Tuesday, August 4, 2020

A Virtual Chorus in the Making

Seventy participants from California to Connecticut, Oregon to Ohio have provided recordings 
for the Joe Biden campaign song project. Seventy virtual recordings! Can you imagine how much mixing and editing needs to be done to complete this? The amount of time is over the top and I have dived in with great enthusiasm to complete and release Countin' on Joe. Here are shots of some of the participants while recording. They were instructed to sing along with an mp3 I provided of the song with vocal through headphones or ear buds while being recorded by a cellphone, camera or webcam.


Volunteer singers include professional singers, those who sing or have sung in choirs and people who simply like to sing in the shower. Some sing melody in various octaves while others harmonize. What a thrill and challenge to assemble the virtual chorus!

I have watched countless videos on YouTube, consulted with the head of the Audio Engineering department at Washtenaw Community College and explored grids available to construct the video presentation. The YouTube education clears the path to creating the video in Final Cut Pro X. The head of the Audio Engineering department confirmed some steps which I plan to take. And the grids... It is possible to create a grid on one's own. However, there are some apps for sale in the $50 range. There is even a free grid available, which doesn't have all the bells and whistles but appears to be quite serviceable and can be embellished in Final Cut  Pro X (if I decide that makes sense). Sometimes simple but elegant is the best choice.

I plan to include subtitles. No bouncing balls but the lyrics will be there for those who want to sing along and/or learn the song. 

I've also been working on a press release and a list of media to which to send it. Once the song has been posted on YouTube I will send it to all the participants in the project along with a release they can send to local media. But this is at least a couple of weeks away. 

Right now it is nose to the grindstone. I am mixing by vocal range. I will do a mix for sopranos, another for altos, one for tenors and one for bass/baritones. Once these are completed I will mix the four groups along with the instrumental section. Sound like fun? Well, it is work with an element of fun. And when I started this project I knew there would be a lot of work involved.

What else could I do during a pandemic?



  

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Time for an Update 9000 plus views on YouTube!

It's been more than a month since I have posted. Time for an update with two important announcements. 

First, Happy Birthday Baby will score its 9000th view on YouTube tomorrow. The views consistently roll in and there are a lot of positive comments. They say that slow and steady wins the race. OMG! Where could the finish line be?

The campaign song for Joe Biden has gotten legs. I was very unhappy when I learned that many of my emails to singer volunteers were ending up in their spam folders. When I discovered this I contacted all prospective participants through simple emails with no attachments and Messenger. I experienced dramatic attrition and then had to do more posting to boost the number of singers.


I'll share a little secret with you. I have sent out song packets to volunteers and have received 57 videos from participants so far. I expect to receive more through the weekend. And I will start mixing in Pro Tools on Monday.

When the mixing is complete I will move to Final Cut Pro where I will edit the video. What I am planning is a virtual choir where each participant gets their own square in a large grid. Since I don't really know how many people are participating yet, I have to wait to create the grid. Everything I've read suggests the video editing with an extensive grid is going to be very time consuming. I believe it will be worth it and am anxious to dive in. :)




Thursday, June 25, 2020

SINGERS WANTED for Joe Biden Campaign Song

Carol Dunitz has written a campaign song for Joe Biden and hopes to have at least one person from each state doing vocals for the song. "I am looking for volunteers for this project," Dunitz shares. I will provide an mp3 and lyrics for singers to sing along with." Participants can listen to the song mp3 on their computer with earbuds and videotape themselves with their cellphone as they sing. Dunitz welcomes volunteers to use any other setup that will provide video and a music track that has none of the backup music on it.
Once all the video/recording is done she plans to mix all the vocals with the backing track and do the video work that will include all participants. Everyone who participates will be included in credits at the end of the song.
Contact Carol Dunitz through Facebook or at cdunitz@gmail.com if you would like to sing. Please include the state you live in and your vocal range (soprano, mezzo soprano, alto, tenor, bass/baritone).



Things Now Have Gone to Hades to Premiere on CTN



Ann Arbor's Community Television Network has scheduled its premiere of Things Now Have Gone to Hades. The first showing on Cable Channel 17 is on Friday, June 26th at 1:10 pm.

Replay times are: 
Saturday, 6/27 at 4:58pm & 9:58pm 
Sunday, 6/28 at 2:55pm & 8:48pm 
Tuesday, 6/30 at 7:00pm & 9:58pm
Wednesday, 7/1 at 8:48pm 
Thursday, 7/2 at 1:00pm 
Saturday, 7/4 at 3:58pm

Can't get to the TV when 
Things Now Have Gone to Hades is being shownYou can see it on YouTube at:  https://youtu.be/iVU4BA4WQ94.


You won't want to miss this parody based on Billy Joel's We DIdn't Start the Fire.



Thursday, June 11, 2020

Things Now Have Gone to Hades

Could Things Now Have Gone to Hades be a thinly disguised musical rant about 45? You decide – and if you find it meaningful, please SHARE.

Things Now Have Gone to Hades is a parody of Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire. It is a no holds barred representation of what a majority of people in this country feel about how our country is being run into the ground. 


The video for Things Now Have Gone to Hades is posted on YouTube.  It can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/iVU4BA4WQ94

Around the world, people are universally shocked by the actions of the United States. It is remarkable how our country which once led the free world can have plummeted into an abyss from which one wonders if it can extricate itself.

On November 3rd, 2020, it is critical that everyone vote. Republicans, Democrats, Independents. We must all exercise our privilege to vote to determine the direction our country will take.

My views are clear from the song. But every individual is entitled to his or her own view. Isn’t it wonderful we still live in a country where we are allowed to voice our opinions?

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Captioning From Now On

Recently a friend who is hard of hearing remarked to me that many videos on YouTube have auto captioning. This is a great feature that I had not been aware of. Today I learned about this feature and how to implement it.

YouTube has an algorithm that takes speech and converts it into text. It is constantly improving this. I'm guessing it works better for speech than it does for the singing voice because I had to spend a great deal of time making everything match up. But I believe the time was well spent. Everyone can now watch the videos and understand all the lyrics.


My last four parodies have been updated with this feature as well as the newest one which will premiere tomorrow morning, Things Now Have Gone to Hades.




If you missed some of the lyrics and want to check them out, here are the URLs.




Six Feet of Social Distance - A Coronavirus Parody

A Modern Icon Federal – The State of the Union
It's So Wonderful to Roam – A Coronavirus Parody
Do The Five - A Coronavirus Parody

Friday, June 5, 2020

Six Feet of Social Distance comes to Ann Arbor CTN



Six Feet of Social Distance is scheduled to premiere on Ann Arbor Community Television Network, Cable Channel 17 on Sunday, 6/17/20 at 9:00pm.



Additional replay times are: 
Monday, 6/8 at 1:05pm
Tuesday, 6/9 at 3:55pm
Wednesday, 6/10 at 10:00pm
Thursday, 6/11 at 11:00am
Saturday, 6/13 at 5:05p 
Sunday, 6/14 at 2:05pm & 6:35pm  
Wednesday, 6/17 at 12:29pm
Saturday, 6/20 at 5:05pm

Six Feet of Social Distance is a parody based on One Singular Sensation from A Chorus Line. The performance is humorous but the message is very serious. Maintaining significant social distance and wearing a mask is critical to stop the spread of COVID -19. 

The video can also be seen on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/ThAb6cbiNi8.




Monday, June 1, 2020

Brush Up On Twitter

Some people Brush Up on Shakespeare (my dad used to sport a big grin when he would sing that song from Kiss Me Kate). I have caught some Shakespeare during the pandemic. Online. 

Stuck indoors most of the time. No movies. No trips to the Stratford and Shaw Festivals. No jaunts to the Ohio Light Opera. What's one to do? Hats off to many cultural organizations that are streaming wonderful offerings online. Every Thursday the Stratford Festival and the National Theatre stream plays. Shakespeare. Tennessee Williams. And many other great playwrights are represented. The Shaw Festival, Ohio Light Opera, Broadway HD and others too numerous to mention are streaming wonderful offerings. I travel virtually to NYC every evening where the Metropolitan Opera streams a different opera every night! Tonight was Bellini’s I Puritani.


When one is not enjoying these flights into culture, there is a lot of time to pursue work-related tasks and additional interests. This week I have been studying Twitter. I have read many articles and am watching lots of videos online. Am I up to the task of getting followers (33 in the last several days)? What would be good things to tweet about? Will this be an effective way to market?  You don't know until you try. :)




Learning about all the social markets is very involved and time consuming. But at some point one needs to breakout of Facebook and YouTube and explore other possibilities.

Enter Twitter. Stage right.  Or will it be Stage left? I'm going to find out.





8000 YouTube Views for Happy Birthday Baby

Happy Birthday Baby now has over 8000 views on YouTube! I've received so many wonderful responses from people who've seen the video. To use an antiquated expression, "it warms the cockles of my heart." Seriously, there's nothing better than having people let you know how much they enjoy a project in which you've invested a great deal of creativity, time and energy.



I like to think of Happy Birthday Baby as a virtual birthday card. It's on YouTube. Anyone can link to it when they want to send a special birthday greeting to someone they care about. Click link to view.  https://youtu.be/dtI0lj1JCT0 


Happy Birthday Baby!




Sunday, May 24, 2020

New Music Video, Six Feet of Social Distance, Takes A Bow


Six Feet of Social Distance is now available to view on YouTube. This new video is a parody of One Singular Sensation from A Chorus Line. Six Feet of Social Distance addresses social distancing and mask usage to alleviate the spread of COVID -19, the coronavirus. See the video at: https://youtu.be/ThAb6cbiNi8




What will you find when you see the video? A glitzy costume with authentic black top and bow tie. Diamond studded dance shoes. Lots of leg. And even a spill. Haha. I'm going for a little slapstick with this one! I have arranged the music with sounds from my new sound library, Native Instruments' Komplete Ultimate. 'Learning Kontact and have even applied a brass shake to the trombone and trumpet part!

I did all the video with my new green screen and set of five studio lights. This is the second video I have done using a green screen. To be honest, it's working but not as well as I would like. I definitely need to improve my lighting technique to get rid of the telltale green border around me. It's not as prominent as the last video, but it's still there. Isn't it great always to be learning?

Youtube immediately notified me that I was using someone else's music. Yes. It's a parody and is allowed under copyright law. What do they think Randy Rainbow does all the time? If I've missed an appropriate hashtag, please let me know. #socialdistance #masks #covid19 #coronavirus 

Friday, May 22, 2020

A Modern Icon Federal on CTN


A Modern Icon Federal: 
The State of the Union

Community Television Network

This evening I received an email from Craig Kuras at CTN letting me know when A Modern Icon Federal would be played on Ann Arbor's cable TV station. Here's the schedule.




A Modern Icon Federal: The State of the Union is scheduled to premiere on ANN ARBOR COMMUNITY TELEVISION NETWORK, CABLE CHANNEL 17 - Sunday, 5/24/20 at 7:25pm.

Additional replay times are: 
Tuesday, 5/26 at 2:25pm 
Wednesday, 5/27 at 8:55pm 
Thursday, 5/28 at 2:55pm 
Friday, 5/29 at 1:10pm & 6:55pm 
Saturday, 5/30 at 9:55pm 
Sunday, 5/31 at 8:55pm 
Tuesday, 6/2 at 3:35pm 
Wednesday, 6/3 at 8:00pm

Craig Kuras
Public Access Programmer
734.794.6150, ext. 41503
ckuras@a2gov.org

The video is also available on YouTube: https://youtu.be/KSARHV-Y2ng.


Friday, May 8, 2020

Happy Birthday Baby to Appear on Ann Arbor CTN

Happy Birthday Baby

Ann Arbor Community Television Network


                     

Happy Birthday Baby is scheduled to premiere on ANN ARBOR  COMMUNITY TELEVISION NETWORK, CABLE CHANNEL 17 - Thursday, 5/14/20 at 9:30pm.

Additional replay times include: 
Friday, 5/15 at 2:00pm & 5:47pm
Saturday, 5/16 at 12:55pm 
Sunday, 5/17 at 3:35pm 
Monday, 5/18 at 2:31pm 
Tuesday, 5/19 at 9:00pm 
Wednesday, 5/20 at 3:00pm & 10:31pm 
Saturday, 5/23 at 12:55pm

Craig Kuras
Public Access Programmer
734.794.6150, ext. 41503

Happy Birthday Baby can also be seen on YouTube where it has garnered over 7,500 views at:  https://youtu.be/dtI0lj1JCT0

Friday, May 1, 2020

My Latest Parody: A Modern Icon Federal

I have always found A Modern Major General from Pirates of Penzance to be a lot of fun. I remember seeing Danny Kaye who was a real expert at patter songs rattle off the lyrics with extraordinary precision.  It’s amazing that a popular song that was first introduced in the 1870s is still with us today.

In recent years when I’ve seen Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance performed, a few lyrics are often switched out in A Modern Major General to key in on politics. When I decided to write a parody about current events in the USA, using A Modern Major General seemed like a great choice. Enter A Modern Icon Federal.


With everyone in lock down due to the spread of COVID-19, I am not able to perform my new show, 2020 The Musical. Here’s an opportunity to sport the Uncle Sam costume I was to wear during that show.

A Modern Icon Federal is set to premiere on YouTube at Noon on Saturday, May 2nd at https://youtu.be/KSARHV-Y2ng.

CTN Permiere: Do The Five

I am on the board of CTN in Ann Arbor. With so many people on lockdown, the station has been looking for submissions about what it's like to stay at home and how people spend their time. Melissa Bondy, Assistant Manager of Community Engagement & Education at the City of Ann Arbor, contacted me and asked if I had material to share. As a result, my parody videos are being shown on Community Television Network, Cable Channel 17. 

Craig Kuras, the public access programmer at CTN Ann Arbor, emailed me this evening to share the presentation schedule for:

"Do The Five"


Dear Carol:

Your program, "Do the Five," is scheduled to premiere on your COMMUNITY TELEVISION NETWORK, CABLE CHANNEL 17 - Tuesday, 5/5/20 at 7:00pm.

Additional replay times include: Wednesday, 5/6 at 3:00pm & 7:58pm; Thursday, 5/7 at 11:50am; Friday, 5/8 at 5:50pm;  Saturday, 5/9 at Noon & 6:13pm; Sunday, 5/10 at 2:55pm; and Wednesday, 5/13 at 12:28pm & 6:28pm; all on cable channel 17.

Thank you for showing your support of the community media by sharing your programming with our community.

Cordially,

Craig Kuras
Public Access Programmer
734.794.6150, ext. 41503 
ckuras@a2gov.org

Saturday, April 25, 2020

CTN Premiere: It's So Wonderful to Roam

I have been posting It's So Wonderful to Roam on Facebook pages which I have joined. And I have been trying different thumbnails to see if some draw more attention than others. Me at a dinner table drinking tea. Me with baseball glove in one hand throwing a baseball in the other. Me with a mud mask on my face. I have not tried me in a bubble bath yet. Nothing conclusive to report at this time. https://youtu.be/HAqz6T1DxOk


I received this email this morning.

" A Coronavirus Parody: 
It's So Wonderful to Roam" 
on Community Television Network

Dear Carol:

Your program " A Coronavirus Parody: It's So Wonderful to Roam" is scheduled to premiere on COMMUNITY TELEVISION NETWORK, CABLE CHANNEL 17 - Sunday, 4/26/20 at 2:00pm.

Additional replay times include: Sunday, 4/26 at 6:58pm; Monday, 4/27 at 1:00pm; Wednesday, 4/29 at 11:58am, 3:58pm & 10:25pm;  Friday, 5/1 at 3:25pm; Saturday, 5/2 at 2:30pm & 6:25pm; Sunday, 5/3 at 6:30pm; Monday, 5/4 at 9:50pm; and Tuesday, 5/5 at 6:58pm; all on cable channel 17.

Thank you for showing your support of the community media by sharing your programming with our community.

Cordially,

Craig Kuras
Public Access Programmer
734.794.6150, ext. 41503
ckuras@a2gov.org

Saturday, April 11, 2020

7000 Views on Youtube!

Happy Birthday Baby has reached 7000 views on youtube! I'm reminded of the story of the tortoise and the hare. The hare keeps plugging along and gets to its destination. And so it is with Happy Birthday Baby. People are viewing the video and liking it. I know because I've received a great deal of positive feedback. But it hasn't taken off the way I had hoped.

No matter. What is important to me is that it is bringing joy to those who hear and see it. Do you know someone who is having a birthday? Send them Happy Birthday Baby as a virtual birthday card. It's sure to put a smile on their face. 

https://youtu.be/dtI0lj1JCT0 (Click link to view)



Friday, April 10, 2020

A Coronavirus Music Parody – It’s So Wonderful to Roam

We’ve been getting mixed messages from Trump – but here in Michigan, as well as many parts of the country, our governor has directed us to self-isolate – to stay at home unless you need to get groceries, medicine or medical assistance. If you are self-isolating like me, you find yourself with lots of time on your hands. What can you do that’s constructive? What can you do that’s fun? What can you do to keep up with what’s going on with COVID – 19 and how it impacts you and the rest of the country?

My answer to those questions is addressed in this new coronavirus parody based on There is Nothing Like A Dame from the musical, South Pacific with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein.

A Coronavirus Parody – It’s So Wonderful to Roam




In this world where almost everything has been put on hold, I create new routines for myself. A forty-minute walk every day does not replace a workout at the gym, but it helps. Getting out the sewing machine and making face masks for all the family is not my most favorite pastime but it made me feel good to be helping keep my loved ones safe. Creating the video featured in this post was a creative outlet for me to share ideas and connect with others on issues we are all dealing with. I hope it puts a smile on your face and if only momentarily diverts your attention from the seriousness of the current pandemic.

I go to the opera every night. The Metropolitan Opera is streaming a different Grand Opera every night – which is right up my alley. The National Theatre is streaming a wonderful play every Thursday evening. Check out the CNN link below for all sorts of online resources for cultural activities and entertainment.


Please consider using some of this time to work for your favorite candidates in the upcoming election. Above all, stay safe. 

Friday, March 20, 2020

Do The Five

The world has been turned upside down. Everything that was once normal has been replaced with the new normal.  Shops and restaurants closed. Gyms and fitness centers shut down. Broadway gone dark. Local movie theatres shuttered. And airplanes flying less than half full. 

COVID 19, the corona virus, has many, including me, self-quarantined. 2020 The Musical is going nowhere this season, which left Uncle Sam wondering what to do with herself.


What to do? Use the Uncle Sam persona I take on for 2020 The Musical for an upbeat public service announcement. Well, anyone who knows me and my work knows I would by definition create something unconventional. 


Many people are still not heeding the seriousness of the pandemic. I decided to create something that was not only informative but also entertaining in the hope that it might draw the attention of naysayers still out there. 




Enter Do The Five. 

Do The Five


This is a video that explains how to protect oneself from the corona virus (COVID 19). Five basic routines to follow include: 1. Wash hands often, 2. Cough into your elbow, 3. Avoid touching your face, 4. Maintain a social distance of 6 ft., and 5. Stay home when sick


Please Share to Save Lives. #coronavirus #COVID19 #DoTheFive #DontBeASpreader #UncleSam #2020themusical

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Michigan Democratic Primary Today

The Michigan Democratic primary was held today, Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Uncle Sam aka Carol Dunitz arrived at the polls about 9 am. There was no line. Evidence submitted here by means of the Uncle Sam suit with "I voted in Ann Arbor" sticker on the right lapel. 



It is critical for everyone to vote. Who Won? Biden beat Sanders. Vote blue no matter who.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Pianos and Patriotism; Steinways and Submarines

The Yankee Air Museum, Willow Run MI. Today. That's where I learned about the Steinway Victory Vertical Project. And it certainly was a fascinating journey led by Dr. Garik Pedersen, a Professor of Piano at Eastern Michigan University.

The program, sponsored by the Eastern Michigan University Foundation, featured Pedersen telling the story of "Victory Vertical" pianos and playing music from WWII that related to the war effort. Pedersen first learned of these special WWII pianos during an impromptu interview with Henry Z. Steinway shortly before his death in 2008. That interview piqued Pedersen's interest and resulted in a decade-long journey during which he learned more about the pianos and the impact they had on men and women in service. He now presents an eye (and ear) - opening presentation around the country. 



The Victory Vertical Pianos were lightweight, 40 inches wide and could be packed and shipped in a crate. Steinway created these inexpensive instruments to be easily delivered to areas where fighting was going on. They weren't the finest pianos that Steinway produced but were certainly the most resilient. Some even found their way into submarines. Others were parachuted into war zones! They were lighter than standard instruments and made with metals and materials that had not been reserved for the war effort. In an era when many homes had pianos and many could play them, these pianos and the music generated at their keyboards boosted morale overseas. 




The audience today was transported through a sentimental journey of sorts as we heard Pedersen play swing, jazz, classical and film music from the 1940s. I know I welled up with tears at times. From Moonlight Serenade (Glenn Miller) and Chattanooga Choo-Choo (Harry Warren) to the Warsaw Concerto  (Richard Addinsell) and Laura (David Raksin), there was an abundance of memorable music expertly played by Pedersen.


The Yankee Air Museum was a fabulous place for the presentation. It features planes and other memorabilia from WWII. I had never been there before and was pleased to have this opportunity. How would I dress for the event? As Uncle Sam, of course. It was a perfect fit.


Looking for more information on Garik Pedersen and his 
Victory Vertical Project? Check out victoryvertical.com.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Charleston. Who Interviewed Me? Who Took Photographs?


At every debate I am approached by many reporters and photographers. Once the interview is done or the photos are taken all that is left are the memories. I ask for business cards but very few people from the media carry them. This makes it difficult to follow up. Enter the trusty notebook. For the first time, I brought a steno pad with me to the debate scene. When it was possible, I wrote down the name and contact information for those I interacted with. This made it easier in some cases to search for media placement. I could also follow up with some reporters by email.


While standing outside the Gaillard Center, someone walked by and told me, “You’re a great American.” Another person said, “Hey. I just saw you on TV….I think it was Channel 4.” Angela Brown was the reporter who interviewed me for Channel 4, WCIV (ABC).

I was also interviewed by Danielle Hinsley for Channel 2, WCBD – Charleston. I had additional interviews with reps from Channel 5, WCSC – Charleston and Channel 22, WJCL (ABC) – Savannah. Derrick from Channel 46, WTAT (FOX) – Charleston interviewed me, too. https://www.fox46charlotte.com/news/dem-debate-takes-over-streets-of-charleston-tuesday-ahead-of-primaryAn excerpt from that one found its way into the Charleston City Paper.

I spoke with Logan Cyrus, a representative from AFP (French media). His interview and photos were picked up by MSN.com.  

The Washington Post
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/elections-2020/did-the-bloomberg-campaign-stack-the-debate-audience-with-supporters-doesnt-appear-so/ar-BB10oyo9?ocid=st2%3A%3A%3AI



The Washington Post

The Washington Post

Reuters

The Washington Post

Associated Press

Greenville News - South Carolina

Newsweek

CBS News

Newsweek

Newsweek


Greenville News - South Carolina


I had an interview with a representative from the Charleston Grit but was unable to find and ink from that interaction.

Other stories and/or photographs placed in publications included:

Greenville News - South Carolina

PressFrom.info

                                                                                                           

Independent Mail


Voiceofthehighway.news

USA Today

Greenville News (USA Today network)

The first time I located coverage on Twitter was as a result of an interview with Caitlyn Byrd. https://twitter.com/MaryCaitlinByrd/status/1232388425703153668.


When a reporter from Reuters Video asked if I would talk with him I, of course, agreed. https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/de/idUSKBN20J1KE 

Likewise when Ben Briscoe from CBS told me he had a Facebook page where he posted his interviews and overviews.
https://www.facebook.com/watchdogben/videos/140660137147355/



And what fun it is to see coverage in foreign publications. Erik Bergin from the Swedish Daily News (Svenska Dagbladet) spoke with me and included a photo and nice mention in Swedish! https://www.svd.se/hon-skriver-valmusikal-om-att-dumpa-trump




I spoke with Emily Benson from the Bertelsmann Foundation, Lydia Blackstone from the State in Columbia as well as a representative from Bloomberg News. A photographer from AP shot a few stills. I have not been able to locate any press from these sources – but they may be out there somewhere.

Technical Vilas -  2.29.20
https://www.technicalvilas.com/2020/02/south-carolina-democratic-agitation.html

All in all, my time in Charleston was productive. The added bonus is that while I am working, I am having a lot of fun.