It’s January 21st. A big day. A new day. We have a new president and a new kind of American pride. It is an exciting time to be alive. I wrote a new choral piece yesterday called “Joyful Noise” and it just seemed fitting to finish it on a day when I was so filled with joy. I believe my colleague Jeremy Faust and the International Orange Chorale in San Francisco will premiere it, as they did with my piece De Profundis, but I will give you more details and confirmation about that in a few weeks. For now, let’s bask in the way it feels to be so uniformly happy as a nation, and let’s heed Obama’s call to be a country of people who WORK and provide SERVICE. I am inspired.
All right, enough Obama-glowing. I have something else to be excited about. I FOUND ADAM WAGNER!!
If you’ve been following this blog for a while you’ll remember the entry I wrote about looking for my junior high crush, Adam Wagner, who was the subject of my song “My Lifelong Love.” He was a year ahead of me in school, and when I was in the fifth grade and he was in the sixth, I decided to play the clarinet in the hopes that one day I might be able to sit next to him in band. There’s some truth in that song’s lyric (which Lauren Kennedy recorded so BRILLIANTLY on her record HERE AND NOW), and there’s some of it that I just made up, but that’s the beauty of songwriting.
I really want to thank my friend Beth, who took it upon herself to find the mysterious and commonly-named Adam Wagner on the internet. I knew she was hunting him down, and one day I got a message on Facebook that said “I found Adam. He is my friend on Facebook. Look at my friends list and you will find him.” So I did. And, sure enough, it was he.
Some of us abuse Facebook and post way too much information for all the world to see. Jason calls people like us “chronic over-sharers.” (You know who you are.) And then there are other quiet, lurking types who post a picture and maybe an email address and little else. They sit in the background and quietly, sneakily collect friends. They do not write on people’s walls. They do not post items. They do not comment. Clearly, they are not obsessed. Anyway, I am in the oversharing, obsessed category. Adam is in the lurking category. I could tell from his profile what state he lived in and that he’s been at the same job for nearly 15 years. And that’s about it. So, with little to go on, I wrote him.
(I am publishing these excerpts from our exchange with his permission.)
Hi, Adam —
I want to share something with you. A few years ago, as an assignment for a Valentine’s Day concert, I was asked to write a song about my first love. I gave the assignment a twist and wrote about my first crush — back in junior high — and you must know that that was you. Back in the day. So, anyway, you were the inspiration for a song. I have to say, the truth is that I wrote a song about a girl in the 5th grade who had a crush on a boy named Adam in the 6th grade, and then I made up the rest of it. So it’s not REALLY about you or about me and a lot of it is fiction. But, well, you’ll see.
I hope you find this whole thing amusing. I just wanted you to know. Enjoy. Please write back if you have a minute. I sure would love to hear from you. And — ha ha — don’t worry. I’m happily married with a beautiful 3-year old daughter.
For two days I worried that he thought I was stalking him, and then THIS lovely email showed up in my inbox.
I love the song! You and Lauren were excellent! I can’t really remember the last time I thought about the 6th grade (Wow that was 25 years ago!), but I was laughing and remembering it fondly while listening to your song. I’ve played it for almost everyone in my office and they all liked it. I also sent it to my parents and my sister so they could enjoy it. I remember almost everything in the song, except the clarinet lessons. Did I actually give you lessons? I was also oblivious to the fact that you had a crush on me.
OBLIVIOUS? Whew. That’s a relief.
Anyway, this story has a happy ending. We’re now in touch. We have reconnected about our families and what we’ve been doing for the last two decades. And, for the record, no, Adam, you never gave me clarinet lessons. They don’t call me a lyricist for nuthin’.
3 thoughts on “The New and the Old”
I was wondering if you really played the clarinet because I was not sure how much of the song is true. Now that I know you did, I feel happy because I used to play the clarinet, too. Although I was not a very good player, you reminded me how much I loved playing the instrument. Thank you.
That’s adorable! I loved hearing the song at Birdland. I’m glad that he got such a kick out of the song because it’s great.
That is so great, that you found him. And isn’t that so typical of guys? Oblivous to the end! Glad he’s not oblivious any more though, and very cool that he played that for everyone in his office!