From the recording 2 One World/Open The People
In 1969, at age 13, I attended the three-day Woodstock festival in Bethel, New York. Forty years later, the memory of that experience is still potent. For many of us who participated in the event, there was a feeling that we could change the world for the better—and music was at the center of that change. Soon after, I discovered my passion for songwriting. One World was written at age 17, part of a series of songs that represented social commentary, as I saw it, from the point of view of the burgeoning youth culture I was wrapped up in. We struggled to make sense out of a confusing world—the Vietnam War was still in full swing in 1972 and we were prime draftee material. “One World” is from that period.
The words to “Open The People” were written by Vera Williams, one of the many creative artists living in the intentional community where I grew up, in Rockland County, New York. Vera and her architect husband Paul, were founders of this community or "Land" as we still call it. After studying with Buckminster Fuller at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, Paul designed the houses at the Land including the one I grew up in. Vera, who is now known for her many wonderful children's books, agreed to let me use some of her poems including "Open the People," which I used as a medley with "One World" and finally recorded 36 years later!
“One World” begins over the ocean waves with the first variation of the “piano/time motive,” heard here as a sped-up piano sequence that echoes the “tick-tock” of the “A” section in the Prologue. Now time is passing by even faster. The words begin “Hold on…” as if to warn the listener not to fall off the carousel of time, but also to continue to assure the listener, to “hold on” to what becomes clearer with the verse… their “dreams.” The chorus, with its glissando of vocal “ahs,” provides a continuation of a dream-like state.
“One World” leads directly into “Open the People.” On a play of the familiar children’s finger rhyme, lyricist Vera Williams looks past what is held behind the doors of the church (people) but instead, what is held within the people themselves… “Open the people and there is the church.” The circular poem leads us from the church, to art, to the heart, to God, and finally, by opening God, back to the people. The poem is a celebration of life (“ring the bells”) that asks us to look inside ourselves, to open up our minds and to understand the connectedness of spirituality with creativity, and our oneness with God (whatever or whoever we believe that to be). They are powerful words that I hoped would inspire the listener about the beauty of the inner self.