This is a “selfie” on one of the happiest days.
I went to a fancy listening party downtown in the 300 Third Tower. The listening party was in the party room and the view of downtown Little Rock was really nice.
The listening party was for the KUAR Arts & Letters, “Searching for Latini” episode. UALR Chancellor Joel Anderson came to the event and even gave a short speech of his support for this project.
So, what does any of this have to do with me, and why do I look so happy in the selfie?
In December last year, The Damsels in Distress were hired to create music for a new program on KUAR called Arts & Letters. We wrote the opening theme music – also used for the radio spots – based from “Corey’s Song.”
The first show, “Ethics Bowl” aired in January. It was about what “ethics” are and played a sample Ethics Bowl.
From left: Marla Cole, Angela Johnson and Dr. Allison Merrick hold a trophy after competing at the Texas Regional Ethics Bowl in San Antonio, Texas.
On one hand, we wanted the music to emphasize the experience of a game show -poppy, fast, bright, upbeat, but also with an edge (for the feel of competitiveness). We also wanted to put a serious tone for the idea and debate of “ethics.”
Here’s how it works.
As composers, we get a phone call. In the call, there is a title and description of the coming show. The discussion extends to what sort of music that specific show needs in terms of how many songs, length of songs, the general “feel” or “mood” of the show. This call is followed up with an email of the script. We (The Damsels in Distress) each read through the script and then together, we brainstorm general ideas – kind of like story boarding, but with music. We grab our instruments and go to separate rooms and write.
We come back together and do a rough recording of what we wrote. We write off of each others initial song, and create a “sketch” – which is a more detailed recording with many different parts we can mute/unmute. Once we get the detailed sketch we like, we record on our more professional gear.
This does not all happen in one day! This process takes weeks. Once we have recorded and are satisfied, we email the files. From here, we may need to rewrite or rerecord songs based on what the producer wants. The show airs, and we get a check in the mail.
So, back to the Listening Party.
At the Listening Party everyone that worked on the show ate delicious Thai food catered by Chang’s and listened to “Searching for Latini” live. It was super exciting – much like an actor’s cast party when the production is completed. It was also the first time a lot of us got to meet each other because so much of the show is done through phone conversation, email, and separate recording sessions.
“Searching for Latini” is about Brunetto Latini, the teacher of Dante and the first translator of Aristotle and Cicero into a vernacular language. We wanted the music to sound Italian/Italian Renaissance for this show.
Listen to Searching for Latini here!
Credit Parlor Press
Listen to the songs we wrote for “Searching for Latini” here.