I’d like to start by saying how difficult it was for me to settle on just one “ story “ that illustrates why George was so dear to me because, as I’m sure anyone who knew him would say, there was so much to love and admire about him.
ONE of the things that made George so special was his silly side, and that’s where this memory begins. In the early 80s I was 18 and the universe sent me to Westfield State College. By some miracle (for which I am forever grateful) Cheryl became my voice teacher there and she and George both evolved into dear friends. All though music wasn’t “ officially“ George‘s thing, he had great talent and musicianship. He also had a tremendous gift for rewriting the lyrics of serious songs and making them delightfully silly. For example, Schubert’s famous leid ballad “Der Erlkonig” is a pretty dark song about an evil elf king who kills a child. George’s version was called “The Burger King“ about a nasty red headed clown who seduces kids with happy meals. There was also George’s hilariously rewriting of Henry Purcell’s “Sound the Trumpet”. Purcell would never have dreamed that his lyrics (which describe the thrilling joy the sound of trumpets impart) would be reimagined by George who found another sound even more satisfying than trumpets. Thus, “Flush the Toilet” was George’s glorious version. Included in George’s lyric was the phrase: flush the toilet till the rush doth make the gurgling waters gush….
As if these were not enough, there was also George’s version of Leonard Bernstein’s famous love ballad from Westside Story, “Maria”. George turned it into “Magnesia” which likely requires no further description.
These hilarious texts were performed with great joy, beaming smiles, and many belly laughs at a recital billed as SCHUBERT GOES TO MACDONALD’S held at WSC in March of 1985. Remarkably, the advertisement poster still exists, thanks to my friend Stephen Lorigan.