(The) Winnebago Bay

gently swung, sweetly sung
PDF | Midi Mp3

When the white snows of yesteryear’s winter have receded, when the vernal hours and aestival days begin to thicken, when single-serving snack-bags bloom red, yellow, and dream-lucid blue on each and every Milwaukee curb and root-snag — well, that can only mean one thing: it’s the time for the “Winnebago Bay.”

This is one of the first songs I purposely wrote under my then-new nom de plume of The Viper in the late 1990s. Though the studio version from Everything For Everyone is canonical, for the reference track here I’ll instead link to a live performance from 2009 in Champaign, IL at Mike ‘n Molly’s. Why? Well, when we recorded this particular third-song-in radio-friendly single for our studio recording on the album, we also ended up recording some of the very few overdubs that producer Jay Bennett and the Orchestra did after I’d left to teach in Ankara, Turkey. This includes the toy piano contributed by Victor Cortez and the lap steel guitar donated by Kip Rainey. And, fortuitously, both musicians are here for your aural edification on this live version.

The Viper & His Famous Orchestra, “Winnebago Bay,” Mike ‘n Molly’s, Champaign, IL, Summer 2009

And as a bonus bonus, here’s a live performance that came out of my work as Composer in Residence with maestro Riley Broach’s Lake Zurich Middle School North Orchestras (LZORK). For their Spring concert in 2018, we put together a version of “Winnebago Bay” for the Seventh Grade orchestra, who essentially played the role of the lap steel guitar (Kip Rainey should get a composing credit!) but also did some nice singing as well.

LZORK, “Winnebago Bay,” Lake Zurich, IL, Spring 2018
Cover art, sheet music rendition of “The Winnebago Bay,” arranged for piano with ukulele chords (includes the rarely heard introductory verse). Feel free to take a gander and download the 4-page PDF.

the kind of music your great-great-great-grandparents warned your great-great-grandparents about