A Day In The Life

Never Argue With A Vocalist
September 6, 2007, 9:44 pm
Filed under: Music

Last Tuesday I had an after school rehearsal with middle school choir members who plan to audition for all region honors choir.  The choir has class in the band hall at the middle school and since the jazz band was rehearsing in the band hall that afternoon, the choir kids and I practiced our music in the auditorium.  One student’s father was late picking her up after our rehearsal was finished. That student and I walked over to the band hall where we began checking in and distributing our new choir textbooks.  The jazz band was playing the blues scale repeatedly and practicing individual instrument improvisation riffs while my choir student and I diligently worked with our textbooks.  The young lady’s father arrived to pick her up just as we finished with the last textbook. 

After she left, I began breaking down the cardboard boxes the books were in and picking up and cleaning up the rest of the packing materials we had scattered on the floor.  The jazz band paused in their rehearsal and the director, Mr. M., asked me if I had heard the band’s rendition of ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’.  I hadn’t heard the band perform it and was pleased to listen to the young performers play a rousing arrangement of the classic tune.  Then Mr. M. started running the jazz band through all their repertoire for my listening pleasure.  It did my heart good to see and hear all the instrumentalists strutting their stuff.  Most of the jazz band members had at one time been my students at the elementary school where I teach.  I taught band for seven years before moving exclusively to choral and elementary general music education and I enjoy hearing a good band rehearse. 

Somewhere during the third piece of music being performed, the high school band director came into the band hall.  Mr. M. was playing trombone with the jazz band so the high school director and I stood in front of the performers.  He and I made a few comments after each piece of music was performed; some constructive criticism, compliments on the improvisational skills of the senior saxophone player, encouragement to the trumpet section when they had to really ‘scream’ on the high pitches.  Then Mr. M. announced that the next number would be ‘Don’t Know Why’, the Nora Jones hit from a few years ago.  The arrangement was really cool and in the perfect key for me to sing along.  So I began singing.  “I waited ’til I saw the sun. I don’t know why I didn’t come.  I left you by the house of fun.  I don’t know why I didn’t come.”  Suddenly, one of the percussionists shouted out, “It’s ‘don’t know why I didn’t call’.”  I ignored the percussionist because I knew the correct lyrics……duh.   Nora Jones only repeats that line about 20 times in the song.  So I kept singing.  “Something has to make you run.  I don’t know why I didn’t come.  I feel as empty as a drum.  Don’t know why I didn’t come.”  Then the high school band director turned to me and said, “It’s ‘don’t know why I didn’t call’.” 

Ok….. I think…..maybe I’ve sung the wrong lyrics every single freaking time I’ve sung that song.  Maybe I just THINK I’ve heard Nora Jones sing ‘didn’t come’ when she was really singing ‘didn’t call’ all 1,511,253 times that I’ve listened to Nora sing ‘Don’t Know Why’.   My mind was going into overdrive mulling over the lyrics.  “Ok, Nora is singing about lost chances at love.  She was supposed to meet this guy and for some reason she didn’t show up…don’t know why I didn’t come……but maybe she was supposed to call the guy instead of meet him……don’t know why I didn’t call…….no, that can’t be right.  She feels as empty as a drum and ‘call’ doesn’t rhyme with ‘drum’……” 

As soon as I got home, I pulled Nora Jones’ “Come Away With Me” CD from her precisely organized alphabetical slot in my CD collection.  I checked the WRITTEN ‘Don’t Know Why’ lyrics and, of course, the correct words are ‘don’t know why I didn’t COME.’  There isn’t a thing in that entire song about calling anyone. 

Now, should I make a copy of the lyrics and leave them in the high school band director’s mail box?  I could write my own creative version for him.  “I checked the words when I got home.  Hey, you bum, it’s didn’t come.  Knew I was right and you were wrong.  I knew how to sing the song.  My head’s not empty as a drum.  I knew the words were didn’t come.” 

Naw, I would never really do that and the high school band director isn’t a bum.  He seems to be a very nice guy.  I just thought the entire episode was so funny because I was picking those lyrics apart trying to fit ‘didn’t call’ in there somewhere even though I knew it was ‘didn’t come’. 


10 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Geez it’s jazz, who the hell cares what the lyrics are? (kidding) But you should at least copy them and give them to the band director and tell him that you would hate for someone to make a big deal over them singing the wrong words.

Comment by Willowtree

haha! you are right! he shouldnt argue w/ you….but hes a man, right?

Comment by barngoddess

That’s too funny! you have to show him the lyrics just so he knows you aren’t stupid. 🙂

Comment by Lisa's Chaos

Give the man the lyrics already, will ya?

Comment by Tiggerlane

Send him the lyrics. 🙂

In your head sing “I was right, you were wrong, I’m going to sing the I’m right song.”

Comment by Debbie

Well – you don’t have to call him a bum, BUT, I would give him the lyrics in a friendly, “Told you so” kind of way.

Comment by Karmyn R

Play the music over the school intercom

Comment by Pamela

I would so want him to know I was right.

Comment by beccy

I would give him the lyrics. Although I love Pamela’s suggestion, people tend to hear what they want to hear.

Comment by mjd

The entire time I was reading this post I was going through the same turmoil in my head, just about to check the lyrics myself before I got to the end! I KNEW that you were right! You have got to give him your lyrics…

Comment by maggiehendrix

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