Several years ago I had the idea to write a collection of songs that would focus on the experiences, issues, and lives of working class America. I grew up in a working class family and I was intrigued with the notion of exploring the everyday issues inherent in working for a living. I had a problem. I am not a writer and I felt that the lyrics for my Vernacular Songbook should be of the highest artistic merit. I shelved the project until I could find suitable lyrics.
Last August, at one of our campus-wide faculty meetings at Winthrop University, new faculty were introduced. One of our new hires in creative writing is Dustin Hoffman (real name, but not he actor). Among Dustin’s many interests is fiction based on working class America. I immediately sought him out and after reading some of his short stories I proposed a collaboration. Dustin agreed to adapt some of his short stories to make them suitable for setting to music.
Our first set of songs from Vernacular Songbook will be premiered in April 2015 as part of the Providence Chamber Music Series in Charlotte, NC USA. The performance will feature Winthrop University music faculty members Dr. Jeffrey McEvoy (baritone) and pianist Dr. Tomoko Deguchi.
Plans are underway to expand the Vernacular Songbook to include chamber ensemble. We are also exploring the possibility of a collaboration with Theatre and Dance to mount a one act opera based on Dustin’s work.
More as it develops…