Essex songwriter pens patriotic tune for troops WAR IN THE GULF

MARYLANDERS AND THE GULF

January 29, 1991|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Baltimore County Bureau of the Sun

The voice is a booming, deep-from-the-heart baritone -- oak-solid enough to sing the national anthem to start any Orioles game or Fourth of July celebration.

But this tune is no anthem to be sung at a ballpark.

This is more of a battle hymn for a nation gone to war, a synthesized melody sung by Joseph A. DiCara of Essex that is intended as a morale booster for the troops fighting in the Persian Gulf region.

Mr. DiCara said he wrote "Desert Storm" with a college friend last week because he wanted to help make sure that the troops felt supported. It has already aired on one local radio station, and others are considering playing it.

The inspiration for the song came from the 11 p.m. news. The concept came out of Mr. DiCara's recollections of what he considers a sad chapter in U.S. history.

"I can remember from the Vietnam War one of the biggest negatives for the troops was they felt people back home didn't support them," said Mr. DiCara, music director at the Basilica of the Assumption in Baltimore. "I didn't want that kind of negative thing to happen this time."

Mr. DiCara earns a living as a representative of the Baltimore County Economic Development Commission, helping small businesses get started and survive.

But as the son of the conductor of the Middle River Concert Band, the 41-year-old singer has always been musically inclined.

Mr. DiCara earned a degree in music education from Towson State University in 1975. Before signing on as music director at the Basilica two years ago, he was music director at St. Clare's Church in Essex.

Marketing himself as "the Baltimore baritone," he also sings at weddings and has performed the national anthem before Orioles, Skipjacks and Baltimore Blast games. In the summer of 1988, he produced a Christmas album. The title song, "Christmas Dream," was a tune he wrote himself. Distributed locally, it sold about 2,000 copies, he said.

So one night early last week after watching the 11 p.m. news, Mr. DiCara began jotting down the first version of the lyrics of "Desert Storm" on a paper napkin and the back of an envelope.

A few days later, he took his first completed draft to a friend's house, where they both spent much of Thursday night coming up with a finished version.

"He came in with a lot of ideas, and then basically, we had to reorganize it," said Norman Noplock, the co-author, another former music teacher, who runs East Coast Sound Lab Inc. in Rosedale.

The finished product is a heavy-handed, thickly coated patriotic theme, full of Old Glory and soldiers who march proudly and fight bravely "on the sea or anywhere."

The 3-minute, 40-second tune begins with the sound of a jet taking off. It is sung with a synthesizer that includes the background sounds of drums, a French horn, a guitar and a piano keyboard.

The two men, who met while music students at Towson State, distributed the song Friday to a half-dozen radio stations in the area. They also hope to ship 2,000 cassette tapes of it to Persian Gulf soldiers.

A donor who wants to remain anonymous has offered to pay the $3,000 costs for production of the cassettes for the troops, said Mr. Noplock, 38, of Rosedale.

"Desert Storm"

Our brave soldiers march along, as they take with them our song, into the desert.

Our brave soldiers march along, to help make all nations strong, in this struggle.

Sons and daughters, moms and dads,

A yellow ribbon as their badge marching proudly.

When Old Glory waves on high,

Courage beacons in the sky,

Our hopes of freedom.

Our brave soldiers march along, as they take with them our song, into the desert.

Our brave soldiers march along, to help make all nations strong, in this struggle.

Although some pray they don't go,

In their hearts our soldiers know,

It's their duty.

Army, Navy and Marines,

National Guard and Air Force seem to have it covered,

Like no other.

As they cross the stormy sands,

A desert sword in their hand

To save our freedom.

As they fly right through the air,

On the sea or anywhere,

They fight bravely.

And unite us Lord we pray,

Help remember Lord this day,

Forever, and ever

Our brave soldiers march along, as they take with them our song, into the desert.

Our brave soldiers march along, to help make all nations strong, in this struggle.

And when all is said and done,

Deliver each and every one,

To home safely,

Desert Storm's the name they gave,

For this war of the free and brave,

That's America.

Words and music by Joe S. DiCara and Norman Noplock

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