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Old 03-16-2007, 04:37 AM
  #1  
Spike
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Default OT-one proud daddy

My little girl was on the news last night. Here is the story.
http://www.tbo.com/news/metro/MGBIYU53CZE.html

Florida May Sing A Different Tune


By GRETCHEN PARKER The Tampa Tribune

Published: Mar 16, 2007


TEMPLE TERRACE - There's not much that sounds sunnier than a chorus of young, big voices belting out the "Orange Blossom Song."

Stephen Ulrey hopes that irresistible sound will charm the state Legislature and governor into adopting his version of the catchy, old Florida folk tune as the official song of the Sunshine State.

Ulrey, music teacher to the 700 students at Temple Terrace Elementary, thinks there is no more fitting or upbeat tribute to Florida's best assets - oranges, tarpon, beaches, woods, gators and the Everglades. This week, he is recording and mixing digital tracks of his students singing for a compact disc he'll distribute to state lawmakers.

He already has gotten a good response, he says, from lawmakers who support a song change and from the office of Gov. Charlie Crist, who has said he supports efforts to find a new state anthem. Several other songs, including one Crist chose for his January inauguration, are being lobbied as well.

Crist nixed the official state song, widely known as "Way Down Upon the Swanee River," from his induction ceremony because of its complicated history. An ode to plantation life, it cries out to "darkeys" and is narrated by a slave. Many see it as racist.

Its real title is "Old Folks at Home," and supporters point out that its melody is instantly recognizable and that it is a world-famous accolade for the Suwannee River. It was written in 1851 by Pennsylvanian Stephen Foster for performance in minstrel shows. In 1935, Florida adopted it as its official song.

Sen. Anthony Hill, D-Jacksonville, leader of the Legislature's Black Caucus, renewed his push for a replacement after Crist publicly shunned the official state song. He said Thursday that his efforts might not result in a bill until next year's session, after he has found the perfect candidate to be Florida's anthem.

"We don't want to get rid of this song without having one to replace it with," he said.

Besides Ulrey's take on the "Orange Blossom Song," Hill is being lobbied to nominate "Florida's Song" by native Floridian bluesman Charles Atkins, the song Crist chose for his inauguration. Atkins' song has garnered several Internet petitions of support, and it is often played in the capitol in place of the official state song.

Also, Hill has been presented with two other original songs and a new version of the embattled state song, he said.
Ulrey believes he's come up with a winner.

The "Orange Blossom Song" is the kind of tune that sticks in your head, the kind of tune you can envision happy, eager campers singing as they tramp through the Florida woods. You can clap to it.
That's what Ulrey was going for when he developed the song's chords and lyrics. He wanted something that could be sung by a group as well as performed by an orchestra.

He got the idea to use the old Florida folk song from his wife, Mary Lynn Ulrey, a 55-year-old native Floridian from Dade City who remembers her family singing it when she was a child. The problem was they could only find lyrics for one verse, which serves as both the beginning and ending of the song.

They also couldn't find sheet music for it.
The Ulreys found out that the Sanford Historical Society of Seminole County was researching the song and had come up with several versions of the verses. The club, after looking through Florida archives and the Library of Congress, couldn't find a copyright version of it, Stephen Ulrey said.

"Everyone knows it. They just don't know where it came from," Ulrey said.
The Ulreys blended together the verses they could find, wrote two new ones and sang it back and forth over the phone with a Sanford historian as they tried to work out the melody. From that, and from his wife's memory, Stephen Ulrey arranged the sheet music.

The end result was a hit - at least with his students. Some memorized it, and they all know the first and last verse. They sometimes still trip over how one verse changes "orange blossoms" to "ocean breezes" and end up singing "orange breezes." That makes them giggle.

He keeps his own voice off the recorded tracks, letting them carry the tune. He explains to them the emotional climax of the end, when the melody shifts slightly behind "where the orange blossoms grow."
He tells them their voices are key to getting the song adopted. "Legislators don't want to hear me sing," he jokes, drawing more giggles.
His classes know what's at stake, Ulrey said.

"They're excited when they get to class, and they understand they might have a chance to be part of changing history - something big, something historical," he said.

At the same time, he let the older students know the trouble with the old song he is trying to replace. It's a sticky topic, especially for a population of students that is three-quarters black, Ulrey said.
But it makes his recording, of mixed races of students singing side-by-side, all the more special, he said.

Reporter Gretchen Parker can be reached at (813) 259-7562 or [email protected].

ORANGE BLOSSOM SONG
I want to wake up in the morning where the orange blossoms grow,

Where the sun comes creepin' into where I'm sleepin',
and the song birds say hello.

I want to wander over yonder, Pick the fruit that's hanging low,

I want to make my home in Florida where the orange blossoms grow.

I want to wake up in the morning where the ocean breezes blow,

I want to cast my line on the falling tide,

Where the tarpon swim below.

I love the sunshine and the beaches, where the palms sway to and fro,

I want to make my home in Florida where the orange blossoms grow.

I want to wake up in the morning where the Spanish moss hangs low,

Where the gators swim through the Everglades,

And the grand old live oaks grow.

I love the wildwoods, and the cities, and the friends I've come to know.

I want to make my home in Florida where the orange blossoms grow.

I want to wake up in the morning where the orange blossoms grow,

Where the sun comes creepin' into where I'm sleepin',

and the song birds say hello.

I want to wander over yonder, Pick the fruit that's hanging low,

I want to make my home in Florida where the orange blossoms grow.

Arrangement and lyrics by Stephen and Mary Lynn Ulrey
If you go to the page she is the second one up from bottom on the right. You can allso hear part of the song sung by them by clicking on listen to the orange blossom song in the green box on the page.

I hope this was ok to post. I am just one proud Daddy.
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Old 03-16-2007, 08:30 AM
  #2  
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Seen the picture and heard the song! Happy for both of you!
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Old 03-16-2007, 12:24 PM
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Good deal. Congrats to you and your daughter.
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Old 03-17-2007, 04:27 AM
  #4  
Spike
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Thanks Guys
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