HARVEYWednesday, August 30, 2017:
Before beginning a "feel good" post, I must acknowledge the terrible disaster this week in Texas. Those of us who live along the East Coast know something about hurricanes - I survived one in New England that killed 700. But the scope of flooding in Houston, our country's fourth largest city - an INLAND city - plus vast areas around it, is almost beyond belief. One area broke a rain record - 51.2" in 3 days, and the storm is still bringing rain, with water up to the rooflines in many areas.
The only blessing, the death toll is low, particularly compared to the 2300 killed by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005. The nation is rallying to help, but it will take years to recover. And untold amounts of money. And all because Nature stalled a hurricane in one place for nearly a week.
The outpouring of help has been amazing - some have likened it to Dunkirk - because in addition to Coast Guard, firemen, policemen, and National Guard, ordinary citizens have converged on southeast Texas from far and wide, towing their boats behind their pickups and plunging into day after day of house-to-house rescues. Among the many going to help from Central Florida: urban search and rescue teams, helicopters & crews, electrical linemen, National Guard, a local contingent of firefighters, complete with airboats, and a another team from Brevard County is flying in their special water purifiers (each machine - flood water to drinking water for 1000 persons a day). The First Baptist Church of Orlando has fifty specially trained members who will go to Texas after the flood to help people clean up and rebuild. (And now the weathermen tell us, we could be next. Hurricane Irma is building fast and heading our way.)
Friday update: 72,000 rescued, 136,000 homes destroyed. Estimated damage: $100 BILLION, the highest storm damage total in U. S. history.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the people of Texas.
As most of my blog readers know, my daughter, Susie Reale, directs the Central Florida Girl Scout Chorus known as The Citrus Singers. They have had many videos of their performances posted to YouTube by parents, grandparents & friends, but this summer it was decided they would make a REAL video. And here is the story of how it came about. (Link to the finished product, plus some "behind the scenes" videos at the end of the post.)
To give you the "behind the scenes" scoop, I asked Susie a series of questions. I have summarized some of the answers; others are verbatim.
Susie tells me she had the idea for the video ever since she saw Meghan Trainor's original, "All About the Bass," but serious planning for a Girl Scout parody of the video didn't begin until June 2017. Here is Susie's response when I asked, "Why do it?"
"I want the country to know what Girl Scouts can do, and I wanted to have a fantastic video which would go viral and get the attention of Girl Scouts USA and perhaps even Meghan Trainor! The Girl Scout organization now wants to use this as a recruiting tool."
Susie wrote the words for the parody, trying to keep as many of the original lyrics as possible. If you watch both videos, you will see the extremes to which the Citrus Singers went to imitate the original set. (Believe me, it wasn't easy!)
Fortunately . . . Susie's husband Mike owns a production company called Millennia 3 Media Group (www.m3mg.com), and he allowed the Scouts to have audio and studio time. He also directed, which was, I quote, "sooooooo very handy!"
Grace note: The video was very much a family affair, with Mike's mother, Gloria, giving her time to arrange the girls' hair, and Susie doing all the make-up. I confess my only contributions were gluing on badges, providing transportation on occasion, general support, and, oh yes, waiting not too patiently outside GS HQ in Orlando on my birthday while the Archivists found an old-timey GS leader uniform for Susie.
How did they create all those moves? Susie tells me they hired a choreographer from a local dance studio to help the girls who Susie describes as mostly "beginner dancers." She adds: "We copied the movements of the original dancers and made up some moves of our own."
In response to my question about how they acquired the props, the painted pink set . . .
"To get the bed, dresser, nightstand and pink chairs, all of the moms and I went to many different thrift stores in the area. We bought some things cheap and got other things donated. We then went and got paint and turned everything pink, with some blue! The biggest job was actually the painting of the studio wall and floor. We had to acid wash the virgin concrete, put down primer, then roll out the pink wall to about 14' tall, plus the entire studio floor. It took several layers and several days of drying and re-coating. One of the fathers made the pink and blue backdrop 'walls,' delivering them in the back of a pickup truck."
When I asked how long they'd been preparing the song, I was told the girls had been singing it for three years at various performances, but the audio for the YouTube video was recorded in studio in June 2017. The visuals were shot over two days in early August. (It took the time between June and August to make all the preparations.)
In response to my question, "What were your feelings as you watched it all take shape?"
"When you're directing, you already have the vision in your head of how it will turn out. But when the final edits were done and the whole thing came together, we were just beaming. Husband and I felt like we'd just given birth to a new child!"
Susie tells me only one person from the Citrus Council was liaison during this project, but when the entire Council saw the finished produce, they were "over the moon with pride" and are planning a whole slew of press releases to the media.
Final question: Why do you volunteer to run this chorus program?
"The motto of the Citrus Singers Chorus program is to 'Instill Confidence Thru Performance.' I was bullied as a kid and didn't find my strength until I realized I could sing and that I liked to perform. As soon as people started applauding me, I was hooked. So I now give girls an opportunity to perform and find their confidence. Some have gone from whispering and hiding to out front and asking what others solos they can do! It's been amazing."
So here it is: The Citrus Singers of Central Florida performing "All About That Badge," their parody of Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass."
For a link to the Citrus Singers' parody, "All About That Badge," click here.
For a "Before the Shoot" video, click here.
For a "Day of the Shoot" video, click here.
~ * ~For a link to Blair Bancroft's web site, click here.
Thanks for stopping by,