Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Caption: Theodore, left, with Natalie.
Mom and dad applaud Campbell School of Metuchen for exposing first graders to the brilliant musical-comedy team of Gilbert & Sullivan, artists that dad himself didn’t discover until well after a thorough liberal arts education at Indiana University.
“What’s that song that goes real fast?” Theo asked.
“I am the very model of a modern major general,” dad answered.
“That’s the one!” Theo said.
But there was another song Theo liked even better, but he couldn’t remember the title. After eliminating “When a Felon’s not engaged in his employment” and “He is an Englishman,” Theo and dad went to the Gilbert & Sullivan greatest hits CD and listened to the recordings from “Pirates” until we heard: “With Cat-Like Tread.” (Gentle reader, you may know this as the tune for “Hail, hail the gang’s all here.”)
“That’s the one!” said Theodore.
To dad’s surprise and happiness, Theo took great interest in the lyrics, and mom wrote them down on a piece of paper for Theo to study:
Come, friends, who plough the sea,
Truce to navigation,
Take another station,
Let’s vary piracy
With a little burg-la-ree.
After listening to the song a couple more times, Theo went off to the dining room to transcribe the lyrics in his own hand, and after his own fashion – he condensed the five lines into three on his sheet music.
Dad thinks an objective observer would describe Theo’s penmanship as impressive, and his overall interest in light musical comedy from the late 19th century as remarkably precocious.
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Here is a link to one of dad’s favorite Gilbert & Sullivan web sites: