Just for the fun of it. With the Super Bowl coming up, this came to mind and seemed particularly appropriate. Back in 1986, the Chicago Bears were about the play in the Super Bowl, which they subsequently won. If the world knows anything about that Bears team and music, it's the goofy video of "The Super Bowl Shuffle." But this is the music I most think about.
You must understand, much as I adore the Cubs, Chicago is a Bears Town. People just absolutely love the Bears. So, when they were about to play in the Super Bowl, it was a Really Big Deal. Huge. Days before, On the evening of July 23, the Chicago Symphony had a concert. Sir Georg Solti was the conductor, and the evening included the renowned CSO Chorus conducted by Margaret Hillis. The concert of Tchaikovsky and Liszt concluded. But then the orchestra did something uncommon.
The stately CSO Chorus rushed back onstage -- not in their long robes, but in Chicago Bears sweatshirts. They took their place, waited along with the tuxedoed and gowned orchestra members as the bewildered patrons watched and waited in uncertainty...and then on the downbeat from Sir Georg Solti, they all brought the elegant patrons to wild cheers of utterly unexpected excitement with the team's fight song, "Bear Down, Chicago Bears!"
The song never sounded so good. In fact, the event was so popular that the orchestra recorded the number as a single (!) which was a premium giveaway when they did a fund drive. It's a remarkably wonderful recording. But this, the live event, was recorded, as well, and the joy of the audience make it my favorite of the two.
One last word about the song. It's credited as written by "Jerry Downs." But that's a pseudonym. His real name was Al Hoffman, who -- among his great many credits -- co-wrote "Mairzy Doats," "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" (and other songs from Cinderella, including "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Make"), Perry Como's big hit, "Hot Diggity," "Allegheny Moon" and "Fit as a Fiddle," which was used in Singin' in the Rain.
But this is his "Bear Down, Chicago Bears!" We take you now to Orchestra Hall. The evening of January 23, 1986. Days before the Super Bowl. The CSO Chorus has just returned to the stage in Chicago Bears sweatshirts, the orchestra waits, the classical music audience goes crazy, Sir Georg Solti raises his baton and...
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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