Youngman / Overholt is a piece for piano and electronics, written in honor of my grandmother, Betty Jane Youngman Overholt, who passed away in early 2013. BJ performed the accordion and piano from a young age and had perfect pitch. Although she become completely deaf the last 20 years of her life, she taught herself to read lips, and she could still play classic tunes on the piano perfectly from muscle memory. Sadly, because of her hearing, my grandmother never could listen to the music I wrote for her, even while alive. The electronics for Youngman / Overholt are based on a 2011 voice recording of BJ talking about her husband (my grandfather), David Overholt, while he was in the ICU several weeks before his death at age 90. They had been married for 68 years.

Dictation of BJ’s voice

“You know, the older you get I notice, you don’t have as many either. Uh, highs or lows. You don’t feel all that bad, but you don’t feel all that good…it…it… e..ev..everything it just, you know it used to be, “Oh my god—aahh”, and then, but now it’s just all kind of comes… I find that with me too.”

+ Download the score.