When I was a kid — this, mind you, was a long time ago — my parents would take my sisters and me to stay with our grandmother when they needed babysitting support/added sanity. Grandma lived outside of town, on farmland, which meant there was an excellent amount of space to play outside, yay! It also meant a restricted number of television channels, ugh. Cable didn’t make its way out to the country until much later, and in the meantime, we were stuck with a network channel or two … and good ol’ PBS. At an age when I was too grown up and cool for Sesame Street (thank goodness I’ve since grown out of *that* attitude), I was delighted to discover a weird and mysterious show about time travel that transported me far away from the day-to-day and into SPACE! Dr. Who quickly became go-to TV whenever my family would indulge me; that was only sometimes, but it was enough.
One of the coolest parts about Dr. Who is the theme song, of course. Eerie and unmistakable, the Dr. Who theme is an electronic arrangement realized by a British woman named Delia Derbyshire. I didn’t find out about her until I was an adult, but once I did, I was intrigued in that same gleeful kid way all over again. And then I found out how much influence and inspiration she has provided, and continues to provide, in the realm of electronic music-making and let’s just say the music nerd center in my brain was lit, fam. Does anyone say that anymore? Fully stoked? Whatever. I was terribly excited.
Turns out that there are a whole bunch of people who are similarly excited. There is a slew of online content celebrating Delia Derbyshire out there in the world, there’s a Delia Derbyshire archive at the University of Manchester, and there’s even a Delia Derbyshire Day (with corresponding events scheduled on November 23, honoring the first date Dr. Who was beamed into people’s living rooms).
Thanks to my indulgent work-family (my colleagues at the Music District), and in collaboration with the Fort Collins Synthesizer Enthusiast meetup group, we’ve purposely scheduled an event that coincides with Delia Derbyshire Day and pays homage to sonic explorations and compositional creativity in electronic music. We’ve invited composer, clinician and multi-instrumentalist Lisa Bella Donna to the Music District to transport you with some electric alchemy (no Tardis required) on November 23 from 1P – 3P. The event is free with RSVP, and open to anyone who is interested in musique concreté, modular synthesis, micro-tonal music, composition, -or- championing the idea that music is for everybody (I’m mostly in that last category, but looking forward to learning a lot). Watch our social media channels throughout the month as we share more snippets about Lisa Bella Donna, Delia Derbyshire, and other electronic music magic makers, and RSVP here to join us for the upcoming workshop and performance.