A lifelong Alexandrian, musician Ray Parker recently penned an original tune singing the citys praises that he hopes local officials will use to trumpet his hometowns charm.
Entitled Golden Times, Golden Memories and Golden Friends (Alexandria, The Friendly Town), Parkers tribute to Alexandria implores the listener to explore and enjoy the citys scenery, history and citizenry. The lyrics also gently remind residents to greet out-of-towners with a pleasant smile.
Chicago inspired Jimmy Van Heusens My Kind of Town and New York City has, of course, New York, New York, most famously performed by Frank Sinatra. Alexandria needs a song that captures the community and instantly brings the city to mind, Parker said.
I thought it would help Alexandria if they had a musical identity, something [city officials] could promote all over the world, something that would be to their advantage and encourage citizen pride, Parker said. The main purpose of the song is to project Alexandria as a friendly town and the most friendly town in Virginia That was the point I was trying to make.
He has since brought the tune to the attention of the city council in hopes officials will license the song and use it to promote the city, draw in visitors and give residents a sense of identity. Hes offered City Hall a license to use the song however they see fit just not for profit.
Fellow lifelong Alexandrian and city councilman Frank Fannon says his colleagues have yet to discuss whether they would appropriate the tune or how to go about doing so but called Parkers project an interesting idea. The city could use a song, he said.
Were definitely going to take a look into and see if it is something feasible, Fannon said. I think its a great idea We have a state song, a state bird and state motto, but I dont think we have a City of Alexandria song.
As yet there are no recorded versions of Parkers tune just the sheet music but officials with the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association joined Fannon in expressing excitement about the concept.
Alexandria makes everyone want to break into song. We cant think of a better inspiration and were wondering when we get to hear the tune, said spokeswoman Claire Mouledoux.
Though Parker is holding on to the songs copyright, he doesnt expect to make any money off of the piece. Hes written more than 100 songs in his lengthy career, which included leading big bands in the 40s and 50s and a stint as a musician in the Air Force.
But he got his start in Alexandria. Parker recalls coming across the most beautiful trumpet he had ever seen in a King Street music store in 1938. He mentioned the instrument to his father and awoke on a Christmas morning not too long after to find the brass piece under the family tree.
Im trying to pay [the city] back, Parker said. I was raised here, Ive been here all my life and Im just trying to give something back to the city to help the city.