Monday, September 21, 2009

A New Yuleblog Update? Really?

Yeah, really! Let me see if I remember how to do this...

Several months ago, I decided to make a few changes in my life. I wanted to work less behind the computer, get into a diet and exercise regiment to lose some weight, work on ten different projects that I have neglected for far too long, and participate in two special projects with two lucky rolls of the dice.

My batting average so far: 3 for 14 = .214 average.

I succeeded in working less on the computer and did start working out at the gym right before school ended and summer began. Have you ever tried to take your three kids to the gym for a workout? It ain't pretty. However, a month ago, my youngest daughter began kindergarten and I've been hitting the gym pretty regularly. It's a work in progress.

The ten projects I wanted to accomplish are mundane things like what to transfer to DVD from my 1,500+ VHS tapes in my collection, etc.. There were a few Christmas projects on the list as well: transfer new Christmas albums to digital, start burning some of the 100-125 Christmas albums I downloaded over the past two years, etc..

This would have meant spending a significant amount of time - you guessed it - behind the computer. So I went 0 for 10 in this respect - a big fat goose egg.

As for the two special projects. The first came and went in May. It was a disappointment that I wasn't included in the project but after hearing from people about the final result (what a sad, sad story), I'm glad I wasn't involved. And to quote Mr. Gump - "That's all I have to say about that."

Now to the second special project. Towards the beginning of 2009, several of the higher ups at the theater group I volunteer for knew of my love for all things Christmas. They approached me and asked if I would be interested in collaborating with them on a Christmas play.

Throughout most of the summer, I've been gathering material suitable for a church theater revue. Tracking down the sheet music for obscure Christmas songs has been daunting at times. I've also been writing skits, researching Christmas origins and traditions for adaptation, and squeezing all of it into a two hour show.

One of the highlights for me has been contacting several of the artists of the songs I wanted to use. Mona Abboud, the woman behind the song "The Pretty Little Dolly" (ignore the video and listen to the song), gave me her blessing to use the song in the show.

Larry Nestor
, the clever gent who wrote and performed "Santa Doesn't Smoke Anymore", sent me a trunk load of songs to use for the show. Two of his songs (including his anti-tobacco holiday ditty) will be used. Larry has promised to even drive down from Chicago to Fort Wayne to see the show!

Last but certainly not least, I made the decision to include "Green Chri$tma$" into the show. Several phone calls were placed to Stan Freberg's office but I got no response. I was ready to remove it from the show when a voicemail on my cell phone in July changed all that.

I'm pleased to announce that we have permission to dramatize his 1958 masterpiece - quite possibly for the first time on the stage. Uncle Stan also confided to me a never before told story behind the making of "Green Chri$tma$" that will be revealed on stage as well (Thanks Stan and Hunter!).

For those theater people around Northeast Indiana and Northwest Ohio, auditions for the show will be held Saturday, September 26, 2009 at First Presbyterian Theater (downtown Fort Wayne) at 1 PM. We're looking for 25 to 30 people in the cast (all ages) and eight to ten children (ages eight to fourteen). Hope to see you there!

Since I'm going to be extremely busy with this show in the next several months, this means the yuleblog will be subdued leading up to Christmas. I will be posting some pictures from rehearsals of the show and what really goes on in the green room backstage (future cast members: you've been warned).

I have about five or six new Christmas albums ready now to add to the sharity list. I don't expect to be posting much more than that. I will attempt to post some new vintage Christmas ads that I've rediscovered sitting in my basement but can't promise a thing.

To the good people in the record industry who sent me new Christmas releases last year: I thank you for sending me the CDs and I didn't review as many as I wanted to. I will do everything in my power to review new submissions to my P.O. Box BEFORE the calendar reaches December 25 even if this means banging them out at show rehearsals (hey, I know the director, okay?).

Now you're caught up. Maybe I can start production on my annual Christmas CD now...

Thanks for visiting and reading!