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Shepherdstown musician sets poems to music

Terry Tucker's interest in Danske Bedinger Dandridge's poems led to 'Lantern in a Poet's Garden'

December 27, 2010|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com
  • Shepherdstown, W.Va., musician Terry Tucker, who wrote a song for director Stanley Kubrick's 1972 violent and futuristic film "A Clockwork Orange," has released a new CD that puts to music the words of two late-19th-century poets.
By Richard B. Belisle/Staff Writer

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — Shepherdstown musician Terry Tucker, who wrote a song for director Stanley Kubrick's 1972 violent and futuristic film "A Clockwork Orange," has released a new CD that puts to music the words of two late-19th- century poets.

Tucker became interested in the poetry of Danske Bedinger Dandridge, (1854-1914) and her poet father, Henry Bedinger, a Shepherdstown native and one-time U.S. minister to Denmark.

Dandridge eventually owned Rose Brake, an antebellum brick home outside Shepherdstown. She died there.

Tucker's interest in Dandridge's poems led to "Lantern in a Poet's Garden," her new CD released in October.

Eleven of the album's songs are poems by Dandridge and two by her father.

"Like the poems, some of the music on the album is dark, some mystical, some playful and whimsical," Tucker said. "It's acoustical, classic and folk, mostly on piano, cello and bass. It's not bubble-gum music."

Of the 11 Dandridge poems on the album, "Wings" is the shortest and most poignant.



"Shall we know in the Hereafter

All the reasons that are hid?

Does the butterfly remember

What the caterpillar did? How he waited, toiled and suffered

To become the chrysalid."




Her career as a songwriter, musician and performer got its start in London in the late 1960s, when she wrote and performed with two friends, Erika Eigen and Freya Hogue. The three met earlier in Washington, D.C.

"We became a band," said Tucker, who grew up in Webster Springs, W.Va. The group performed around London and occasionally in Europe for about 10 years.

They cut an album titled "Sound of the Sun Forest," taken from the band's name, Sun Forest. Once profiled in a glossy British music magazine, the album has since become a collector's item, Tucker said.

"I Want to Marry a Lighthouse Keeper," an instrumental on the album penned by Tucker, came to Kubrick's attention when he heard it.

"He called my manager and asked if he could use the song as an overture for a scene in ‘A Clockwork Orange,'" she said.

Tucker said she still receives royalties from the song, "but they only come in in dribs and drabs."

After the band split up, Tucker remained in London and continued to write music, some for the BBC World Service radio and television teaching programs.

She returned to the United States and settled in Seattle for about five years, where she taught elementary school music and performed again with Hogue.

"We hosted a weekly folk music show," she said.

She came back to West Virginia and moved to Shepherdstown in 2000. She taught elementary music again, performs in the area and gives private piano lessons.

In 2006, she and fellow musician Ardyth Gilbertson produced a Christmas album titled "Ancient Ayers & Carols for Christmas."

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On the Web

Tucker's website is www.terrytucker.net.

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