Today’s Bloganuary prompt is, “What do you want to achieve in 2023?” My answer: a better vocabulary.
In 1991, I stage-managed a holiday musical revue called I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas for Carolyn Vincent Productions at the Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis. Like many churches (I would come to learn), it had a small stage that lent itself to Christianity and shitty theatre.
During a rehearsal, the cast, producer and director were talking about including the Cole Porter song, “Begin the Beguine.” I had never heard of the song.
“Begin the what?” I asked.
“How do you spell it?” I asked, for I was taking rehearsal notes.
“What’s it mean?”
“You know. A beguine!” said Jennifer, an impatient actor.
Nobody provided a satisfactory definition; there just wasn’t time for that sort of thing at the Plymouth Congregational Church or apparently in the past 32 years because it dawned on me this morning that in all that time I have never looked it up.
Until this morning. It’s a rumba-like dance.
That’s beguine pronounced “buh-GEEN” with a hard g. I also learned there’s a separate definition with two different pronunciations!
"Beguine -- pronounced BAY-geen or BAY-jeen: a member of one of various ascetic and philanthropic communities of women not under vows founded chiefly in the Netherlands in the 13th century." -Merriam-Webster
Now doesn’t that sound like a rip-roaring good time?
Maybe not, but I’ll tell you what is. Listening to a recording of Sammy Davis, Jr. sing “Begin the Beguine” is pure perfection. I’m listening right now and I highly recommend adding it to your playlist. Here’s a video of the legendary crooner.
With that, I’ll sign off for the day. Happy New Year and thank you for reading my blog.
Under vows as I endeavor to achieve a better vocabulary,
P.S. Blogine is pronounced Blog-EEN, not “bluh-jeye-nuh.”
P.P.S. “Begin the Beguine” never made it into the show.