1 – When did you realize that music was your creative force? Did you come from a musical family?
Sandi – first of all, I’d like to thank you for this opportunity to share my “Clint Edwards Show” featurette on the musical “Carousel” with your audience. I’ve been a big fan of Theater Pizzazz for a long time and it’s an honor to share a piece with all of you here.
I knew I was drawn to music at a very early age, and I was definitely a product of musical exposure. Neither of my parents are professional musicians, but they both love a wide variety of music and played it for me all the time when I was a kid. They also attended a great deal of live music and they always brought me – not necessarily to concerts, but lots of bands, and my earliest memories are around the age of 3, standing near the stage watching musicians perform and just being mesmerized by the whole thing. I thought it was awesome – I still do. And that’s why I always encourage people to take their kids to see things – art, music, ballet, theater, sports…and expose them to all this wonderful stuff.
2 – What was the first piece of music you wrote and the inspiration for it?
I recall writing a lot of little songs, short classical pieces, and other juvenilia from about age 10 onward, but the first real piece of music I composed was a theater score for my high school production of Anne Frank. It was scored for piano and winds, all played by my friends, and myself on piano. The score also featured a number of choral arrangements of traditional Jewish songs, like Ma’oz Tzur.
3 – Did you know early on that specifically, musical theater was where you needed to be, and how did it come about?
Absolutely – I guess you can refer to the previous answer. But I’d also like to add – my parents showed me a lot of the classic movie musicals like The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz, and all the Disney movie musicals. I can remember very early on being interested in who “Rodgers and Hammerstein” were and how they made these seemingly magical creations.
4 – Did you ever think about singing as you were writing and if not, why?
Haha! I wish I could sing! But alas, I cannot. I love lyrics and do my best to always know all the words to the songs I’m playing in order to correctly interpret the pieces – but I’ve only got a singing voice good enough to serenade my 4-year old daughter each night.
5 – When you decide to write something, how do you select a theme or a topic….be specific.
The root of each of my theatrical pieces is the musical feeling I get from the material. It doesn’t need to be typical or obvious, in fact I usually shy away from those kinds of topics, but I’ve always got to find a strong source of musical expression within the subject.
For instance, taking my musical Whitman’s War – as I researched and crafted the piece, a process that took many months, I always had this strong feeling for Walt Whitman’s calling out for the “Affection” among people to be the binding force of democratic society. Now, there is no poem by Walt Whitman called “Affection” or anything like that, but as I made the piece, I wrote a song called that and based it on countless instances in his writing where that theme bubbled in the words – either explicitly, or inherently. It’s actually the glue of that whole piece.
6 – Let’s just say that music wasn’t in the cards for you, did you ever think about doing anything else with your life/what?
Aahh – I’m scared to think of that. Lol. I’d most likely be a historian. It’s actually something akin to what I’m doing with my Patreon/YouTube show “The Clint Edwards Show” – which is largely based around exploring the background history of our great musicals and their creators. I guess it’s all tied back to wanting to know who those guys R&H were, and how they did what they did.
7 – Do you have any hobbies . . .
Luckily, I’ve always found music to be a very deep well of exploration – whether composing, arranging, practicing piano, or any of the other myriad things that go into my musical life – there’s always lots to keep me occupied. But when I’m not doing musical things, I do love to travel, read novels and history books, watch Rupaul’s Dragrace, make new craft projects with my daughter, and go for walks with my two best buddies – my two golden retrievers Grace and Huckleberry (named by my daughter for “Moon River – my Huckleberry friend”).