Right-click on a song name in the player to download that song.
Listen to the related podcast with Scerinda and Alan for more background about these songs and their production: Conversations in Stereo — Episode 4: Much Ado About Nothing.
Credits and Download Links
All music and lyrics by Scerinda Johnson. Recording by Scerinda Johnson, Alan Sanderson, and Johann. Editing, mixing, and mastering by Alan Sanderson and Johann at U-Turn Studios in Southern Utah. Click on a song name to download the mp3. Or download the whole album (26.5 MB).
- Bright Future: Lead vocals by Tom and Johann. Backing vocals by Sanderson Family Choir. Guitars and bass by Alan Sanderson. Drums by Tim Western. Arranged by Alan Sanderson.
- Miss Pedro’s Song: Vocal by Catherine. Arranged by Scerinda Johnson.
- No Time to Waste (Power Ballad): Lead vocals by Scerinda Johnson, Maddie Bennett, and Samantha Bennet. Backing vocals by Marie. Piano, guitars, bass, and synth by Alan Sanderson. Drums by Tim Western. Arranged by Alan Sanderson
- Regency Square Dance: Arranged by Scerinda Johnson, Alan Sanderson, and Johann.
- Miss Beatrice’s Song: Vocals by Catherine and Scerinda Johnson. Arranged by Scerinda Johnson.
- The Mischiefs’ Song: Vocals by Catherine and Scerinda Johnson. Guitars, bass, organ, and tambourine by Alan Sanderson. Drums by Tim Western. Arranged by Alan Sanderson.
- The Wedding March: Arranged by Scerinda Johnson, Alan Sanderson, and Johann.
- Miss Hero’s Song: Vocals by Catherine and Scerinda Johnson. Arranged by Scerinda Johnson.
- Fight Scene Song: Arranged by Scerinda Johnson and Johann.
- The Matron’s Song: Vocals by Marisa Sanderson, Catherine, and Scerinda Johnson. Arranged by Scerinda Johnson.
- Wedding Anticipation Song: Arranged by Scerinda Johnson and Johann.
- No Time to Waste (Celebration Version): Lead vocals by Scerinda Johnson. Backing vocals by the Sanderson and Johnson family choirs. Ukelele by Catherine. Bass guitar by Johann. Arranged by Scerinda Johnson and Johann.
Scerinda’s Production Notes
I started by composing “No Time to Waste” in the summer of 2020 on uke. I typed up the words and wrote the uke chords above them and drew some little chord block diagrams for my students and started teaching the song in September in my Shakespeare class. The original words were about liking hot dogs and juice for lunch. This was so that the students wouldn’t be able to guess what the play was, since the real words to the song revealed that it was for Much Ado About Nothing. When our students had done lots of class requirements, my fellow mentors and I performed the song on our ukes with the real words for our students and then they could guess what play we were going to produce in the spring.
I had recorded some guitar backup on my Yamaha Clavinova CVP-609, which allows for some nice articulations depending on how you strike the keys. I put several different kinds of guitar in the mix and then sang a version, just recorded on my phone in the middle of the night with the correct words so that my daughter, who was in the class, wouldn’t know what the play was before the time of the big reveal. I texted the phone audio to Tim Western, who is the drummer in the band “Muddy Boots and the Porch Pounders“, a fellow home musician who lives down the street from me.
Tim gave it a listen and thought he could put some drums to it, so I sent him a wav file from my piano recording without vocals. He recorded some drums in his home studio and sent it back, and I mixed the two tracks on Audacity and began using that Clavinova recording with his drums as our soundtrack in class to support the students playing uke.
Tim mentioned to me as he was recording that the bass line seemed a little laggy to him at times, and I knew that was a problem. I had lined up the different guitars to match perfectly in the on-screen musical notation produced by my Clavinova, but there was still too much wiggle room and you could hear places where it just didn’t sync. I decided to ask Alan for help because I knew it would be better with real guitars. 🙂
I knew I had two songs I needed guitar on (“Bright Future,” which is a boys’ version of “No Time to Waste,” and “No Time to Waste”) and sent my audio file I had been using in class along with the words and the handwritten chords and asked him to see what he could do.
I LOVED the results, so I also asked for his help “roughing up” “The Mischief’s Song,” which sounded like a sweet child’s church hymn. I wanted him to throw some rock guitar on top of what I had composed. He turned the whole thing upside down and made a problem song into one of my favorites in the play.
Back up a bit to when I started writing piano music. I had “Miss Hero’s Song” in my head in October, which I knew was not a guitar song. I had never written any sheet music before on a musical staff, and found it much harder than playing music other people had written. I asked my piano teacher, Lorianne Szendre, for advice and she introduced me to MuseScore, which I credit with turning me from somebody who could make up tunes to somebody who could compose an entire soundtrack for a play.
Richard Brown also helped with my musical education this year. He has a degree in commercial music from Brigham Young University, so I asked if I could do a Zoom meeting and have him teach me about what makes a bridge a bridge. Key change? But they didn’t all seem to have key changes. He was very helpful in our discussion, and took an interest in “Miss Hero’s Song.” He asked if he could put some cello in it, and I was delighted with the results. Delighted is probably an understatement–I realized when he did that that I could compose for orchestras, not just for piano. You’ll hear some of my full orchestration work in “Fight Scene Song” and “No Time to Waste–Celebration Version,” as well as some experimenting with string quartets in “Wedding March” and “Wedding Anticipation Song.”
I mentioned to Alan, just in passing, that I was recording my students singing their songs and that I was producing little mp3s for them in Audacity. He told me to send some his way (but I know he didn’t know how many I was talking about), so I did. Since we were double-cast, I had two different Miss Beatrice soloists, for example. All in all, he produced 11 vocal songs for me, plus remastered my MuseScore files for all those vocal songs and my four orchestral songs. Our play bill had a QR code that audience members could scan and download mp3s of their favorite actors.
The album cover is a picture of the girls in our 2021 play. They are dressed up as statues in this picture, which I took at the Utah State Capitol Building using my Cannon EOS 70D. Their statue costumes were made by Melanie Ballard. The statues stood on large blocks in the play and sang the alto part in “Miss Beatrice’s Song.” Because we were double cast, only half of the girls were statues at a time, while the other half played the starring roles, and for the next showing, they would switch. Melanie made enough statue costumes for half of the girls because that it all we needed for the play, but we needed them all in costume for the picture, so this is actually two pictures seamed together by my husband, Ken Johnson, using Photoshop. We took them one minute apart so that the shadows on the steps wouldn’t change too much. We used the original picture as one of our many “movie posters” of our actors in their Jane Austin-style costumes, which were 2′ x 3′ posters we displayed on the grounds around our outdoor theater during the performances. Ken blurred their faces for me for this album cover.
I have been given two important gifts this year that I will treasure. First, I have learned that the music in my head can be produced and used, and I am so excited to continue to pursue this hobby! Second, I have received the gift of the time and talents of several of my friends who helped with this project, and most of all, the gift from my brother Alan, who really threw his heart (and a lot of time) into this to give me some of his very best work.
Alan’s Production Notes
One of the take-home lessons of this project for me is that there’s no better way to say “I love you” than with a power ballad.
Scerinda reached out to me in late 2020 with an idea to collaborate on music for her yearly Shakespeare production. I didn’t quite grasp the scope of her vision at the time, and maybe she didn’t either. I don’t know. It turned out to be a lot of work, but really fun work with a nice product to show for it.
It was a new and challenging experience to mix and master songs that I had had no hand in composing or recording. In many cases I just had to take what I was given and make it as pretty as I could. Thankfully Scerinda gave me some really nice material to work with. I remember hearing the audio for the vocals in “Miss Pedro’s Song” for the first time — what a sweet little tune that is! And I was so proud of my sister for writing it.
It was also a fun challenge to take someone else’s half-baked song idea and arrange it into a pastiche. I have never done an 80’s power ballad or a 70’s lounge country rock song before, but I’m glad that this project gave me a reason to visit these genres that I may otherwise have never traversed.
I offloaded a significant chunk of the work to my musical apprentice, my son Johann. He did a great job and contributed a lot of interesting ideas. The harpsichord in Regency Square Dance was his idea, for example. He will make a lot of great music in the coming years.
Software: All of my work on this album was done on a Linux audio workstation running either Linux Mint 20 with Ardour 5.12 or AVL-MXE with Ardour 6.5. Plugins include:
- Linux Studio Plugins: Compressors and limiters
- Guitarix: Virtual guitar amplifiers, cabinets, and effects
- Calf Studio Gear: stereo multi spread, vintage delay
- x42-plugins: Parametric Equalizer, setBfree DSP Tonewheel Organ, General MIDI Synth and AVL Drumkits
- Dragonfly Reverb
- Salamander Piano and Virtual Playing Orchestra rendered using Sfizz
- Yoshimi software synthesizer
This project was my first to use the Salamander piano samples, and I also used the Virtual Playing Orchestra samples to a greater degree than I had before. I think the result is a pretty satisfying sound.
Equipment: Ibanez AM-53 semi-hollow body guitar, Austin Bazaar bass, Takamine G-330 acoustic guitar, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 sound interface, DIY condenser microphone by Michael Willis.