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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Seventy-Six Trombones Led the Big Parade!

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

One of the privileges of parenting is to cheer for one’s children in their various school musicals.  Our boys’ school for eight years was British Columbia Christian Academy (BCCA) in Port Coquitlam. As well as having great academics and strong family values, BCCA  has become well known for its strong drama and music programs.

My three boys were blessed to be involved in several memorable BCCA productions, including Fiddler on the Roof, Annie, and now The Music Man.  My youngest son Andrew had a lot of fun shaving his hair off for his role as Daddy Warbucks,  and the next year became Professor Harold Hill of Music Man fame.  While putting on a school play is a tremendous amount of work (and driving for the parents!), it is an invaluable way to build school spirit and teamwork.

As I carpooled Andrew each morning to school, I listened to Andrew/Professor Harold Hill sing his heart out.  The Music Man has so many unforgettable songs that it’s hard to single any out. “Seventy-Six Trombones” is my favorite, but there are many more: “Gary, Indiana”, “Wells Fargo Wagon”, and “Trouble” are all remarkably gripping.  Paul McCartney and the Beatles enjoyed The Music Man so much that they even recorded one of The Music Man’s hit songs “Till There Was You”.

The original title for the play was “The Silver Triangle.”  The earliest version of “The Music Man” included a young, spastic boy. Willson’s advisors thought it would be best to eliminate the spastic boy from the story, so Willson decided to change the spastic boy into the younger brother of Marian Paroo and have him lisp. The musical “The Music Man” opened on Broadway on Dec. 19, 1957, at the Majestic Theatre and ran for 1,375 performances.  The show became not only a hit but a happening, squeezing out the season’s other Broadway classic, Westside Story, for the Tony ‘Best Musical’ award.

During the 1940’s a relatively unknown musician named Meredith Willson kept fiddling with a musical story about his boyhood in Mason City, Iowa. As a young person, Willson had started off, playing the flute in his town band, before ending up with the John Philip Sousa Band, and then the New York Philharmonic, where he served under Toscanini and Stravinsky.

It took Meredith Willson eight years, forty songs, and thirty revisions to birth one of the world’s most well-loved musicals.   The Music Man is one of those very unusual Broadway hits where one person single-handedly produced the book, music and lyrics. Meredith Willson was also famous for “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”(1964) about the Titanic.

The gist of the ‘Music Man’ story, for those of you who have never seen it, is that Professor Harold Hill, a traveling salesman and con artist talks an unsuspecting Iowa small town into putting out hard, cold cash for band instruments and uniforms, as a solution to a civic frenzy drummed up by Harold Hill over the town’s new pool hall. “Remember, my friends, what a handful of trumpet players did to the famous, fabled walls of Jericho. Oh, billiard parlor walls come a-tumblin’ down.”

There are few things more captivating to many parents than the gentle form of flattery that suggests our children have some previously undetected musical genius.

In the process of wooing and sidelining the town’s librarian Marian Paroo, Harold Hill himself faces the depth of his own deception, and his longing to be a real-live band leader.  The romance between Harold Hill and Marian Paroo is much like an irresistible force meeting an immovable object.  Like any good salesman, the one thing that Harold Hill could not resist was a challenge.  Whether it was the challenge of selling band instruments to hard-nosed Iowans or romancing a confirmed bachelorette like Marian, Harold jumped in with both feet.

Harold Hill discovered that behind this brusque, off-putting librarian is a passionate heart with standards so high that make her unobtainable: “All I want”, sang Marian Paroo,” is a plain man, all I want is a modest man, a quiet man, a gentle man, a straightforward and honest man…I would like him to be more interested in me than he is in himself…”

Marian’s mother Mrs. Paroo challenged Marian on her ‘paralysis of analysis’ regarding men: “I know all about your standards and if you don’t mind my sayin’ so, there’s not a man alive who could hope to measure up to that blend’a Paul Bunyan, Saint Pat and Noah Webster you’ve got concocted for yourself outta your Irish imagination, your Iowa stubbornness, and your liberry fulla’ books.”

What The Music Man musical proves to me isthat love conquers all.  Love conquered the ‘conman’ Harold Hill so that he ended up staying and literally facing the music.  Love conquered Marian Paroo’s impossible standards so that she actually opened up her heart to a member of the opposite sex.  Love can conquer all, even your and my hearts.  But unless we open up our hearts, Love can never break in.

If The Music Man ever come to your area, I encourage you to not miss out on the time of your life, seventy-six trombones later.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide

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Go, go, go Joseph!

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

I have twice had the privilege of having one of my sons in the “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” musical.  My middle son Mark, as part of a North Vancouver Choir, was in the Livent Production at the Ford Theatre in downtown Vancouver. My youngest son Andrew  played Zebulun in a Joseph production at the Terry Fox Theatre in Port Coquitlam.  It was a lot of fun and a lot of hard work.  I want to commend all the young people (and not so young) in ‘Joseph’ for the excellent job that they did, pouring their hearts and souls into a high-quality performance.  It was exciting to see my son Andrew shine with life and vitality as he experienced the joy of working together on a high-quality community theatre team.

‘Joseph’ is one of those musicals that never seems to wear out, probably because of its theme of biblical proportions!  It was so much fun! Perhaps the most colorful musical ever!  I especially loved that amazing coat: it was red and yellow and green and brown and scarlet and all those other 57 amazing colours.

The Joseph musical variety was remarkable: country (One More Angel in Heaven), French-bistro (Those Canaan Days), Disco-rock (Go, Go, Go Joseph), Calypso (Benjamin), and even Elvis (Song of the King). Weeks later, these catchy songs kept running through my head when I was waking up or going to sleep.

The Joseph musical began in 1968 as a 20-minute “pop cantata” by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice for a school Easter concert in the UK.  Derek Jewell, then the jazz and pop critic for the SUNDAY TIMES, unexpectedly gave the Joseph Musical national exposure when he wrote: “Throughout its twenty-minute duration it bristles with wonderfully singable tunes. It entertains. It communicates instantly, as all good pop should. And it is a considerable piece of barrier-breaking by its creators.”

Tim Rice’s favorite Bible story had long been Joseph and his coat of many colors. Speaking of the Genesis 39 Joseph story, Tim Rice commented: “This great tale has everything — plausible, sympathetic characters, a flawed hero, and redeemed villains … It is a story of triumph against the odds, of love and hate, of forgiveness and optimism. As with all great stories, the teller has no need to spell out the messages if he tells the tale well…”

Five years later, Joseph was expanded to 40 minutes in London, and then to 90 minutes in New York.  After Andrew Lloyd Webber’s huge success with Jesus Christ Superstar, his Joseph musical finally hit Broadway in 1982, where it became one of the most enduring and endearing shows of all time.

With tens of millions of people having seen Joseph worldwide, the Joseph musical now has a place in The Guinness Book of Records for the world’s longest running touring musical.

As well as twelve different professional casts in its thirty-one year history, Joseph has been performed in 15,000 schools or local theatres, involving over 500,000 performers of all ages.  Nowadays there are nearly 500 school or amateur productions each year in the UK, and over 750 in the US & Canada.

The song that touched me the deepest in Joseph was “Close Every Door To Me”.  Joseph poignantly sings: “Close every door to me, Keep those I love from me. Children of Israel are never alone, for I know I shall find my own peace of mind, for I have been promised a land of my own.”  This song both faced the depths of Joseph’s despair in prison, and yet clung steadfastly to God’s promises of hope.  Joseph never gave up on his dreams, and neither should we.

Even after betrayal again and again by his brothers and others, Joseph saw the big picture, and at the end extended forgiveness to his jealous brothers.  “You meant it for evil”, he said to them, “but God meant it for good.”  All things really do work for good for those who love the Lord.  May you, like Joseph, discover His goodness today.

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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My Fair Lady

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Recently I decided to watch one of the great classics ‘My Fair Lady’.  As I entered into the world of 19th century England, I found myself alternately laughing and weeping.  ‘My Fair Lady’ refreshed my soul.

There are so many great lessons to be learnt from the historic classics, including the loverliest motion picture of them all!  ‘My Fair Lady’ in some ways feels like a movie written for the 21st century, because it so accurately names the angst of contemporary gender confusion and role ambiguity.  There is a fascinating dichotomy between the two songs: ‘Why can’t a woman be more like a man?’ and ‘Just you wait, ‘Enry ‘Iggins, just you wait…’  ‘My Fair Lady’ accurately names the ‘flight from woman’ so vividly described by Leanne Payne in her classic book ‘Crisis in Masculinity’.

More than ever, like Liza’s father Alfred Doolittle, many men are afraid to commit to a lasting relationship.  Marriage has become the new four-letter word.

“The gentle sex was made for man to marry but, with a little bit o’ luck, With a little bit o’ luck, You can have it all and not get hooked!”

‘My Fair Lady’ (1964) was honored with twelve Academy Award nominations and eight wins, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Rex Harrison), Best Director (Cukor’s only Best Director award in his career), Best Color Cinematography (in widescreen 70 mm), Best Color Art Direction/Set Decoration, Best Sound, Best Score (Andre Previn), and Best Color Costume Design (Cecil Beaton).

My Fair Lady was director George Cukor’s film musical adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s 1912 play Pygmalion with 2,717 performances on Broadway from 1956 to 1962. ‘My Fair Lady’ became the longest-running production in Broadway history, outdistancing the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical play, Oklahoma!, which had held that record up to then.

Roger Herbert the film critic noted that Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe struggled with turning George Bernard Shaw’s PYGMALION into a musical off and on from 1952.  Prior to that, Rodgers and Hammerstein had worked on it for a year before giving up, defeated.  In 1954, Lerner hit upon the idea of setting to music the things that in Shaw’s play happened off stage between acts.

It is hard to think of a movie that has had so many memorable songs, including: “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “Oh, Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” “The Street Where You Live,” “I’m Getting Married in the Morning,” and “With a Little Bit of Luck.”  The ‘proof of the pudding’ is that for the last two weeks I keep spontaneously breaking into song or whistling hits from ‘My Fair Lady’.

George Bernard Shaw chose the original play’s name ‘Pygmalion’.  Pygmalion was a king of Cyprus and a great sculptor. He, like Henry Higgins, was a confirmed bachelor and lived exclusively for his art.  But one day he fell in love with the statue of a beautiful woman he had made and he prayed that the statue would come alive.  His prayer was heard.  When Pygmalion embraced the statue, it came alive and he married the woman, Galatea, he had himself created.

The show was for a while called LIZA and then LADY LIZA.  Fritz Loewe wanted to call it FANFAROON, an obscure English term for someone who blows his own fanfare.  MY FAIR LADY was picked as the title everyone detested the least!

‘My Fair Lady’ reminded me that many women don’t feel good about being women.  They certainly don’t feel like ‘My Fair Lady’.  Many of them secretly feel like Eliza Doolittle the ‘guttersnipe’ flower girl.  ‘My Fair Lady’ reminds us that God wants to affirm women in their femininity, their beauty, intelligence and worth.

Henri Higgins said to Liza, “Remember that you are a human being with a soul and the divine gift of articulate speech, that your native language is the language of Shakespeare and Milton and The Bible.”.  So too Jesus Christ says to each of us: “Remember that you are a human being with a soul”.  Jesus the bridegroom calls all of us spiritually (both men and women!) to be his bride, his beautiful princess beautifully dressed for her husband, washed clean of any stains and wrinkles (Ephesians 5:26, Revelation 21:2).  Just as Liza was received by the King of Transylvania as a princess, so Jesus the King wants to call us ‘My Fair Lady’.  No matter what moral or spiritual gutter that you may fallen into in your life, your truest identity in King Jesus is as ‘My Fair Lady’.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-previously published in the North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide