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Susan Taylor’s Pandemic Song “Zoom Nightmare”

Greenbelt resident Susan Taylor is plenty busy during the pandemic, at home working AND performing videos for the (virtual for 2020) New England Folk Festival.

“The Pandemic Song: My Zoom Nightmare” is a parody song commenting on the physical distancing practices, supply chain shortages, working from home gaffes, and unexpected crushes on public figures experienced during the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Based on the song, “All I Have to Do is Dream” written by Boudleaux Bryant and popularized by the Everly Brothers, the parody was written by Janine Smith. Susan is in the upper right in the video.

Piano accompaniment is provided by Charlie Pilzer, sound engineer at Tonal Sound Recording Studio in Takoma Park, where he mixed and engineered the sound for this video. So when asked her advice about synching musical performances on Zoom, Susan answered, “Always know a professional.” Janine recorded from her home in Gaithersburg, and the video was edited by Bill Quern.

Susan and Janine together are the Too Hot Mamas, a duo of dance callers – community dance leaders, choreographers, instructors, and callers/prompters in the traditional folk social dance world. They “work to bring joy, connection, coordination, and occasional silliness to folks in participatory dance communities everywhere.”

Susan writes that “I recorded this video late at night after a full week of seeing clients on-line (I’m a psychotherapist who formerly had a practice in Baltimore and now sees clients, and records videos, from my bedroom – nothing Freudian about that?!?!) and holding their Pandemic Nightmares…Janine and I have been working together for about 1000 years, and are sisters of a different mother. She’s WONDERFUL!”

Susan has also been making videos for her work with families at PACT Therapeutic Nursery, which serves families with children 0-3 who are experiencing homelessness. According to their website, “Susan A. Taylor, LCSW-C, CMA, RPT-S is a psychotherapist with a specialty in movement, music, and attachment for adults, children, and families.”

More Videos by Susan

The video “Squared Dreams” is a virtual singing square dance. Singing squares use altered lyrics of popular songs to insert dance choreography instruction into the song. Also based on the song, “All I Have to Do is Dream,” these dance lyrics were written by Too Hot Mamas, with choreography inspired by Tom Hinds. Performed by Susan and Janine with the band, Tuneado (Charlie Pilzer on piano, Sarah Gowan on guitar, Bill Quern on banjo, Dave Casserly on sax, and Bob Garber on clarinet). Recorded in seven locations, Charlie Pilzer of Tonal Sound Recording Studio mixed and engineered the sound, and Bill Quern edited the video.

“Sloop John B Squared” is another virtual singing square dance. Based on the song, ”Sloop John B,” a Bahamian folk song first transcribed in 1916, was popularized globally by the Beach Boys in 1966.

And “Family Dancing,” specifically for families and children, is performed by Susan and her daughter, Isobel Taylorch and Bob Garber on clarinet. The songs and dances in this video – “Jump Up On Your Toes,” “Zodiac” and “Alley Cat” – are danced by families all over the world and were adapted for families to apply to the current COVID-19 situation.

More New England Folk Festival Videos

Click Virtual NEFFA 2020 to see more videos created and performed for the New England Folk Festival. In normal times it’s a weekend festival of music and dance that has brought together thousands of people to create and share living dance and music traditions – since 1944!

NOTE: By contributing these pandemic stories, photos, et cetera, Greenbelters are making an unconditional donation of the material to the nonprofit Greenbelt Online.org and the Greenbelt Museum/City of Greenbelt, which reserve the right to keep, lend, or otherwise dispose of the donated material, and may use the material on our website, for social media or other postings, in promotional materials or in future exhibits.

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