Thursday, September 12, 2013


There's a place for us, 
Somewhere a place for us.
Peace and quiet and open air
Wait for us

There's a time for us,
Some day a time for us,
Time together with time spare,
Time to learn, time to care,
Some day!

We'll find a new way of living,
We'll find a way of forgiving
Somewhere . . .

There's a place for us,
A time and place for us.
Hold my hand and we're halfway there.
Hold my hand and I'll take you there
Some day,

...We'll find a new way of living,
We'll find a way of forgiving ....

"Somewhere" is a song from the 1957 Broadway musical West Side Story that was made into a film in 1961. The music is composed by Leonard Bernstein with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. This was always my favorite song from my all-time favorite musical.

In the movie, the song occurs after the rumble in which former Jets leader Tony has stabbed his girlfriend's brother, Bernardo. Having nowhere else to go, Tony runs to his girlfriend, Maria. Maria has just been told of her brother's death and who killed him. When Tony comes to her room through the balcony window, Maria, in shock, pounds against his chest.

Realizing in spite of her anger that she still loves Tony, Maria begs him to hold her. After Maria cries out, "It's not's everything around us." Tony replies, "Then I'll take you away, where nothing can get to us." He then begins singing "Somewhere" to her. His comforting voice draws her in and it becomes a duet of hope that their love will survive "somehow, someday, somewhere."

But much more memorably for me, Maria sings the first few lines of the song as Tony dies in her arms.

After 9/11/2001,  I've heard this song played beautifully at 9/11 memorial services.  It seems like such an appropriate way to reflect on the senseless hatred that tears people apart.   It really is a song that will live on and be re-interpreted many ways.

I wanted to post my version of  Somewhere as a remembrance on 9/11.     Honestly, it is hard to listen to anyone play or sing this song and to view these images.

I was inspired to try a solo version of Somewhere by listening to the great Bill Charlap's recording. It had a lot of interesting chord voicings and dynamics, but not any crazy improvisation. It stays very true to the emotion of the song. Really compelling to listen to, especially when you know that he has all of those chops at his disposal.

Another really inspiring moment was when Candace Glover sang this on American Idol. Yes, I admit that I'm an American Idol fan :-) It was really awe inspiring. I'm sure that it is on Youtube, so check it out if you haven't heard it.

Geek Alert

My piano teacher Ed and I spent two lessons coming up with the arrangement for this. Matching up chords with ascending/descending bass lines, what color for the phrases, the voicings hitting the melody notes just right - took some doing. It is a short song, but there is a ton of music theory thrown in there (at least for me).

1 comment:

  1. Ken,
    Congratulations on pulling this solo arrangement and performance together and using it as a 9/11 memorial.
    Your musical growth continues to go forward more an more rapidly.

    Beautifully done!