A Fun Piano Solo, "Chivaree Rag" by Daniel Carter
In 1979 I met Joan Oviatt at Brigham Young University. She loved to write plays and lyrics and we collaborated on a small musical that was staged and produced and had a very small run. Joan is an award winning writer, actor and author. She had an idea to write a musical about Park City, Utah, a mining community in the late 1800's. The story is about how the local Mormons and "gentiles" interacted, finally pulling together during one of the historic mining tragedies. The idea, script and score were pitched to Sundance Summer Theater at the famous Sundance Resort near Provo, Utah. Director Dee Winterton loved the idea and we were suddenly young, in demand playwright and composer. The show was produced summer season of 1980.
The whole experience was a fabulous learning adventure for both Joan and I. I was only 24 years old at the time. At opening night, I had the chance to speak to Robert Redford about the show and asked him what he thought.
"I hope to hell we at least break even," he said dispassionately, not looking at me and then strolled away. And that was the sum total of my experience with one of Hollywood's icons.
But to our credit as fledgling theater artists, the show did, apparently break even, and Sundance Summer Theater continued on for several more summers until Mr. Redford decided to put complete focus on his Sundance Institute, a world-renowned forum for independent filmmakers, composers, actors, etc. It is the parent organization for world class Sundance Film Festival.
And I actually do feel pretty good about that experience. At the age of 24, my first real musical got about 45 performances, and we were one of very few original, locally created productions ever performed at the venue.
One of the scenes in the show was a wedding, and just as the happy couple were pronounced husband and wife, someone shouts, "Chivaree!" and the scene ends in chaos, noise and laughter.
Wikipedia defines a chivaree as a noisy party after the marriage ceremony, where, unknon to the newlyweds, their family and friends descend on the honeymooner's, beating pots and pans, blowing whistles and horms, and even setting off firecrackers. Although surprised, the newlyweds are usually not terribly upset. The bride and groom, of course, are forced to be a part of the festivities in whatever they may or may not have had on when the party arrived.
Chivaree Rag Music Video by Daniel Carter
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