Monday, February 23, 2009

The Great Simon and Garfunkel Sing-Along

Back in 1993, before Heather Kropf had recorded her first album and I had no musical aspirations beyond wistfully wishing I could sing and play guitar at a campus-hosted coffee-house, I lived with 4 other young women in a rental house painted green, and consequently was called the Greenhouse. Technically, the Greenhouse was off-campus housing, but since it was right across the street from campus, we had the best of both worlds: easy access to classes and events without the hassle of so-called "open-house hours" whereby members of the opposite sex couldn't be in each others rooms past 11 pm on weekdays and midnight on weekends. I chafed at this rule, not because I had a boyfriend (I didn't) but because at least half of my good friends were male and we always had to cut our merry-making short or move to the common lounges.

The Greenhouse was a good place to gather. One week in late winter, Heather Kropf and I decided that the way to beat the chill of a northern Indiana town in February was to invite people to attend a pot-luck followed by a Simon and Garfunkel sing-along. We came up with the following flyer, which we printed up and hung around campus. If you're a Simon and Garfunkel/Paul Simon fan, see how many song-titles you can name from the flyer:

If you’ve got the paranoia blues from hangin’ around in Goshen
If you’ve been
seeking out the poorer quarters where the ragged people go…
If you’ve been
Mick Jaggered and silver-daggered
If you find someone’s
taken your place after you’ve washed your face
If you’ve
heard words you’ve never heard in the Bible
If the
zookeeper is very fond of rum
If you’ve seen a
shadow touch a shadow’s hand
If you
dreamed you were dying
If you thought the
man in the gabardine hat was a spy
If you
read your Emily Dickinson while he reads his Robert Frost…
If you’re a
Citizens for Boysenberry Jam fan
your group has more cavities than theirs
If you’ve laughed them all with
Frank Lloyd Wright
If you think it will be
terribly strange to be seventy
If you’re
only fakin’ it and not really makin’ it through the hazy shade of winter

The game is over. Why don’t we stop fooling ourselves?
There must be
fifty ways to have a good time. On February 16, 1993, at 9 p.m., say goodbye to the Queen of Corona and come to the big bright Greenhouse, where flowers never bend with the rainfall.

For all you Simon and Garfunkel fans that need a pre-midterm study break… or just an excuse to sing. Stop. Stop and think it over. Come to the Simon & Garfunkel Sing-A-Long at the Greenhouse.

People came with their guitars, Heather played the upright piano in the Greenhouse, and despite the lack of printed lyrics, we had a good time. If you weren't there, we missed you. We'll have to do it again. My rallying cry: Next time in Seattle!

To learn more about Heather Kropf beyond her website, check out
this early article.


tanita s. davis said...

I think either I was much more boring than you in college, or Northern California is just nothing like Northern Indiana...

Saints and Spinners said...

Tanita: A wild guess is that Northern California was warmer! However, one of the nice things about attending a small college was that we had to make our own entertainment. Coffee and chocolate hours, After Hour dinner performances, plays, etc, all got a really good turnout. When I had my book-reading and signing as part of my senior project, the head count was something like 80 people. I am pretty sure I'll never again get those kinds of numbers!

Jules at 7-Imp said...

That's awesome. I love them, and I think that the one contemporary band most carrying on the S & G spirit is The Innocence Mission. I keep meaning to ask you, too, Farida, if you've ever heard them. I think you'd like them.

I'll never forget Paul Simon performing "The Boxer" on Saturday Night Live on their first episode after 911, after they took some time off and when they felt like maybe the country was ready to laugh again. Perfect choice for the performer. I remember that's how they opened the show -- no silly jokes in a monologue. Just Paul Simon, singing about the man who, when "every glove that laid him down or cut him till he cried out," still managed to persevere.

Lone Star Ma said...

That sing-along does sound fun!

Saints and Spinners said...

Jules: I think I have the Innocence Mission in my iTunes folders. I'll have to check, because if I do, it's via Bede. I keep forgetting that you watch SNL on a regular basis! Please let me know if there is something that is not to be missed, so I can see clips on their website. I would like to see the Paul Simon skits again, not just him singing on the show. He's got good comedic delivery.