spirit of optimism to Forum members—
something that would resonate with them
long after the meeting was over.
“So often we speak to the intellectual
side, the minds of our members,” says
Meyer, “but where we really connect with
them is by appealing to their emotional
side. As soon as Greg pitched the idea to
me, I knew I would do it.”
didn’t call in Fine—he pulled in his eight-year-old son. He asked his son to listen to
the song, and then he asked him how the
music made him feel. The boy paused a
couple of seconds, thinking. “It makes me
want to get up and run,” he told his dad.
“That’s when I knew the piece was
going to work out just fine,” says Meyer.
TOO LATE FOR LESSONS
Stuart Meyer has been composing music
for independent films for eight years now.
In fact, he is currently working on his own
documentary film about Kenneth von
Heidecke, a blue-collar kid from Chicago
who grew up with an inexhaustible dream
of attaining professional acclaim in the
world of ballet. Meyer is also co-produc-ing and composing a full-length ballet.
But his was the road less taken.
“I drove more than one piano teacher
to the hills,” Meyer admits.
When he was a child, Meyer sat down
at his home piano and taught himself to
play. By the time his parents figured out
that he had a musical gift, it was “kind of
too late for lessons,” he recalls. The teachers wanted him to read music and to practice the fundamentals. But young Stuart
could never be forced to practice such
things because what he was doing on his
own was so much more interesting.
By age 10, he was already composing.
He taught himself to compose instrumentals, write songs, and play the guitar. And
although he has never stopped working
on his music, for the last eight years his
“day job” has been serving as a senior level
association executive, most recently at the
Emergency Nurses Association.
couch and ran all the way down my street
and back again,” he laughs. “I learned
early on how music can be a transcending
He began playing with some melodies
on his piano. “Composers tell stories
through the transitions in the piece,” he
explains. “Music sets us out on a journey
with the major notes taking on the role of
‘protagonist ‘and ominous minor notes
taking on the role of the ‘challenge’.
Different instrumentations convey different messages.”
‘HE NAILED IT!’
So, back to the restaurant parking lot in
late May. Fine and Meyer are sitting in the
car when Meyer plays the finished com-
Nothing leaves Meyer's studio until it meets the approval of his sons (from
left), Jake and Ben.
I WAS ONE OF THOSE KIDS WHO SAW THE MOVIE
STORIES THROUGH MUSIC
ROCKY AND THEN JUMPED UP OFF THE COUCH AND
RAN ALL THE WAY DOWN MY STREET AND BACK
After the meeting with Greg Fine in
April, Meyer began working up some
ideas. “I asked myself what kind of story I
could tell about the association world
today through music,” he says.
Looking at the economy, Meyer concluded that what the association profession really needed was a shot in the arm.
“I was one of those kids who saw the
movie Rocky and then jumped up off the
He and Fine met again a few weeks later
to go over Meyer’s initial ideas. Fine liked
the direction Meyer was taking and told
him so. Within a few more days, Meyer
had roughed out the song. Mixing and polishing the track itself, of course, took much
longer. “You do different passes and takes,”
he says. “I recorded the electric guitar piece
with 25 different takes using different
effects and microphone configurations.”
A couple of weeks later when Meyer
thought he had the right composition, he
position for him for the first time. The
three-minute instrumental, which features a buoyant mix of piano, percussion
and strings punctuated throughout by
lively riffs of electric guitar, left Fine in a
poignant moment of awe.
“The very first thing that went through
my mind was ‘Yes, he nailed it!’” recalls
Fine. “It was exactly what I was looking
for. Upbeat, inspirational and dynamic.”
Titled “Go the Distance,” Forum
unveiled the song at its annual meeting in