"Music - when you're alone
Is like a companion
For your lonely soul"
--Brian Wilson, Add Some Music To Your Day
I got my first job delivering newspapers when I was eleven. My primary purpose in getting that job was to save up enough money to buy a stereo system. You know, one of those all-in-one units with a tuner, cassette deck and the record player on top.
[OK, you have to imagine that the unit above has a tape deck in it rather than a CD player - and a remote control!?]
So I got enough money with my Christmas tips that I was able to purchase my own stereo. I had that record lathe from junior high to college. The Under-Aged Woman and I made out listening to Side Two of James Taylor's Greatest Hits played on that system. It was in the dorm room I shared with Paul Joey at the University of Detroit, so we could lie stoned on the floor and listen to Riders On The Storm. From that Christmas onward, I have always valued good stereo equipment. Eventually, I was even able to purchase some.
Anyway, I told you that stuff, so I could tell you this: Tonight is Music Night.
That is, the Music Night Federation of Metropolitan Detroit will be gathering tonight for its latest event - to produce a new musical compilation around the theme - "Risk". The Federation has been getting together for over 18 years now. To date, we have produced 90 different musical collections on topics ranging from Aging to Work (no "Y" or "Z" topics - yet). If you did the math, you already know that we get together 4 or 5 times a year for the purpose of sharing music, food and friendship.
The only rule of Music Night is: there are no rules. You might ask: Who decides whether a song is "on-topic"? The person who picked it, of course. However, we do have structure. We rotate topic selection amongst all participants (so that in each "round", everyone gets to select the topic once) and the person who picked the topic get the lead cut on that collection. This also ensures that the topic selector will get the maximum number of cuts on that collection (since we rotate song selection based on a draw of cards the night of the event).
We pick and play songs through the night until we have a roster of approximately 160 minutes of music - enough to fill two compact discs. Every Federation member in good standing (that is, them's that has paid their dues - just enough cash to defray the expenses of blank CDs, jewel cases, labels and packaging inserts) receives a copy of the resulting compilation for their listening pleasure.
We have a great time. It's a wonderful excuse to have a party - and almost everyone gets exposed to some music they have never heard before. Which is sweet!
I could go on and on with additional details (and I probably will in some future post(s)) - but time is running short...and I still need to pick out my top choices on the topic of "Risk". If you have any suggestions, leave me a comment. Anything used on the final collection will be appropriately noted on this here blog.
And, for the right price, I am willing to discuss franchising opportunities for starting a Music Night Federation in your town...
(I may yet be rich beyond my wildest dreams!)