Broadway Inspirational Voices (BIV) PRESENTS the second installment in “Broadway Our Way,” with special guest Jason Robert Brown.
written by Kate Chapman
In the second video in this continuing series, BIV director and founder, Michael McElroy, brings BIV’s unique sound to “All the Wasted Time”, from the musical “Parade”. Introduced by composer and lyricist Jason Robert Brown, this video highlights BIV’s unique ability to present a cohesive musical sound while providing the viewer twelve different emotional interpretations of the song.
As a viewer, I was stuck by the subject matter of “wasted time” in the first two videos. Intrigued by this, having been in the choir for twenty years and not experiencing there to be any “wasted time” in that journey, I asked Mr. McElroy about that coincidence. He said, “It wasn’t conscious to choose two “wasted times.” It was more about what videos, back to back, would work. And, when choosing, these were the ones that made sense.”
Knowing that there are many connections for Mr. McElroy and the creators of the works that he has arranged for the choir, I asked about his affiliation with Jason Robert Brown. Here was his reply: “I’ve known Jason for a long time. He played for the choir in our second and third year, and he wrote a song for us in our third concert. Additionally, I did the first demo of songs for Parade many (many, many) moons ago, and I was in the ensemble of the first workshop.”
When asked what inspired this particular arrangement, McElroy stated, “I actually did the arrangement for my class at NYU. I spend some time teaching gospel arrangements of Broadway songs to expand the students’ abilities when it comes to vocal style. I wanted to do something of Jason’s, and this emotionally speaks in a way that lends itself to a Gospel feel. It’s as much about the music, as the lyric, and the sentiment. It’s heartfelt. The arrangement took some time to write because it’s originally in 12/8, I think. So, it took me a long time to figure out what the Gospel Groove would be. Once I did, it was easier. Then, I wrote what I heard. I usually have a Gospel artist’s style in mind when I write. For “All the Wasted Time” it was definitely Kirk Franklin. He does small ensembles that have to match tone with a lot of unison singing. On this one, I let BIV’s Celisse Henderson take the lead, and she took what I arranged and interpreted the style of how it would sound. I think it’s very specific and perfect.”