Sandra Boynton

[The below segment is from Sandra Boynton's autobiography. The complete text can be found here.]

MUSIC
By 1995, my secret ambition of being a rock star was still unrealized due to the fact that, in all the excitement, I forgot to do that. And also due to the appalling indifference of a fickle music-buying public. And also perhaps because I don’t really sing and can’t really play any instrument. So I decided to write and produce music instead because hey, how hard can THAT be? I wrote the words for "Rhinoceros Tap,” which fell into the hands of the brilliant yet provocatively humble Michael Ford, a composer and pianist. Mike sent me a demo of his composition for that song, and the rest is History, except that there aren’t any Assignment Questions that begin with "Compare and contrast.” Together, Mike and I have now written more than sixty songs (and several more unreleased songs that still need A LOT of work) recorded by various singers—some famous, all noteworthy—collected in four albums sold as book/recording sets: Rhinoceros Tap (Workman 1996, a spiffier version was released in May 2004,) Philadelphia Chickens (2002), Dog Train (2005) and Blue Moo:17 Jukebox Hits from Way Back Never (2007.) Rounder Records has also released the albums as stand-alone CDs.
The first three albums have been certified Gold by the RIAA, and Philadelphia Chickens was nimonated fro a Grammy. That’s a typo, yet I feel that "nimonated” is too fine a word to correct.

Between the first two recording projects, giddy with my new-found calling, I wrote and composed a most unlikely non-children’s album (with illuminated book) Grunt: Pigorian Chant. It’s plainchant and polyphony written in Latin and Pig Latin. I like to think of Grunt as the culmination of a lifetime of joyfully squandering an expensive education on producing works of no apparent usefulness. To prepare and conduct the recording sessions, I asked Fenno Heath, director emeritus of the Yale Glee Club, who never says no; and he called up twenty singers, and no one ever says no to the chance to sing with Fenno. It became Amazon.com’s best-selling title in its category in 1999, which is true but don’t think about it too closely.

Subsequently, I had the unexpected privilege to write the text for three serious pieces of choral music by Fenno. One of these, "Invocation”, was performed at Avery Fisher Hall in 2002. Really.