Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I drove to Wilmington this morning- it was the Bishop's Advent Day apart. Traffic was heavy, and I felt even more grateful than usual for my five minute commute from home to church. I listened to NPR, and this morning was blessed by a piece on the peanuts Christmas special.

Turns out the Christmas special has quite a story behind it. The creator of this animated event was searching for just the right score of music. (Can't you hear the tune just because I have mentioned it?) The creator was driving to work one morning, and heard a jazz piece that had done something few instrumental jazz pieces do: become widely popular and crossed over to popular radio.

I cannot remember the name of the creator (it was not George Shultz) so I'll just call him Pete. Pete was so enamored by this piece of music, that he decided to track down the musician and commission him to compose the theme music for the Peanuts Christmas special. As Pete was describing the magical moment when he first heard the composition played over the telephone for him, I found myself thinking.... how does a person have such confidence in themselves that they have the audacity to think that they can track down a musician they hear on the radio and ask them to compose a piece for them? It turns out that the musician was a working class musician who still played small night clubs and was just trying to earn a living. Of course he agreed to be commissioned.

Pete sounds like a regular guy, and from the description of how the network reacted to his production by predicting failure, he was not a golden boy. At least, not yet. That may have happened after it took 50% of the national ratings the first night it aired. But when he was driving to work, listening to a cross over jazz hit, he was just a guy working on a new concept for his employer. A guy who thought it perfectly reasonable to go find a jazz musician and commission him...

Would it ever occur to me to go track down a musician and ask him to compose a new piece for a project I am working on? Until this morning, it would not have. But now that I think about it, that is only because of my own expectations and self image. Clearly, I limit myself significantly. I think inside the box far more often than I realize or care to admit.

Who knows...there may be artists and performers just waiting to be asked to be part of my next project!