I Hate You When I Just Realized Song Interview – A Song For The World – Herb Allen And The Colwell Brothers

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Interview – A Song For The World – Herb Allen And The Colwell Brothers

Frank McGee has created a powerful and captivating book detailing what began as a group of young people seeking peace and friendship around the world, later becoming known as the “Up With People” movement. Although it originated in the US, it is better known abroad. I enjoyed A Song for the World so much that I had to ask for an interview, but who to ask? This is a very collaborative effort, and Frank McGee is to be congratulated on his efforts, it is clear that he had help and encouragement from other people. Throwing caution to the wind I opened it up to anyone who could participate.

Hello everyone, I’d like to start with a few questions for Frank. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Frank: Nice, Simon, and I’ll wait. I grew up in Oregon, and after World War II ended I got involved in relief work, part of it through music and theater. It took me to other countries. I became a photojournalist in the early 1960s in Brazil. Then came writing, which became my career.

In the late sixties I edited Pace magazine, a contemporary of Look and Life at the time. In the seventies I started and edited New Worlds, Orange County, California’s leading magazine, and wrote a coffee-table book for the University of California at Irvine about the school’s first quarter century. I also published the official program for the Bushmills Grand Prix Offshore Powerboat Race, which took place out of Newport Beach. I was told that the half million broadcast of the event was the largest in sports history. Let’s hear it for Irish whiskey!

Fortunately I got married. My wife, Helen, daughter of an English major and literature professor at Carleton College, has been my creative partner from the beginning.

Where did you get the idea for the book?

Frank: In early 2003 we were at a gathering with longtime friends when a lawyer in Oakland spoke about the horrors facing young people in her city. “There should be a book about the Colwell brothers and Herb Allen,” she said. Someone asked, “Who can write?” I knew right away that this was a story for me. But I had little idea of ​​its implications then.

What I did know was that the Colwells and Allens had done what no one else had done. He did as much at home as he did in the Japanese diet of African chiefs or in the courtyard of Carnegie Hall. But as the book project progressed, through interviews, reading hundreds of letters, and collecting memories of people who had touched the world by these remarkable artists, I realized that this was not just an amazing story, but a fascinating glimpse into it. There are still things to be done. It turned out to be a real-life adventure story, perhaps adventure enough for all-old-now Harry Potter readers.

A Song for the World is very well written, is this your first foray into the literary world?

Frank: I think, Simon, if you haven’t heard of me, the obvious answer should be “yes.” I have edited, written, and translated ghost-written books and anthologies into many languages. But A Song for the World is the most important story I’ve been given to tell, and the most rewarding for me as a writer. Interestingly, this is a story that no one knew, not even those who have followed these musicians for years.

I have a question that I would like to ask any of you. I love the photos, someone is a pack rat for all of them. who is that And how on earth did you manage to keep all these photos and souvenirs while constantly touring?

Steve Colwell: Our mother, bless her soul. We regularly sent letters, photos and some artwork home.

Frank: When we started the book project, we heard from people in Anchorage and Helsinki, Zurich and Oslo, London and Cape Town, who took down pictures and offered to share them. And yes, Mom Colwell’s treasure box was a real bonanza. It was there that I found the great photo on the cover of the book. We have since searched in vain to trace the photographer.

You went on tour for a month and came back after 10 years! I am sure it should be a record. You had a better future in the US, yet you decided to leave. Any regrets?

Steve Colwell: The decision to continue the program was not without deep thought and some pain. Who knows where our music career or any other career would have taken us had we stayed at home. The entertainment business is very competitive, even in those days. We could have reached the top of our field or our young career could have been a flash in the pan. In any case, as I say in the book, I don’t see how money or fame can be more fulfilling and exciting and challenging than pursuing the noble quest of using our music to create a better world. In my mind this is our destiny, what we were born to do, and I think we all knew it deep down.

Just a wild guess, how many people have you entertained over the years? I bet that’s a pretty big number. I took a straw poll of people I know, and I hate to say it, but your organization is relatively unknown by North Americans, yet known by people in other countries. Does it bother you?

Steve Colwell: No, it doesn’t bother me, because I’m glad other countries have responded the way they have. Up With People has performed at four Super Bowl half-times, several network TV specials, iconic venues like the Hollywood Bowl and Carnegie Hall, and thousands of concerts across the US, so you might ask why more Americans don’t know about it. I think the size of our country and competition for the entertainment dollar plays a role. In small, homogenous countries like Belgium and Japan, the word gets around faster.

John Ruffin, Publisher, Many Roads Publishing: Up with people in North America Name recognition varies, perhaps geographically, but I have to say I’ve been more impressed than expected by recent gatherings of people who know or remember UWP. I bet that in any group of 20 people in the US aged 35-60, at least 2 people know about UWP. I’ve randomly checked this out and found people either breaking into song (up, with people, you meet them everywhere you go…) or “I wish I traveled with them” or “my neighbor (or neighbor’s kid) ). traveled with them.” In the 60s-70s and beyond we took the show numerous times to every state and major city in the US, played at every major college or university (Harvard, Yale, Berkeley, etc.), military bases and academies, did four national TV shows. And four Super Bowls, seven World’s Fairs. So while Brothers and Herb aren’t household names, Up With People often makes connections.

If you had to choose the high point of your career, what would it be?

Steve Colwell: There are many, but I’ve always looked back on our Italian tour in 1968 as special and enjoyable. All songs and spoken words were in Italian. We all speak Italian to one degree or another. The herb is fluent. We wrote songs that glorified some of the major cities. “Bis, bis, bis,” the crowd would hardly let us pass. (more, more, more)

And of course, I have to ask what is less?

Steve Colwell: Touring in the early 60’s with no preconceived idea for the next challenge or project. A feeling of being partially burned out, confused, that maybe we’re going to make our way, kind of stuck.

Today’s world is as unstable as yesterday’s, in many ways more so, what are the ‘up with people’ doing today? Still touring? Still a messenger of peace?

Steve Colwell: Yeah, two casts of about 80 each doing the tour. Because our country and world are so polarized by fear and hatred, especially in the Middle East, understanding, personal responsibility, and renewed hope for a better world are needed now more than ever.

John Ruffin: I think so, without question. As you say, the times are more challenging and there are more reasons for the “diplomacy of music” that speaks to a deeper connection, understanding and alliance between all peoples on the planet. We need to put more heart, care and intelligence (in the head kind) into how we reach each other in the world, and UWP is once again at the forefront of this effort. It has recently been reorganized to become more focused and agile in both participant education and response to global issues, and the two new races represent dozens of nations from all continents. Colwells and Herb began demonstrating the “power of music” 50 years ago and truly set the standard in many ways. Current purveyors of “diplomacy” in this country need to take at least one chapter of this book (as well as the new UWP program) as new approaches/guidelines for truly effective outreach to the world, if not too late.

Frank: Two Up With People companies are touring as we speak. But for me the idea of ​​Up with People is now the world. Today this is demonstrated to varying degrees through the lives of 20,000 alumni involved in education, media, public service, entertainment, government and business. It’s an idea that’s proving contagious.

I’ve got what I think are two “big” thoughts about these four men and this book. The first is that his story demonstrates the transformative power of music. Four probably didn’t put it that way and never claimed it, but I believe it’s true. The second “big” thought is that at a time when this country has fallen short of universal love, these artists, all Americans, have shown an intriguing and repeatable way of connecting to the human family, to countries and cultures around the world. .

Just for fun question, who is the best musician among you?

Steve Colwell: Without question it’s our “Maestro,” Herb Allen. He is a virtuoso on the xylophone, writes and arranges music, sometimes without the aid of an instrument, and conducts several symphony orchestras, including the Up With People show. He also has a perfect pitch.

All three of us have had very rudimentary formal training, if any. We are self-taught. Paul is our finest musician, flowing effortlessly between mandolin, banjo and guitar. Ralph is our lead singer. If organization, detail and care can be considered a talent, then I am the best. By the way, I’m the yodeler of the group.

Frank, I’ve never met an author who stops at one book, what are you working on now?

Frank: I thought you’d never ask! I had just finished the first draft of a novel when the opportunity arose to write A Song for the World. It’s based on what happened in a well-known Californian town: high-profile intrigue, scandalous events, and a love story that ties them together.

After the upcoming book signing/concert tours with the Colwell Brothers and Herb around the country, it will be a fantasy for me again. In this case fiction is no stranger than truth. Of course I expect a bidding war from publishers.

I want to thank you all for taking the time to chat with me. You have lived such a wild life, there are few who have met the world leaders you have, there are few who have seen the struggles of these merry minstrels. 4 Super Bowl halftime shows have also featured some hilarious minstrels.

Interview with Simon Barrett for bloggernewsnet


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