When I was a student at Indiana University Jacob’s School of Music, I took an excellent class called “The Songs of Gershwin, Kern, and Berlin”, taught by Jeffrey Magee. For our final project, we had to collaborate with a classmate and write a song in the style of one of these composers. My classmate and fellow tenor Timothy Ritchie and I were intrigued by the use of classical and operatic themes by Irving Berlin in songs such as “That Mesmerizing Mendelssohn Tune” and “That Opera Rag”, so we set out to write a comedic song that incorporated not only musical themes of the great opera composer Richard Wagner, but which also featured a Valkyrie, the women warrior often depicted with the horned hat, breastplate, and sword.
We had loads of fun writing together. He wrote the lyrics and I wrote the music and I ended up writing a few of the lyrics, too. The song ended up being about a guy who is frustrated with his opera singer wife for always wearing her Valkyrie costume at home. At the beginning and end of the song, I incorporated Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries Theme in the lower piano part, and the Cry of the Valkyries Theme in the higher piano. Everyone had to perform their song as part of our final grade, and fortunately our classmates laughed and gave us a huge ovation for the song.
Even though our song was well received, I was a bit embarrassed by the song, and shelved it for several years. Then one night I was telling my actress/playwright friend Ann Randolph about it, and she asked me to sing it to her over the phone. She thought it was hilarious and encouraged to me to bring the song back out. So I performed it on my Euphoric Owls CD Release Show at the Buskirk-Chumley, and it was a big hit!
So now we are one shoot away from finishing a music video of My Favorite Valkyrie. For the video we extended the story line a bit, making the guy singing the song a racing fan, who in addition to pleading to his wife to relax at home and take her horned hat off, is also asking her to come to the race track with him. Listen to the song above, and check out some photos below that give a sneak peek to the upcoming video!
NASCAR Fan/Co-Director- Timothy Reed
Valkyrie- Emily Solt McGee
Co-Director- David Wade
Co-Director/Videographer- Caz Tanner
Dummy- Bobby Knight
Video Assistants- Kathie Green, Melissa Jenkins, Haley Brown