Monday, August 9, 2010

Lessons in not sleeping.

August 8, 2010.

6 a.m.

I pull the Stanleys' car forward into Parking Space #8, turn off the engine and open my door, amazed I am still awake at this hour. I turn to see the quickly brightening skies greet me, almost smirkingly, as if to mock my lost sense of time this morning.

Speaking of, let's move the hands of time back a couple of hours.

4 a.m.

I am watching the slow, steady movement of Dan's hand on the soundboard as he fades the music to silence. These are the last remaining seconds of time before this song is completely finished and ready for the rest of the world to hear. I hear the drums and piano chords that I know all too well from weeks of dreaming and structuring an instrumental track for the students to sing and rap over.

I am sparse on the amount of bold statements I lay out for the public ear to hear, but I deem this a moment worth boldly stating.

I truly feel like this recording has huge potential to do great things: change hearts, grab the attention of those who do not give Aliquippa a second thought, inspire youth and encourage children. It's really such a beautiful song and the students sound amazing, singing and speaking the words they have spent weeks working on in their journals.

"Dan the Magician (of Funk)," as I have taken to calling him, is the talented producer/owner of the studio we have been working with. He stayed with me for hours tonight, rummaging through rows upon rows of audio files until I found the perfect beats and instrumentation to polish up the song.

I felt a second wind all night. This was an amazing moment, a rare and precious opportunity. I was not about to sleep through it.

On the drive home, I popped the CD in so that Dorian and I could do a "speaker check" on the song. I was smiling so much, I thought my face was going to split in half. There were small spots where I felt like the volume levels needed adjustment, but I was too excited to dwell on it. All of those long hours staring at a computer screen earlier, editing vocal tracks and photos from the students' album photoshoot, seemed like a small price to pay for the end product.

My thoughts return to last summer, where the idea of having our kids recorded in a real studio was a nice dream, but seemed out of financial reach. We did the best we knew how at the time (especially it being our first experience) and left with a few songs in our possession, ideas on what worked and what could be improved upon, sweet memories of our youth slowly blossoming with confidence in their previously-untapped creative abilities, but knowing how much more we could do for them. We just needed the connections and the resources.

With everything that has been produced during a month's time, I believe last summer would smile on this summer like a proud and knowing mother.

Praise God that good things have been done, are being done, and will be done in this town.

The best-looking crew you've ever seen set foot in a studio. Probably around 3:30 or 4 in the morning.
[L-R: Dorian, Dan the Magician, myself]

Hear Dorian's music here.

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