The William Tell Overture has long had a special place in my head, my heart, and my ears.
I was first introduced by this collection of driving beats and inspiring sounds by the introduction music for “The Lone Ranger.” Not the recent movie where writers reduced the man to a clown character, but the TV show starring Clayton Moore as the undefeatable hero of the west (aided most ably by his sidekick Tonto, elegantly portrayed by Jay Silverheels). No cruel bad man was a match for this duo. Their guns were seldom any use, since The Lone Ranger would expertly shoot them out of their hands.
I heard the stirring music throughout my life. Not only in connection with TV show, but as a piece of classical music, the introductory music to Jean Shepherd’s radio show, and then as a background to “The Mom Song.”
But certainly my most intimate connection was through my own rendition of the piece.
While in high school, I became involved in drama. Twice a year, we put on a variety show, inviting any student to perform their talent before their peers. I was the Master of Ceremonies, but also performed. As MC and President of the Drama Club, I never had to audition. Eventually one of my friends performing in the show asked me what I was going to do.
I grabbed and unfolded a metal chair, and said, “The theme of this year’s variety show is: ‘Do your own thing in music.’ My thing is: ‘The William Tell Overture.’”
I sat down, looked up, and began singing (poorly), “Bum, ba-da bum, ba-da bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum, bum bum bum bum bum bum bum, bum, ba-da bum, ba-da bum ba-da bum ba-da bum bum bum bum BUUMMMMMMMMM …..”
I paused, then continued my rendition, while clapping my hands together and slapping them on my thighs, to make a sound like a horse galloping.
I continued singing and slapping, getting more and more animated, until by the end I was crouching up over the chair, and as I came to the to the final crescendo: “Bum-bum, bum-bum, bum-bum, bum-bum, bum-bum bum-bum, bum-bum bum-bum, bum-bum bum-bum, bum-bum, Bum badum dadum dadum dum dum, DUUUUMMMMMMM!” I flipped my head back, sent my nerd glasses hurling through the air, and finished the song.