Theramore Suite

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Theramore, the Orchestral Suite
“With love in the heart and the right song, we can save the world”

Every now and again, crazy ideas – or stories I want to tell – pop into my mind and just won’t go away. Theramore is one of these.

It was born off “Point Dume” back in 1987. At that time I had scraped together a few hundred dollars so that I could buy a dilapidated Narcra 5.0 – a beach catamaran not unlike a Hobie. My passion was sailing it solo off the California coast.

One afternoon, I came across an abandoned “ghost” net, not more than a mile off the beach at Paradise Cove. There is nothing sadder than knowing that lost nets like this are killing thousands of sea creatures for no reason. And of course, the net’s nylon mesh will last forever. So naturally, I had to write a musical to express my feelings about this experience – that’s what composers do. (Did I mention just how much I love seafood? I could eat it every day!)

And so story of Theramore goes like this:

The town of Theramore has reached a crossroads.

As the industrial revolution dawns on this sleepy fishing village, its Chieftain hungers for wealth and riches to fill his new castle. To satisfy this lust, he has devised a type of fishing net that exponentially increases the amount of sea life his fisherman can harvest.

Erutan, an ancient sea creature with the temperament of a paladin dragon, discovers the nets. Erutan’s anger is kindled by the net’s wanton destruction of the ocean’s precious resources. Realizing that mankind’s promise to live in concert with the forces of nature has been broken, Erutan sets out for Theramore bent on destroying the world of men.

Theramore’s only hope of surviving Erutan’s onslaught is if Del, the town’s reluctant misfit, can convince Erutan that mankind, with their ability to love, can indeed mend their ways and preserve the balances of nature.

The story, along with a handful of themes, languished in my brain for years, awaiting an opportunity to be brought to life.

Then, in 1995, I was commissioned by Chicago’s “Symphony of the Shores Orchestra” to create a new work for their fall children’s concert. I knew exactly what I wanted to do: I would tell the story of Theramore, in the style of “Peter and the Wolf,” and I would have key frames from the animation projected behind the orchestra. If I had only known what I was in for!

First, I enlisted the support of a dear friend, the award winning animator, Allen Battino, who sketched all the images in pen and ink. The images were then scanned and colored in Adobe Photoshop. Finally, the colored images were transferred to slides for projection – months of work, stated in three sentences. I Owe Allen Big Time!

When completed, the orchestral suite ran 30 minutes, included over fifty images and was narrated by Byrne Piven. A thrilling experience that was a nightmare to put together – and that I would happily relive should the opportunity arise. I’ve still got all the parts!

Some technical problems kept me from getting a good recording of the orchestra, so I’ve created a “Midiot Music” version to share with you. Click on this ERUTAN link to download an MP3 his theme (1.5 MB) or if you have a fast internet connection and the newest version of QuickTime, download the entire suite synchronized with the images (60 MB).