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Circus Day in Dixie Reflection I first began this assignment with a song recorded by the popular Billy Murray. Although I did not leave Murray stranded, I decided to do further research to find a tune perhaps not as famous as the “Silvery Light by the Moon”. As I scrolled through the recommended topics on the Sound Beat website, I came across the category of ‘Circus’. I immediately went to see the variety of songs classified under the circus topic. I initially expected there to be a list of songs to choose from and was surprised to find that there would be one song in the Belfer archive. However, I was content with the song available. After listening to Circus Day in Dixie, I quickly recognized there would be room for interpretation, some background research I could acquire (based on the recorders and composer), and it was enjoyable to listen to as well! I decided to begin my research with the composer of Circus Day in Dixie. Written by Albert Gumble, a successful songwriter during the twentieth century. Gumble was educated at the Auditorium School of Music with Herman Froehlich, a famed music professor. Gumble would go on to write some of the most popular songs of the 1900’s including: "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm", Give Me the Moonlight, Give Me the Girl", and “Southern Gals”. However, his most successful composition was in fact Circus Day in Dixie. He found it important to wait for the first recording of the tune until a worthy enough ensemble came along. In 1909 Gumble’s vision of his peppy patriotic tune came to life when the American Quartet which consisted of first tenor John Bieling; second tenor Billy Murray; baritone Steve Porter; and bass William F. Hooley agreed to record the song. Perhaps the familiarity of the ensemble to the general public and the energy and excitement from the song captivated the attention of so many. Gumble’s precious tune became and instant success and would eventually be recorded by several other notable music professionals. The synopsis of Gumble and the recordings of Circus Day in Dixie (which I just explained), is actually how I ended in my 125 version assignment. Unfortunately, I did not begin there! For my 500 word assignment I included extensive research based on the history of the American Quartet. I went as far as including information on how they acquired their name and even other ensembles who were associated with the name American Quartet. It was not until the 250 word assignment that I began making a breakthrough about what I believe Gumble was trying to capture. After listening to the song several times, I found a certain somberness within the tune. I suggested this somberness was in the hearts and homes of the families that struggled after war. Gumble and more importantly the American Quartet were driven to encourage families to get out and have some fun. Creating my 125 word assignment was the real struggle. I wanted to touch base on Gumble, the American Quartet, as well as the thrill of a circus (the lights, laughter, and lions). I presented two versions to the class. For my final assignment, I went back to Sound Beat, listen to several recordings and tried to find my own voice within. While it was difficult to decide which version to use, I ultimately determined I would need to go back and write something new. I adopted aspects from both versions and added some more exciting touches when possible (a suggestion from both Jason and the class). Perhaps my recording is not as fun to listen to as Sound Beat’s but I hope I got the message Gumble had in mind across!