Park Bench

I am excited to be working on a new musical with a collaborator of mine for many years, Gary Gimmestad. Gary and I met several years ago in the Minneapolis company of “Forever Plaid.” Soon he was writing vocal arrangements for a vocal group I produced and from there we continued to work together on various projects. Gary music directed my first CD, “I’m Wishing” and a couple years ago we co-wrote some songs for Three Cat Productions “Hang Your Hat at Mr. Kelly’s.” This spring, a new musical, “Park Bench” will be produced by Three Cat. This has a been a long time goal for Gary and I. Gary will be composing the musical score and writing lyrics and I will be providing the script.

I’ll keep you posted as the process continues.

Big Head

When I was in Fifth Grade, I was coming out of the bathroom one day and a fourth grader, Todd McWilliams, looked up at me and said…

“Hey Big Head!”
Big Head? I have a big head? Like physically? Or, a big head because I’m overconfident?
I never told anyone what happened because why would I do that?

“Do I have a big head?”
“No. Well… Maybe… Kind of…”

My heads too big.
My head is so big that it has a gravitational pull.
Tiny little clowns follow me with ropes attached to my head as I walk down the street.

I actually had a conversation with someone that went like this:
“I have to tell you Rob, I think you are going to be famous.”
“What? Really? Why?”
“I can just tell. I have always been able to tell. You have something in common with a lot of celebrities.”
What is that?
“You have a very expansive face. Lots of famous people have big heads.”

This didn’t happen exactly but it could have:
“Ok, lets get a group shot. Everyone gather around. Ok. Wait. Rob? Could stand in the back so that your head will balance out with the others? No in the back. Further back.”

I once started working with one of the best voice teachers in Chicago. By this time, I had worked through my “big head” anxieties or what I call, “BHA.” I was in charge now, there was a confident and not over confident person inside this… head.

“Wow Rob, that was great. You just hit those high notes so easily. As a voice teacher, I have worked with a lot of singers and you… you have such great attributes that contribute to your singing. I mean, first of all, you have an enormous head cavity.”

Sigh.

From Robbie to Bob to Rob

All the guys in sixth grade did it. Each and every Bobbie and Robbie did it. They all became Bob.
Robbie, I was told by some of the other boys was a girls name.
“Cool! I’m gonna be, Bob Dorn. I don’t have to have a girls name anymore.
It was exciting, it was a rite of passage to remove the “i” and the “e.” We all thought it was cool. Cool! And my Grandpa, my namesake’s nickname was Bob.

“Mike Acre?” the teacher would call out.
“Here.”
“Dale Ballew?”
“Here.”
“Tom Brian?”
“Here.”

“Bob Dorn?
There was a pause.
“Bob Dorn.”
There was a longer pause.
“Bob Dorn!”
“Oh!” I realized. She was calling me. “Here.”

I never answered when my name was called and I kind of felt weird being called “Bob.” But I couldn’t go back to Robbie and within a week or so of being “Bob Dorn,” something happened that changed my life forever. And it is all because of Tracey Thayer.

Tracey was the daughter of one of my Dad’s best friends. She was two years older than me and I really looked up to her. For as long as I could remember, Tracey was like a big sister.
So here’s what happened.
I was walking up the hall this way and my buddy Tom Brian, previously known as Tommy, was coming down the hall towards me. Tracey was also walking down the hall towards me, several steps behind Tom. Everything’s normal. I’m on my way to my next class. Tom sees me and just like he had been doing for a week or so, in a very cool non-chalant way he simply says, “Hey Bob!”
Tracey heard it.
“Bob?” she started, “Bob?! Bob Dorn?!” She literally fell to the floor laughing. “Bob Dorn!! Oh my GOD that’s hysterical. Bob Dorn!!”

She just laughed and laughed laughed and it only took a moment, a split second to change my life forever. The B became an R and from that day forth I was Rob.
Rob Dorn. That works! Thank you Tracey Thayer, thank you.

And who was I kidding? Bob Dorn… Bob Fred Dorn. I never was a Bob. Sorry Grandpa Walledom. I’m not a Bob, I’m a Rob.