Let There Be Light

| February 2, 2016 | 0 Comments

It all started with a dream. He was a music lover and a talented composer, whose Masters degree was in music composition. But sometimes life gets in the way. First a marriage, then children and the dream of a music career turns into the practicality of staying with a small business that is growing and growing, enabling him to provide a good life for his family. And so he stayed with it and became very successful.

Fast forward many, many years and he finds himself and his wife retired to the good life in San Diego. He now has a beautiful home in Rancho Santa Fe, a happy healthy family, all grown now, and all the trappings success can bring. But he needs mental stimulation and the company of other vital and interesting seniors. He enrolls in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UCSD and is drawn toward the Theater group, who put on staged readings of plays and one musical a year. It’s fun, it’s rewarding, but one day in a group of fellow thespians, he mentions his dream. He has always wanted to write an original musical production. I take the bait! That sounds like fun, let’s do it, I proclaim. And so it began.

We put the call out to anyone interested in working on an original musical. We set a meeting date and to our surprise, many Osher students showed up. After a few meetings, we saw that more and more interested parties lost interest. The early meetings were a bit hectic. It was brainstorming on steroids. The thought of what they were tackling was daunting and so, one by one they dropped out leaving just a core of five of us diehards, but this core was dedicated to making it happen.

Here we were, a businessman, a Navy officer, a music librarian, a non-profit CEO and a psychology professor, all retired, and all working as a collaborative entity. The first thing we needed to agree on was what the play would be about. Then the appropriate music could be composed. One song was already written by our leader, a song about what was needed to produce a play. The song was titled “Let There Be Light” and it was beautiful. Everyone agreed we need to fit this song in. But how? One day a light bulb went off on all of us at the same time. How about a play about a bunch of seniors putting on a show. A play within a play. A play that would end with the new play about to begin.

After that the ideas began to flow. There could be a love angle too, a spark of interest between a widow and a widower both working on the play. He’s all for the relationship, she feels she’s not ready, conflict, drama, resolution, a reason for more songs to be written. Our brainstorming sessions became more productive. Each participant in the writing process took ownership. Soon we had the first scene written, the second, then a third. Each scene begged an appropriate song. It was magic.

I wrote lyrics, someone else put it to music. It was working. We were all seemingly amazed, but secretly confident that we knew deep down that it could work. We knew it all along. Confidence builds with success and with each meeting we became more and more convinced we can do this. Then one of the group created a storyboard to keep us visually on track. Now we could see where each scene was going, who the characters are, what music was needed and whether the sequence made sense.

Now, after many months, we are well into the process. We have no idea how long this will take to complete or how good the finished product will be. The joy is in the creating. Once the musical is written, we are done, and that will be “the end”…or not.

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