Saturday, February 18, 2012

Love song: "If I Had My Way" - with a twist

Today's my birthday, and on Twitter I wisecracked to @MeredithGould "Yes. I am Queen of Everything today, and enjoying it. Step aside."

I happen to be on a plane to Las Vegas, with my wife - we both have conferences next week - and the queen reference made me remember a wonderful song sung by some great barbershop quartets: "If I Had My Way." Lyrics (from

I'd like to make your golden dreams come true, dear,
If I only had my way.
A paradise this world would seem to you, dear,
If only I had my way.

If I had my way, dear, forever there'd be
A garden of roses for you and for me,
A thousand and one things, dear, I would do,
Just for you, just for you, just for you.
If I had my way, we would never grow old,
And sunshine I'd bring every day,
You would reign all alone,
like a queen on a throne,
If I had my way.

Well, what a difference music and performance add to the words. Listen to this - a hallway pickup rendition at barbershop's Harmony College Northeast, 2009. It's a trademark song of world champion quartet "Gotcha!", which was the resident supergroup at this "HCNE." Part of the barbershop tradition is singing with strangers in the hobby, and this time a girl named Christina took the tenor part. Her dad - my chorus director - turned on his flipcam halfway through. Listen:

He says she'd just learned the song the night before. Both her parents direct championship-level choruses, so I suppose she has an unfair advantage.

But that's barbershop, folks, and that's why I love it. The incredible chords (note - it sounds like it's been Autotuned, but that's real and live - it takes skill), the often-emotional arrangements, and the incredible willingness of champion quartets to sing with you.