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Graduation Day

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I wrote this song after reading the names of graduating students at Cornell's architecture department commencement ceremony in May 2011 (in the video, Bill Clinton is borrowed as honorary speaker and degree recipient from the 2011 NYU ceremony at Yankee Stadium). By sheer coincidence, the NY Times reports today (7/4/11) that J.D. Salinger was also not a big fan of graduation ceremonies: "'I've been going to graduations, and there isn't much that I find more pretentious or irksome than the sight of "faculty" and graduates in their academic get-ups,' he wrote a friend in June 1982, mentioning that it took self-control at one point 'not to gag.'"

Video shot entirely with a low-resolution Flip Camcorder, and edited on Final Cut Express by J. Ochshorn.
Thanks to Kurt Ochshorn for lead guitar and help with the GarageBand mix.

Graduation Day
Words and music © 2011 J. Ochshorn

1. looks like they're ready to start the show
brothers and sisters begin to squirm
adkins to underwood just forty-five more to go
they keep checking their programs to confirm

2. canons and nikons start to click
capturing you and your smiling face
in your regalia framed by these vaults of brick
a triumphant symbol of this place

CHORUS: don't get me wrong
it only looks like i'm complaining
and when the rivers start to flood
it only seems like it's been raining

3. what are you wrapping around your chest
like some medieval druid priest
do you feel special better than the rest
invited to this universal feast

4. the speaker speaks with flags unfurled
spouting every known cliché
the times are tough but i know that you can change the world
yeah and life gets better each and every day [CHORUS]

5. what have you done since you've been here
took you four long years just to learn this game
still i can't understand why they rise and cheer
as you step to the stage and I call your name

6. are you prepared to play this role
can you keep these wheels in motion
you're just a cog in a machine out of control
and it can't be fixed with their magic potion [CHORUS]

Production notes:
Music arranged and produced by J. Ochshorn
Recorded with GarageBand software
Vocals: J. Ochshorn
Real instruments: J. Ochshorn (except lead guitar by Kurt Ochshorn)
Software instruments played live on midi keyboard: J. Ochshorn
Recorded at home in Ithaca, NY, July, 2011.