The Music Makers

The first time I ever heard the line “We are the music makers – and we are the dreamers of dreams” was in the movie Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Although the movie came out when I was still a child, I never saw the movie until I was an adult (I can count on one hand the number of movies I went to with my parents).

Honestly, it’s a pretty dark movie, and it could be argued that it’s not really appropriate for children. (There’s an argument that Wonka is actually a child serial killer.) I’ll be curious to see the prequel coming out in December 2023 starring Timothêe Chalamet, which may or may not expound upon that idea.

But as an artist, the movie has always spoken to me, both for its visuals and for the message that we need to embrace our identities as music makers and dreamers, and that we can’t ignore the power of imagination.

(I also love Gene Wilder, who was from my hometown of Milwaukee.)

Since one of my strongest motivators is curiosity and the idea of “what would happen if?”, the idea of harnessing pure imagination is mind-blowing to me – and to the composer/lyricist of the movie, since they made it the theme song:

If you want to go down a rabbit hole of composer Anthony Newley performances, hit up YouTube – he never sings a song the same way twice. Some might call him an acquired taste, but I acquired it when I was very little! This clip is from a variety show in the 1970s and features him and Sammy Davis – can you imagine a nearly 15 minute medley happening on a TV show NOW?

But I’m calling this blogpost “The Music Makers,” so I’d like to reference the original poem which was drawn upon for the line in the movie, and which has been part of my identity for a very long time now.

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:

Yet we are the mover and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
—Ode, Arthur O’Shaughnessy

Arthur O’Shaughnessy (1844-1881) was a British poet of Irish descent (and full-time herpetologist for the British Museum, which I just visited a few weeks ago – worlds collide), and his poem, “Ode” has been set by multiple composers over the years. The above is just the first stanza (there are nine). He died just short of his 36th birthday.

In upcoming posts, I’m going to be talking about the subject of identity and how it should influence your approach to, oh, everything, but specifically, pursuing your path as a singer. I just read Atomic Habits by James Clear, and the whole idea of creating habits based on who you are rather than what you want to get done is mind-blowing to me.

For today, I’m going to embrace my identity as a music maker. And a dreamer of dreams. (And hopefully a mover and shaker as well.)

In my next post, I’ll be talking about our upcoming
June 5 showcase, past showcases,
and my music makers past and present.
If you’d like to know more about that, stay tuned!

Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio

Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass. As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination. Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.

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