Sing a Song of July: Marge Robin, Diva Extraordinaire
What a pleasure to awaken to exquisite warblings on a summer morning. My new neighbor is none other than one of the foremost coloraturas of the bird world, Marge Robin.
I invited her over for a little refreshment and a chat about her musical life. Here is an excerpt of that tête-à-tête.
Louise: Welcome to my home, Marge. I must say, I am honored to be an audience to your morning vocalizations.
Marge: Well I'm glad you're a fan. My last nest was near a family of angry hornets who only listened to Deathrock and Psychobilly. As you can imagine, I high-tailed it out of that neighborhood tout suite.
L: How awful. I'm glad you're here now. When did you start singing?
M: Honey, I was tweeting when I broke out of the egg. As the story goes, my Ma & Pa almost fell out of the tree when I hatched. Unfortunately, my sister Lois fell out of the nest and hit the pavement. The impact broke her egg before she had a chance to hatch by herself. Pa rescued her and put her back in the nest. Lois has never sung a peep in her life. She still doesn't talk to me today. I'm terribly sorry and feel responsible for her disability, but what can you do?
L: Oy, families and guilt! Let's not go into that now. Perhaps another time.
M: We'll have that discussion, I'm sure. I plan to be around here all summer, but I do have some performances scheduled for the latter part of August. I was invited to sing with the Chicago Civic Opera in I Fagiolini, which is based on Aristophanes' fantastical comedy The Birds. I play the Robin, of course. Not much of a stretch, but a real juicy role.
L: Have you always sung opera?
M: Every so often I get a jazz gig. That's my second love. I sing locally at the Parakeet Lounge and the Catbird Seat in Eagleville. And, of course, Birdland.
L: Who are your favorite jazz artists?
M: Oh, Charlie "Bird" Parker, Chick Webb, Chick Corea, Jimmy "Little Bird" Heath and "Sassy" Miss Sarah Vaughan. She didn't have a bird name but she sung like a nightingale.
L: Well, thanks so much for stopping by for a chat. I look forward to all future mornings that I'll hear your melodic singing. Is there any last thing you'd like to leave with our readers?
M: As Eubie Blake once said: "Listen to the birds and don't hate nobody."