Gay chorus is starting back up, and on the docket for this spring is a piece called “Tyler’s Suite”. It’s an 8 or 9 movement Suite (each by a different composer) that celebrates the life of Tyler Clementi.
Tyler, as you may recall, was the college student who was bullied and outed by his roommate- eventually leading to his suicide.
A real upper of a piece.
While it will be sad and heartfelt, it will also offer some good music to sing. I’ve already listened to the suite and I quite like it all. One of my favorite movements is called: the Unicycle Song.
Evidently Tyler could ride a unicycle and play the violin. Simultaneously. And this interesting fragment of Tyler’s life is one of the movements.
It has a jaunty violin solo and whimsical chorus. It’s the most lighthearted of the movements– invoking the charm and craziness of this skill set in Tyler’s life.
But the piece goes beyond that.
While the movement is not very difficult harmonically or melodically, it somehow manages to capture the joy of this part of Tyler’s short life. And then the lyrics (again not complex) add so many layers to the song.
In a few short lines, the song suddenly transforms from storytelling into an allegory for life in general. Like when it speaks to the disaster of wiping out “so I pedal even faster like I never had a doubt.”
And then the lyrics speak to spirituality.
“There’s a thread that they can’t see– running through the fiddle, wheel and me. Rising up above the trees… above the clouds, to heaven… from me.”
The first time I heard this song, I just burst out crying. It speaks to this quirky boy with unusual talents trying to keep it all balanced and upright while pedaling like mad through life.
And now he’s gone.
And I, for one, think there should be more unicycling violinists in the world, and we are all the poorer from the loss.