I take piano lessons. I bring my teacher songs I want to sing, and he devises simple arrangements, so I can play to accompany myself as I sing.
Recently, I’ve been working on “Old Man River.” Leave me alone. It’s a good song.
Learning to play “Old Man River” reminds me of a story involving a wife who stands up for her husband. Any story on that nature immediately jumps to the top of my list.
“Old Man River” is the show-stopping number from the musical Showboat. The music was composed by Jerome Kern, the book and lyrics written by Oscar Hammerstein II.
The story takes place during intermission at the theater where Show Boat is playing. Mrs. Hammerstein, Oscar’s wife, is standing in the lobby, when she overhears two women raving about the show. They love it all, but they agree on the highlight.
“‘Old Man River.’”
“What a magnificent song!”
“Jerome Kern is a genius!”
“Absolutely brilliant. Nobody but Jerome Kern could have written ‘Old Man River.’”
Mrs. Hammerstein steps in.
“Excuse me. I was overhearing your conversation, and I have to tell you, Jerome Kern didn’t write ‘Old Man River.’ My husband wrote ‘Old Man River.’ Jerome Kern wrote (HUMMING THE MELODY) ‘DA…DA…DA-DA.’”
I’d like to think Dr. M would support me in exactly the same way. I have a feeling she would.