Listen to Noah singing “Let’s Do It”
The Cole Porter Society
The warp speed with which we whip through the winding whirlwinds of musical change scarcely gives pause to reflect on what has come before to appreciate its value and values.
My father, born before the turn of the last century, once mused: in his day a well written Broadway ballad or Tin Pan Alley tune would stay popular for a year. You heard them only in vaudeville houses, on nickelodeons or at sing-along’s to sheet music gatherings around the parlor piano. They wouldn’t be worn out in constant radio rotation, let alone massive MTV exposure, or through instant iPod access.
Later in the 50’s musical tastes expanded yet you could still hear a wide range of songs. Think Elvis, Frank Sinatra or Ferrante and Teicher all on the same top 40 chart.
Musical tastes shifted; which is to be expected. But instead of assimilating what went before as the foundation for and as a part of who we are now, it was as if nothing came before.
Two of my children had private primary school educations. They were the only ones in their classes familiar with Broadway musicals, the songs and who wrote them.
Our children, our nation and our heritage deserves better.
Cole Porter represents the height of the foundational generation who built the platform on which we stand. Failing to have a basic understanding of who he was and what he contributed to our cultural and musical landscape leaves us all the poorer indeed.
When my older children, now in their 30’s, were growing up I made them listen to the nationally syndicated disc jockey Sid Mark and Frank Sinatra on Saturday nights. I told them 20 years from now you’re not going to be able to say: “Sweetheart, their playing our rap.”
They could… but it would be terribly limiting.
The Cole Porter Society will be taking his music into schools and universities working with the Music Departments to expand their student’s knowledgeable breadth so that his role in our musical history will not be lost. So they too can have a lyrical vocabulary beyond: “Baby, Baby, Baby, I’ve got the feelin’”.
If the definition of a standard is a song which can be dressed up, properly attired and taken to any decade, then the elegance of a Cole Porter rendering is like a Cary Grant suit…..timeless. I study a Cole Porter lyric because he not only brings sophistication and wit to his composition, but a sense of melodic yearning and passion unmatched in very few song writers of today. Combine this with the impish and mischievous humor, alternatively naughty and wicked, you’ve got the essence of who the real Cole Porter is and will always remain.
Help me share the life, legacy and cultural enrichment that the Cole Porter Society seeks to transmit to the younger generation. We believe it is needed in our modern times.
Our Cole Porter Society is being formed to ensure the musical literacy and cultural heritage of one of America’s foremost composers and lyricists is passed on to this and to future generations.
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