THE STORY OF SING OUT FOR EARTH DAY (by Hali Hammer)


It all started with Occupella; it all can be traced to political activism.


I retired from teaching in June 2011 after 26 years of working for Berkeley Schools. Nineteen of those were spent subbing, since I wanted the flexibility to leave the area and play music. When my health care costs rose to double the amount in a single school year, I decided to settle in and take a full-time job working with special education students. I started out joking that I took a regular job so I could afford to be a musician; by the time I retired I needed to do so because I didn’t have time to work. I couldn’t have retired at a better time.


I.   The Beginnings of Occupy


I was getting ready to record a new CD when Occupy Wall Street perked up the nation and sidelined anything else I was planning to do. My partner Randy and I flew back to New York to visit friends and family in mid-October. The media had just picked up on the Occupy movement, and we made a pilgrimage to Zucotti Park.


By the time I returned to Berkeley on October 19th, I found myself immersed in Occupy. On Friday the 21st, the Rockin’ Solidarity Labor Chorus was performing at Occupy San Francisco, located in Justin Herman Plaza, and I came along to sing with them. Two days later , Randy and I brought leftover food from the El Cerrito Free Folk Festival to Occupy Oakland. There were even more tents at this encampment than at Zucotti Park, and we were impressed with how efficiently things were being run and how problems that arose during our short visit were being addressed. We dropped off the food at their well-organized kitchen, talked to some of the residents, and entertained at the Kids Zone.


That Monday, we were invited to play at the Tax the Rich rally on Solano Avenue, which has become a regular part of my life (it’s been going on now for 10 months as of July and I’m still there almost every Monday). The General Strike on November 2nd was attended by thousands from every race, creed and walk of life (of the 99%, that is!) Emails were flying fast and furious, and it was starting to get hard to keep up with all the activities blossoming from this movement. I found myself with less free time and more Occupy activities to attend. A friend told me, “You know, you don’t have to do everything. You can say no.” I replied, “You don’t say no to a revolution.”

II.   Occupella


I got an email from Bonnie Lockhart, inviting me to a sing Friday, November 4th from 12:30 to 2 in front of the Berkeley main branch of B of A on Center and Shattuck. (Now that I’d retired, I could attend an early afternoon sing). When I arrived, there was a small circle of people already engaged in song. Bonnie, Betsy Rose and Nancy Schimmel were there with a small circle of others. I’d known Nancy and Bonnie for years through Freedom Song Network, a loose conglomerate of activists who sang at rallies, picket lines, marches and such. Betsy Rose is part of the Interfaith community, and had organized Singing for Peace at the downtown Berkeley BART for several years. Bonnie had coined the name Occupella. After singing, we talked for a while about organizing more formally, and decided to meet and really do something as a group. On November 23rd we met for tea at the Café Roma in Berkeley. Bonnie brought along an agenda, and we formulated some serious goals. Occupella was on its way!


With the help of TD Daniell, we posted some YouTube videos: I recorded “Fight the Status Quo”, Betsy did “Take Me Out of the Big Banks”, and Bonnie recorded her song “Still Ain’t Satisfied” with new words for the movement. (Later on, Leslie Hassberg, the fifth “founding member”. posted her revised version of “Put It on the Ground” ). Chris Chandler produced another couple of YouTube videos of my originals in early December (“Interesting Times” and “I Refuse to Believe”). We started weekly BART sings at stations in Oakland and SF. Occupella joined the Monday Tax the Rich rallies. Nancy’s daughter Nancy Ibsen, working from Prescott, Arizona, became our webmaster and got a website going for us ( HYPERLINK "http://www.occupella.org/" \t "_blank" www.occupella.org). We developed a songbook and made it available for free download. The idea was to have some traditional tunes, but mostly include parodies and rewrites of songs with familiar melodies and words attuned to Occupy and OWS songs.


People were submitting material faster than we could upload it. We got emails from the Occuponics at Occupy Wall Street and as far away as Glasgow, Scotland, letting us know that their groups were singing the songs. We sent out mailings and passed out postcards to let people know where to meet us for sings; they could also find out through the calendar on the website. We were getting calls and emails almost daily from groups and events that wanted us to lead songs and so we did - on marches, at Occupy sites, at BART stations for weekly sings - just about anywhere we were asked. We were totally pre-Occupied with singing for the cause. 


III. The Inspiration for a National Sing


On December 16th, Occupella was invited to the Berkeley Unitarian Fellowship to lead a song circle after a movie being shown as part of their “Conscientious Projector” series. "The Singing Revolution" was a documentary about Estonia before the fall of the USSR. At that time, Estonians were not allowed to wear their traditional national garb or sing their national anthem. In defiance, 300,000 Estonians took to the streets singing. This occurred a month before the demise of the Soviet Union. Watching this splendid, inspiring film, I experienced a “wow” moment. I started thinking about how powerful it would be to have a national sing of our own. I was excited, but first wanted to run it by my Occupella cohorts to see what they thought. 


On the Tuesday after New Year’s, January 3rd, Occupella met at the Fountain Court in Oakland for lunch. Leslie, the only one of us with a full-time job, worked nearby and was able to come by on her lunch hour. I ran the idea by everyone and they liked it. 


That Saturday we appeared on “Kris Welsh’s Living Room” radio show on KPFA, had a great time during the interview, and each sang a parody or song we’d written. We had great feedback from those who heard it (we sent the link out to our mailing list and posted the archive link on our website). The following week was the annual Western Workers Labor Heritage Festival, an event that takes place annually on the Martin Luther King weekend. Occupella songbooks were shared at the Occupy Songs workshop (which I co-hosted with Bobbie Rabinowitz), at after-hours get-togethers, and several other times during the weekend. Occupella sang in the pouring morning rain at Occupy the Courts, and our picture made the paper. There were references made to us on the radio, on the Huffington Post, and in other news. We had name recognition and people were joining in wherever we played. 


IV. Getting Started


What song should we sing? After polling a lot of people, I decided on “This Land Is Your Land”.  The song was originally written as Woody Guthrie’s response to “God Bless America”. We could sing all the verses, including the less known political ones. This year would also be the 100th anniversary of Woody’s birthday.


What time should we sing? In order to truly be in synch with each other, we had to take into consideration the different time zones. I decided that if we could start at noon here on the West Coast, 1 pm Mountain, 2 pm Central and 3 pm Eastern, we’d really all be singing together without being too early on one coast or too late in the day on the other.


What day should we choose? Tax Day? That would get confusing this year, since taxes weren’t due until the 17th and that was a Tuesday.  Nancy Schimmel suggested Earth Day, and that seemed perfect. It would be on the weekend, and there would be existing Earth Day celebrations to plug into.


What about a key? If we all sang in the key of D and everyone videotaped their event, I could (with help) put together a video montage of the event. The gears were turning; we could Occupy Earth Day with song. It was time to look further than Occupella and my circle of friends and get this idea out to the rest of the country – and beyond.


V. Setting Up the Earth Day Event


Originally I thought we’d plug into Berkeley Earth Day, which would be Saturday, April 21st, so I contacted Karen Hester, who was organizing that event.  It turned out that actual Earth Day was on Sunday April 22nd. I got in touch with the SF Earth Day committee, and they agreed to have us on the main stage at noon. I got back to Karen, and we were invited to play as a precursor Saturday at noon there as well. We called it our “warm-up” and it was listed on the poster as “Sing Out with Occupella”. 


On February 22nd I sent out an email blitz to anyone I thought would be in any way interested in the Sing (meaning I emailed it to just about everyone in my email contacts, just in case). I sent some background information and encouraged people to write new lyrics, including two new verses I’d written:


We join together across this nation

Stand side by side for our Occupations

To tax the rich and the corporations

So we can sustain democracy


To keep the air clean, and the rivers flowing

And the redwoods standing, and the planet going

So all the children can grow up knowing

That this land’s still made for you and me


I created a local event and national event on facebook and invited every one of my facebook “friends” to one or the other. It was suggested that I start a facebook Sing Out for Earth Day page, which I was able to do with the help of Nancy Ibsen (who became co-administrator for the page so she wouldn’t have to go through me to make changes). Nancy designed a great logo, and was able to get information up and add links to both the facebook page and the Occupella website that were beyond my skill level. I assumed that those who were getting sick of emails would either just delete them or ask me to stop sending them. I thankfully got no such requests throughout the project!


March 8th was International Women’s Day. Occupella was leading a sing in front of the Berkeley B of A, and a man was videotaping.  I spoke to him afterwards, and it turned out he was Scotty from Archive Productions, a group that was documenting various aspects of the Occupy movement. I told him about this project and he said he could help with filming. He became an invaluable resource and really got this off the ground (as you’ll see later).


VI. Correspondence


A 2/28  email from Hali to Nancy:  I set up the page and commented on it. It shows me as administrator. I put an Occupella picture in for the page picture until we have a logo. The picture loaded in, but now I can't find the page! When I write "National Sing Out for Earth Day" in the search at the top of the Occupy page, all that comes up is the event I listed on my facebook page (which is good, but how do I get the new page to show up? It seems to be in cyberspace...) Good thing I had Nancy aboard, and we had a logo on the 29th.


Here’s the email I sent out on the 29th :

2/29 Confirmation: The National Sing Out for Earth Day will be Sunday, April 22nd, 2012. Noon PDT, 1 p.m. MDT (except AZ which will correspond with PDT), 2 p.m. CDT, 3 p.m. EDT.

If you go to facebook, link in to the Sing Out for Earth Day page at  HYPERLINK "http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sing-Out-for-Earth-Day/402795396403648" \t "_blank" http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sing-Out-for-Earth-Day/402795396403648

You can also go to the Occupella home page  HYPERLINK "http://www.occupella.org/" \t "_blank" www.occupella.org and click on "Get Involved with National Sing Out for Earth Day".

If you are planning on organizing a sing in your area, please email me as well as announcing it on the facebook link so I can make sure I have the information. Let me know where you'll be singing and share any information about your group with me directly or through the facebook link.

Let's all make this happen! - Peace, Hali Hammer


In mid-March I went through my entire email list, finding the names of those I thought could either lead sings in their area or pass on the info to someone who could. Here’s what I sent out individually: 


3/18   Hi (their name), 

I'm trying to get people all over the country participating in the National Sing Out for Earth Day on April 22nd. I've already sent you the background information, but if it's gotten lost in the email shuffle, please go to  HYPERLINK "http://www.occupella.org/" \t "_blank" www.occupella.org and click on "Get Involved in the National Sing Out for Earth Day". There will also be a link there to the facebook page. Can you help make something happen in (your city)?

The entire event would take about an hour of your time that day to get a group of at least 10 - 12 people together to sing "This Land Is Your Land" in the key of D (so we can be in synch). We'll be starting noon Pacific Time, 1 p.m. Mountain, 2 p.m. Central and 3 p.m. Eastern so we'll really be singing together. 

Please get someone to videotape your event. This doesn't have to be fancy unless you want it to be. You can use a flip camera, a phone camera, anything that will record your sing. You can email me a copy of or a link to the video after the event.


If there is an existing Earth Day event in your area, see if you can participate as part of it. That's what we're doing at SF Earth Day, and will have some verses sung in Spanish as well as a sign language interpreter. We have a volunteer camera crew, who will also help with editing the montage of sings we'll put together afterwards. 


If you are in touch with any choruses, environmental or political groups in your area that you think would want to join the sing, PLEASE invite them! A small group is fine; a larger group would be awesome! If you have friends in other areas, PLEASE pass this email along to them.


If there are no Earth Day activities in your area, you could gather in a community garden, a park, anywhere you could set it up. The main thing is that we sing TOGETHER at the designated time. - Peace (and Love!) – Hali


VII.    A Berkeley Sing


I started feeling guilty about having a sing in SF and none in Berkeley, so I sent this out to the SF Folk Club email list as well as the musicians I could think of who were in Berkeley and might be interested in leading a sing there.


3/19 Hi Harmonites (et al)

I've initiated a nationwide "Sing Out for Earth Day". The info is detailed below, and PLEASE pass it on to people in other states as well (so far I've reached out to 16 states).

Originally I was going to host a sing in Berkeley, but Berkeley Earth Day is Saturday the 21st, the day before actual Earth Day. Occupella will do a warm-up there at noon, but I am going to be at the SF Earth Day on Sunday the 22nd to host the sing. Occupella, members from local choruses (Freedom Song Network, Labor Chorus, La Peña Chorus) and Country Joe will be joining us as well. You are all invited to join us in SF in front of the main stage, Civic Center (get there by 11:30 to sing at noon), and it will be videotaped. But here's my dilemma.

Being a tie-dyed-in-the-wool Berkeleyite, I would really like to see a group do a sing in Berkeley and record it on video as well for the montage we'll be doing afterward. It can be done on a flip camera or a phone camera if you don't have video camera capability. Please let me know if you're interested in being the point person for the Berkeley sing, and where you'd want people to meet (a park, community garden or such would be ideal). I'll then email all the people I've blind cc'd so they know where to go if they're interested.


Here's the info I'm sending out and asking folks to pass on to others - Thanks, Hali 


I got an almost immediate response and was then able to send this out:

3/20 The very capable and talented Max Ventura has volunteered to coordinate the Berkeley National Sing Out for Earth Day event. 

This will be held at Civic Center (nee Provo) Park (former site of Occupy Berkeley) on Sunday, April 22nd. Gather at 11:30 to sing "This Land Is Your Land" (in the key of D) at noon.

Please contact Max at  HYPERLINK "mailto:beneficialbug@netzero.net" \t "_blank" (her email) to let her know you're coming, or if you have further questions.

If you want to play an instrument or can videotape (this may be covered), please let her know that as well.

There will also be an event at SF Earth Day (Civic Center) at the same time. Contact me if you need additional info for that event. Whichever you prefer to come to, PLEASE join us on Earth Day for the National Sing!!! – Hali


Good news was followed by more good news. Scotty said that Archive Productions could get people with professional cameras to both the SF and the Berkeley Sings.


VIII.   Ron Dressler


On February 29th, my friend Ray Korona (he’s in New Jersey) suggested that I contact Ron Dressler in New York, who had been getting groups together to sing “This Land Is Your Land” every Flag Day for years.


Greetings Ron, and Hi Ray,

Ray Korona just told me about your Flag Day activities, and thought you'd be the perfect person to organize a sing in NY (my home town, though I've been in Berkeley for 27 years).

I've attached the idea that I've been circulating for about a month, not even having heard of your song efforts before. Please let me know if you'd like to be on the bandwagon, so to speak!


Friday, 3/2: Hi Hali...Thanks to you (and Ray) for letting me know about your exciting Nat'l Sing Out for Earth Day. I will definitely let you know if Call to Song is somehow able to get something going here in your home town.

Yours in the wonder & power of song, Ron Dressler

Ron and I began phoning each other about the project, and his enthusiasm was matched by his good ideas. We spent hours talking about the project by phone, and it was a relief to hear a human voice after all the hours of communicating by email.


3/30 Hey Hali...What do u think of possibly having a cell phone connection on speaker between NY & SF for a couple of minutes before we start singing and then for the start of This Land? Might be kinda exciting - and maybe a couple of other sites between the coasts, each of us saying 'This is ---person/org---- from ----location --- with # voices.....".  


While we didn’t get a nationwide network, we did start out the countdown with Ron on banjo in NY and Stacy Samuels on banjo in SF. Ron and I tried to work it out ahead of time, playing licks in our homes with the cell phones on, but the telephone time lag made it difficult to do more than start out together. Still, it was great to kick off the event with banjoes strumming coast to coast!


IX. Tom Paxton


I had tickets to see Tom Paxton at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse here in Berkeley on March 29th.  When Tom came out on stage, he was being accompanied by my good friend David Maloney. I went backstage during intermission and Tom was sitting on the green room couch. I asked where David was and Tom said he’d stepped out, “but have a seat!” 


We talked for a while and I told him about the project and gave him a flyer. He said that on Earth Day he’d be in Tarrytown NY singing with Pete Seeger, Tom Chapin, Janis Ian and others. He said their sound check would be around 3, so he couldn’t promise that they’d do it at that time, but he assured me that they would sing. I was thrilled that this wonderful group of musical icons would sing “with us” at any time that day! 


After the event I checked in with his agency. They got back to me and said yes, Tom said the group had sung “This Land Is Your Land”, and that he thought the Clearwater people might have footage. Unfortunately, no one seemed to videotape, but how wonderful that they did take part that day.


X. Last Call Reminder


4/16:  Hi All (Sorry if this was sent to you by mistake, but I’ve sent it to everyone outside of the Bay Area who was in my address book),

Thanks to those who have sent the information about where their sing will be held.

If you haven’t already done so and are coordinating a group for Sing Out for Earth Day, would you please let me know the exact address and state where you will be meeting so I can pass it on to others?

Please email me at  HYPERLINK "mailto:halih@yahoo.com" halih@yahoo.com, and also list it on the Sing Out for Earth Day facebook page,  HYPERLINK "http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sing-Out-for-Earth-Day/402795396403648" \t "_blank" http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sing-Out-for-Earth-Day/402795396403648. I am directing people to this page, so if you want your event publicized, this is the best place to do it.

If you don’t mind doing so, could you also list an email or phone number for a contact? (I’ve gotten a few requests for different areas, and I don’t believe you’d get inundated with people contacting you, but if you’re uncomfortable about giving out this kind of information, please be very specific as to address and time you’ll be meeting). Also, let it be known if you have any special requests (such as if people should bring chairs for an event in a park, or if there will be a pot luck or song swap before or after). 

If you are not coordinating an event but wish to know of one in your area, let me know and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

I currently know of events in the following cities but not all exact locations:

CA: Berkeley, L.A., Palo Alto, North Fork, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Ukiah, Ventura; Boulder CO; FL: Ft. Lauderdale, Sarasota, Tallahassee; possibly Lowell MA; Ann Arbor MI; Minneapolis MN; NY: Brooklyn (Sunset Park), Manhattan (Central Park), possibly Tarrytown, possibly Woodstock; Cincinatti OH; OR: Eugene, Florence; Pittsburgh, PA; Dallas TX; Burlington area VT; Seattle WA; Washington D.C.; Madison WI. (Also Madrid, Spain).

– Thanks so much, and sing with spirit! – Hali


XI. Radio Interviews

Email from April 14th:I'll be on four radio show in the Bay Area talking up the Sing Out for Earth Day:
1) Wed. April 18th, 9 p.m.: KPFA 94.1 FM, "Dead to the World" with Tim Lynch (hosting for David Gans). This show is streamed worldwide.
2) Fri., April 20th, 12:45 p.m.: KPFA 94.1 FM, "Living Room with Kris Welch"
3) Saturday, April 21st, 3 p.m.: KALW 91.7 FM, "Folk Music & Beyond" hosted by JoAnn Mar & Bob Campbell.
4) I'm not sure exactly what time of day this will be on, but Cy Musiker wil be interviewing me on Tuesday for KQED, and the interview will be aired on Friday April 20th. I'll let you know once I find out the actual time. – Hali


Email from April 20th:

Hi Again (you can stop getting emails from me now!)

Cy Musiker just interviewed me for KQED regarding Sing Out for Earth Day (and Occupella).

The interview will be on 88.5 fm TODAY at 5:30 p.m.

If you can't listen at that time it will be archived.

I'm out the door in a few minutes to be on the "Living Room with Kris Welch" show TODAY at 12:45 on KPFA 94.1 fm.

Tomorrow at 3 I'll be on KALW, "Folk Music & Beyond" 91.7 fm.


1) Tim used to be my housemate and I know David Gans through Randy. I emailed David regarding an interview and he suggested I call Tim. No problem there!

2) I first met Kris Welch when we were performed together in the Mock City Council in May of 1999. We’d just been on her show with Occupella a few months back and she was delighted to have me on to talk about the Sing Out for Earth Day project.

3) JoAnn Mar does a lot for the Bay Area folk community, and Bob was gracious enough to have me on for a 30 minute interview.

4) I’d met Cy when he interviewed me briefly after an Occupella sing. After a few tentative dates when he had to cancel, he came to my house for the interview.


XII. Sing Out for Earth Day in San Francisco


Two of my grandkids, Isaiah (15) and Amaiya (8), slept over the night before so they could ride in with Randy and me. We got there at 10:30 am and it was early enough that we found a spot 1/2 block before Civic Center Park. I’d made large font copies of the words to put on music stands on the stage, and also had copies to pass out to the crowd as well as any musicians/singers who still needed them. It was sunny and warm for SF, but the wind was blowing. Groups started to gather, and the Labor Chorus went off to the side to practice. We set up my flip camera so that Isaiah could separately video Christiana Johnson, the sign language interpreter. 


I’d originally asked for us all to be on stage, but had been told that there wouldn’t be enough room, and that each group would have to come up as they were ready to do their verse and then exit from the other side, with the exception of Country Joe, Stacy Samuels (banjo player), the signer, and me. When I asked if we could all stand in front of the stage so we could sing together, I learned that there would be feedback problems with the mikes in front of the monitors. Just before we were ready to start, everyone stepped up onto the stage anyway, with no complaints from the stage manager. I was relieved and happy that we’d be singing together. 


A few minutes before noon, Ron and I got on our cell phones. I couldn’t get mine to go to speaker and putting the phone next to the mike didn’t work, so I relayed what he said by “mike check”. We counted off together (noon for us, 3 p.m. in New York), and I handed the phone off to Amaiya so I could play guitar. 


There were about 50 of us onstage, and another 75 to 100 or so singing along at the foot of the stage. People attending the Earth Day event who didn’t know about the Sing beforehand grabbed a song sheet and joined in. Others either sang or listened far back into the crowd. Country Joe sang the first verse, followed by members of Occupella, Freedom Song Network, and The Rockin’ Solidarity Labor Chorus. Will Scarlett (formerly of Hot Tuna) played a great harmonica solo. La Peña Chorus was next, then Jello Biafra (formerly of the Dead Kennedys), Liliana Herrera with a Spanish translation of a verse and chorus, and the Resisters finished with my new verses, followed by a chorus and an instrumental out. We spontaneously broke out into screams and applause at the end – it was exhilarating!


David Nelson was there to film as well as Archive. Marty Nicolaus got a short clip from the stage. I asked David to put his footage up on YouTube, which is the SF version you’ll see there. Archive interviewed Stacy and Country Joe after we sang. Isaiah filmed the full translation by the ASL interpreter.



XIII. The Videos Come In


Earth Day had come to the Bay Area as a glorious day with the best weather we’d yet had that spring. Unfortunately, the East Coast was socked into a rainy, and some places snowy, weather pattern. Several groups that would have participated (like the one in Woodstock, NY) had to cancel. Ron Dressler moved his event from Central Park to a nearby community room. The stalwart group at Sunset Park, Brooklyn voted to participate outside no matter what, and they stayed outdoors in a rainstorm, singing under tarps. 


I sent out yet another blitz of emails and posted on our facebook page, reminding people to send me their videos. Some groups immediately responded; I received the last videos mid- June. While I was waiting for the last strays, I outlined what was coming in and where they’d go in the mix. Before I had received them all, I was able to watch many of them on YouTube so I could get a feel for what would go where. 


I eventually received 32 videos, including two from Spain and one from Costa Rica. Lyrics had been translated into Spanish (from Spain), Spanish (from Mexico), Asturianu (from northern Spain) and Mandarin. There were seven new verses to fit in as well.


I decided to split the chorus in two, with one group singing the first half and another the second half. I ended up with ten choruses. I wove in the languages other than English and the new verses while keeping the original verses in their order. 

 

XIV.   A Day at Archive Productions


Once I had most of the videos, Scotty came by and took all the discs I’d received or downloaded to Archive Productions, where he generated a file for me that I could put back onto my computer.  On May 22nd, I took BART over to the San Francisco office of Archive, which was in a film collective building on Golden Gate. David Nelson, who had shot footage in SF which became our YouTube video (This Land Is Your Land: SF Earth Day Sing Out), came by to help me out. With Dave and Scotty’s help, I loaded onto my computer: Adobe Premiere Elements 9, an editing program, and a program called Free YouTube Download. The file with the videos was also downloaded onto my laptop. 


Since I basically knew what I wanted in the video and where, I asked for a crash course in how to download files to the Adobe program, crop them to the part of the video I wanted to use, and drop them into the time line. While I’d had some background in recording audio, the video process was completely new to me. I didn’t want to waste hours of a tech person’s time doing the “grunt work” which I could do myself if I learned how. David very patiently gave me pointers and showed me what to do. I left Archive Productions with a head full of new information, a book called “Adobe Premiere Elements in a Snap” new programs on my laptop, and all I could absorb in four hours. I met the rest of Occupella at a BART sing at 24th and Mission at 4:45. 


After two weeks of editing any time I had a spare moment, I asked Marty Nicolaus for help. He came over on June 4th, answered a few questions I had about the process, and most importantly showed me how to enter titles and lyrics that I needed to accompany the new verses.  Once I knew how to do this, I was able to work on the credits as well (and with 32 groups, there were a lot of credits!)


XV.   TD to the Rescue


From: Hali Hammer

Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 12:34 AM

To: TD Daneill

Subject: Would you have time to help with the video?


Hi TD,

I've imported videos, made clips, fit them into a timeline and have done titles for the Sing Out for Earth Day video montage. Tomorrow I'm hoping to finish up the credits.

There are still a few things I need help with, but the grunt work is mostly done. 

Would you have any time in the next week or so when I could bring over my laptop (everything is on it) so you could help me out with some finessing and give me some pointers? I've basically had to learn video editing from scratch and have spent most of my time the past 3 weeks (when I wasn't out singing in the streets) getting this done (at least as much as I can do without more help). I did get some invaluable pointers from Marty Nicolaus and David Nelson.

I'm free most of tomorrow (Wednesday the 13th- I mean later, it's after midnight and I need to get off the computer!!!) or Thursday the 14th. Friday is my granddaughter's 9th birthday and I'm with her all day. I'm free on Father's Day, but you may be busy. I'm free all day Monday the 18th until the Tax the Rich rally at 5 p.m. I'm free till about 4 p.m. on Tuesday the 19th.

I'll be going to the Great Labor Arts Exchange in Baltimore on Thursday the 21st, and would love to be able to have even a "work in progress" DVD disc to take with me (I have blanks that I could bring over, but I haven't figured out yet how to do that). 

You could either give me a time that would work for you via email, or call me. Or let me know if you can't do it and I'll hopefully find someone to get me through this process. Scotty from Archive Productions said he could find me a student at the Film Institute to help, but I'd much rather work with you if you're able. Of course, you'd get credit on the video (I have no $, but I'm good at crediting!) - Thanks, Hali


Wednesday, June 13, 2012 9:35 AM

Hi Hali,

I'm glad you wrote; I would be happy to help out. Like you, I learned video editing by taking on projects and figuring out what I needed.

I'm in the middle of several projects, but none have specific deadlines. So my time is pretty flexible.

Today's out -- I have a video shoot in Palo Alto.

I'm free all day Thursday, Monday, and Tuesday. So shall we see what we can do tomorrow? You pick the time.

I'm excited about seeing what you've got so far.

See you soon,
TD


For the next several weeks, TD put an incredible amount of time and expertise into making this video the amazing piece of art that it is. Steps that would have taken me hours to complete were done in a matter of minutes. Ideas that I came up with became reality in no time. By the time I went to the Great Labor Arts Exchange, I was able to bring a work in progress that was fairly close to a finished project and got invaluable feedback that led to some important changes. While I went out of town for 4th of July weekend (Kate Wolf Festival) TD finessed the project for me. I truly couldn’t have completed this project so successfully without him.


XVI.   The Screening


On July 14th, the 100th anniversary of Woody Guthrie’s birthday, a screening/pot luck jam party was held at Archive Productions from 4-8 p.m. TD was sure we could get it together by then, so that was the date we aimed for. The communal space at the film collective included a large room perfect for a pot luck jam, and the screening room was in another large space on the other side of the collective. 

Occupella was playing at the SF Gray Panthers Woody Celebration, which went from 1-3 p.m., serendipitously on the next block from Archive. After that event, a group walked around the corner with me and were there for the first showing (they went on every so often during the day). People were applauding before it was even over! I had to promise to send the link out as soon as it was available since several of the viewers said they wanted to forward it to everyone they knew. A second screening/pot luck jam was held on July 29th at TD’s house. We had a wonderful gathering of musicians, good food and company, and once again a resoundingly positive response to the video. I was now ready to go public on YouTube with the video and send it out to all the people who were waiting to see it.


XVII. Final Correspondence


Email sent out Monday, July 30th: 

The SING OUT FOR EARTH DAY video is now public!


You can go to the following You Tube link where you can see the video montage:  HYPERLINK "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hGGf7G9W_s" \t "_blank" \o "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hGGf7G9W_s

CTRL + Click to follow link" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hGGf7G9W_s 

or

You can go to the videos page on the Occupella website with this link:

 HYPERLINK "http://www.occupella.org/drupal/?q=sing-out-for-earth-day-videos" \t "_blank" http://www.occupella.org/drupal/?q=sing-out-for-earth-day-videos

where you will find most group’s full performances (lots more than the 10 to 30 seconds of each group that I could include in the video montage) and space to comment on individual videos. At the bottom of the page there will be a full write-up on how the project came to be and what it took to get it done.


I've been working on this pretty much non-stop since February. I now need to get back to recording a new CD as well as the rest of my life. People are asking about next year. I can’t take this on again, but if you know someone who either has that kind of time to organize, or has a lot of money and can hire a crew to do it, that would be great. I have neither, but I’d be glad to advise. If you do decide to take this on (or share a video April 2013) please let me know ( HYPERLINK "mailto:halih@yahoo.com" halih@yahoo.com).


If your group would like to continue with an Earth Day Sing next year, we can continue to use the facebook Sing Out for Earth Day page:

 HYPERLINK "http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sing-Out-for-Earth-Day/402795396403648" \t "_blank" http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sing-Out-for-Earth-Day/402795396403648 and ask others to do the same. There will also be a comment page at the Occupella website come next April if you'd like to let us know what you’re up to through the website. 


PLEASE SPREAD THIS FAR AND WIDE!


– Thanks, Peace and Love, Hali