The Mid Night Sons
BORN TO ROCK
We are a set of passionate music lovers. Listen to us, and you will become one as well.
Who We Are
It was a small cottage when we teamed up around bonfire around twelve to compose our first song. Little did we believe that night that we will turn out to be the stars in the sky. Today we are making history, and we want you to be a part of it.
We Bring Music To Life
Nothing better than music can identify us. Our only passion is to bring music to life in the best possible way we can.
The Dirty Northern Public House @ Whitehorse, Yukon
Breakout West Music Festival @ Victoria, BC
Wood Hall@ Victoria, BC
Gold Pan Saloon@ Whitehorse, Yukon
Lesson for General Music class:
Students will learn about the life of George M. Cohan and sing one of his most famous songs.
CD player and a recording of the musical George M! Sheet music for You’re A Grand Old Flag Student objectives: Students can define terms: vaudeville, musical comedy Students can recite the lyrics of You’re a Grand Old Flag Students can sing the melody of You’re a Grand Old Flag Background:
Born in Providence RI in 1878, George M. Cohan was the cocky, quick-witted personification of the American spirit at the turn of the century. He was also just about the most multi-talented man ever to hit Broadway, winning fame as an actor, composer, lyricist, librettist, director, and producer. He began his career as a vaudeville performer with his family, The Four Cohans. He wrote their songs and rehearsed their act, and his “My father thanks you, my mother thanks you, my sister thanks you, and I thank you” became a household phrase. But George wanted more – he wanted to star in musical comedy on the stages of the new emerging Broadway. He brought his family to New York and got started.
Cohan’s third musical show – Little Johnny Jones – became his first hit in 1904. Its plot concerned an American jockey who goes to London to ride his horse Yankee Doodle in the Derby. Accused of throwing the race, he discovers he was framed by an American gambler. He clears his name and celebrates with the memorable song, Give My Regards to Broadway.
In 1906, Cohan had his second hit – Forty-Five Minutes From Broadway – written for Broadway star Fay Templeton. Many more shows were to follow, but changes on Broadway and the advent of the actors union drove Cohan into retirement. In 1937, his former partner, Sam Harris, coaxed him back to play President Franklin Roosevelt in the satiric musical I’d Rather Be Right. It would be the only show he ever appeared in that he did not write himself.
Cohan died in 1942 and is most remembered for his songs, especially the ones written during the World War I era. Despite his brash exterior, Cohan was a very patriotic American. He was born on July 3, but liked to tell everyone that he was born on the Fourth of July.
A motion picture version of his life entitled Yankee Doodle Dandy starred Jimmy Cagney. The musical story of his life entitled George M! opened on Broadway in 1968 and played 427 performances with Joel Grey as Cohan.
Born in 1900, Aaron Copland was the last of five children. His sister Laurine gave Aaron his first piano lessons and quickly recommended that his talents be cultivated by a professional. It took years, however, for their parents to agree, at which point Copland fell under the tutelage of Leopold Wolfsohn followed by Rubin Goldmark with whom he studied theory and composition. Copland personally sought to supplement his education with lots of concert attendance, schooling himself to as much of the music world as he could.
Copland’s earliest works reflected characteristics of Italian opera and eastern European Jewish music as well as influences of Chopin’s and Liszt’s piano works; despite these influences, though, his style was his own from the beginning, laying stepping stones towards his mature style. Most of this early music was for solo piano. Characteristics that became notably “Copland” during this time included avoidances of major and minor triads and authentic cadences in favor of seventh chords, diminished chords, augmented triads and a particular affinity for the tritone. His harmonic choices were often ambiguous, even when concluding with a triad, whether with an unusual choice of harmony or a rapid key change which perhaps would not return to the tonic. His early works also commonly features elided phrases and deceptive cadences.
When Copland began to seek more than what local education could offer to him, he enrolled in a summer school for American musicians in France at the palace of Fontainebleau, near Paris. Unfortunately, he found the instruction to be rather routine and subsequently headed to Paris. There he remained for three years after falling under the tutelage of Nadia Boulanger, an accomplished organist/theorist/critic. Boulanger kept Copland on a rigorous compositional regimen. All the while she had him sharpening his skills with orchestration, score reading and analysis and performing for influential musicians – among them Stravinsky and Ravel – at private home gatherings.
It is no surprise, seeing his talent and education coming out of his European studies, that Copland took his inherent skills and his labored-upon technique to enjoy a long and successful career. His distinct “American” sound was influenced less by his American predecessors than from popular music such as jazz and blues. Other important influences included observations of everyday life and an affinity towards nationalistic styles. This interest was apparent in his occasional usage of Mexican, South American, Jewish and other folk pieces. His latest works experimented with 12-tone techniques.
His focus shifted mainly to larger works as years passed. This included ballets, such as his famous Billy the Kid (1934) and the renowned Appalachian Spring (1944). Copland also fairly successfully tried his hand at opera with The Tender Land in 1952. Similar themes and styles abound in these: all set in characteristically American settings and feature Copland’s trademark usage of “American” sounds and, often, American folk idioms. Copland also composed orchestral works throughout his career, with perhaps his most famous being 1942’s Lincoln Portrait (on the lighter side of his orchestral pieces). He did not abandon song writing completely, though; his Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson (1950) for voice and piano is among his most famous works today. Copland also pursued other musical engagements throughout his career, with a substantial foray into conducting and occasional employment as a teacher, lecturer and writer.
Tonality dominates Copland’s works. His melodies often feature large leaps; he tended toward perfect intervals of fourths, fifths and octaves, evoking for many the characteristically wide open spaces of America. Short but prominent motives were common in his works, developed in bursts or expanded over time with each repetition. His modulations would often be brief and abrupt, usually with contrasting key areas, some of which never return to the tonic. Rhythmically, his pieces were declamatory, sometimes in quicker tempos which served as subtle segues into jazz. Syncopation, polyrhythmic layering and frequently changing meters/tempos were abundant in even his most basic compositions. Copland favored small forms, but for his larger works he stressed three-movement structures (typically slow-fast-slow) and assembling and layering of sections rather than “composing” from beginning to end in a traditional sense. He also often incorporated pre-existing melodies into his works, whether from the American tradition of folk and parlor-type songs (such as those of Stephen Foster, whose “Camptown Races” was quoted in Copland’s Lincoln Portrait) or from native hymns (e.g. “Simple Gifts,” a traditional Shaker hymn which has realized new popularity since being utilized in Copland’s Appalachian Spring).
In the last seventeen years of his life, Copland all but stopped producing new compositions with the exception of several works for piano. This was, in part, due to an onset of dementia symptoms which hindered this ability, including memory loss. This affliction worsened throughout the 1980’s, and in December of 1990 Aaron Copland passed away. He left his musical manuscripts, recordings and other such memorabilia to the Library of Congress which now houses this collection as a remarkable tribute to a man who helped America find its voice.
Jeffery A. Ison
I still remember the night we all sat together with big dreams. It was nothing but just dreams. But today things have changed, and we have reached great heights as musicians. Maybe this is what we call a dream come true moment.We are celebrating music and we want you to celebrate it along with us.