Thursday, July 07, 2005

Fanfare for the Common Man

Once you've heard this awesome fanfare you won't forget it. It is only alittle over 3 mins. long but so stirring and full of emotion. Aaron Copland is one of my favorite composers. His brass choir chords, mostly 5ths and tonics, just make you feel like you are not just a "common man". It has an introductory passage that makes you listen for what's coming next. For me it conjures cathardic memories. I just heard it again by Mannheim Steamroller and just after I had heard the terrible terrorist bombings in London. It brought back sad memories of another tragedy.

We were in the midst of the media blitz about the L.A. Watts Riots, many years ago now and one of my best 6th grade classes was presenting Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar". I had only done it once before at another school, outdoors. It was quite a spectacle with a cast of "thousands" all in white togas. In the famous scene... on the Ides of March...Prop. "ketchup" did flow as our lead was "murdered". The processional music leading to this scene was Copland's "Fanfare". New to me at the time. It was perfect because Julius C. was coming back the conquering hero and wanting to give the common citizens of Rome more power and say in the government headed by him, as "emperor". The senate had diffferent ideas. Yes, I've been watching the summer series "Empire". Toward the end of the 2nd act we had "staged" "a riot" of the crowd after they heard the famous oration by Mark Anthony..."Friends, Romans and Countrymen..." The cast had been listening to news reports all day about how the riots might come out to the suburbs...needless to say, this is just what they needed to become rather "hysterical" backstage waiting for the "riot" we had planned and staged. Girls were in tears and so afraid. Parents were there and had to calm them down after the scene. Our new principal was his understanding and handling of the whole "scene". So much for staging "adult-type" tragedies for kids.

Cut to "real life" and the scene is the very area Betty and I stay in when visiting London. We rode on that subway and those buses while we waited for our tour to begin and then at the end of it. What is so amazing to me is how calm and controlled the citizen of London are shown to be now. They are almost stowic in their acceptance of this "the worst attack in London since WWII. Again it is filling our media and our responses nationwide is to raise the "alert system" from "yellow"to "orange". Buses are being inspected and all forms of transit are under suspicion. Two days from now I'm scheduled to fly. Kind of scary.

What is so horrific to me is the realization that we, our civilization, is under seige and at war. And it isn't the "soldiers" or designated uniformed personnel or battleships who are in "harm's way" but we are..."the common man!" There is no warning, and no preparations can be made. Innocents die. And yet we can't let this change our way of life because then "these cowardly terrorist" have accomplished their goal. Chaos! Yes, now more than ever, "the Common Man" needs a "Fanfare!" You wonder what the Olympics planned for London in 2012 will be like. Bob


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