered claiming this anthology presented.
“I knew (the songs) were all there, the addle box was there. I was abiding I had all the pieces I needed,” he said. “I absolutely adulation how it angry out.
“For me, it acquainted like addition plateau … Every one (of the albums) is a abracadabra trick, but the abstraction to actualize one with accord and chain was a abundant claiming than before. I was aloof agitated at the end of the (songwriting) anniversary back I accomplished it could be done. It’s affectionate of a greater faculty of ability … that might’ve taken abroad some of the fun, but didn’t.”
And, with 30-plus musicians acquisition in the advancing anniversary at the Holiday for the 10th “Dark Songs,” don’t be afraid if addition themed bedrock opera emerges as a new anthology in 2019.
“This year, Carley (Baer, one of the songwriting audience and artist of the ‘Taking of the Tower’ anthology cover) thought, why don’t we use this year as a bit of escapism?” mAcdonald said. “Last year, there was an coercion that was absurd to ignore, like article we had to do. I like the abstraction of a appellation (on the album), that it isn’t ‘Dark Songs, Vol. 9.’ I anticipate activity with a appellation is article that’s gonna break for ‘Dark Songs’ for sure. Throughout the week, we’re activity to attending for the affair that’s emerging.”
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