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Author Topic: Our first public uke performance of 2013  (Read 3879 times)

Tom

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Our first public uke performance of 2013
« on: March 03, 2013, 06:34:15 PM »
Our Delta Strummers ukulele band is now up to almost 40 players from 10 (or 11) less than 2 years ago. Public performances, active recruiting, and providing beginners classes have all contributed to the increased membership. We've decided to cap it at 40 for now, due to logistics at some of the venues where we perform. Meanwhile, we continue to introduce new music to 'spice' up the portfolio and add variety.

Our upcoming 'public' performance is next Friday (March 8th) at an assisted living facility in a nearby town. The residents are always so appreciative of the entertainment, and they often join in singing some of the songs. We perform at another assisted living facility on April 30th. These performances give newcomers to the band an opportunity to perform 'publicly' without too much stress, and they also act as a rehearsal for our paid performances (next one is on June 2nd).

Personally, I'm looking forward to a 'big venue' performance later in the year. It will scare a bunch of players to perform in a full theater setting, but it's all part of the personal growing process. Hopefully, my voice will be up for a solo; I just need to talk nice to our music director.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 06:56:29 PM by Tom »
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Tom

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Re: Our first public uke performance of 2013
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2013, 06:55:16 PM »
I've added another engagement to our Delta Strummers calendar. On April 4th we play at the large, nearly-new Brentwood Civic Center, for the Conference Of Mayors and City Councils from 19 East Bay cities. I initially said NO, because playing and singing while a noisy group drink cocktails or eat dinner has proven to be a disaster (we're not mic'd and can't hear each other). But we got it changed to an after-dinner performance, if we can keep the old(er) uke players awake past their bedtimes  ;D   Maybe the audience will have had enough drinks to start throwing peanuts at us  :o
« Last Edit: March 09, 2013, 10:34:00 PM by Tom »
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Tom

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Re: Our first public uke performance of 2013
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2013, 10:53:20 AM »
Quote
Our upcoming 'public' performance is next Friday (March 8th) at an assisted living facility in a nearby town.

Another performance for an appreciative audience who joined in singing some of the numbers. The band, including some newcomers, had a great time. As always, I learn something from all these informal performances, which hopefully will result in improvement during our paid performances. A few newcomers didn't feel they were 'ready to perform in public', and opted out; I feel they missed an opportunity to develop and become comfortable playing in public.
 
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Tom

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Re: Our first public uke performance of 2013
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2013, 08:44:29 PM »
Quote
On April 4th we play at the large, nearly-new Brentwood Civic Center, for the Conference Of Mayors and City Councils from 19 East Bay cities.

At last evening's ukulele practice, someone asked the question if I would be able to project in this large auditorium without a mic' and amplifier. We have audio equipment I could use if necessary, but I don't normally require amplification. Today, our Music Director and I visited the venue to discuss room setup for the audience and the band, logistics and other stuff. (Our Music Director also directs an 85-person mixed choral group that has performed at this venue).

Following formalities and discussion, I asked the civic center staff to leave us alone for a short while as we both played ukulele and banjo ukulele, and I sang. Taking into account absorption by seated dinner guests, and 'audience noise', our joint verdict was no sweat, and no amplification of my voice required. We might even need to provide earplugs  ;D

Interesting acoustics in the design of this auditorium.
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Tom

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Re: Our first public uke performance of 2013
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2013, 08:47:54 PM »
Last-minute logistics are planned. This venue is not visible in Google maps or Google Earth, so Saturday I visited, drove around, walked around, and made my own maps.

I'd called ahead about handicap parking (some of our members are in their late 70's and early 80's, and can't walk too far). The response was "there's handicap parking in the parking garage". Hm, that involves a long walk; Do you have handicap parking out front? "Yes, but there's only one handicap slot". Unbelievable.

Yesterday we met with the Mayor's personal assistant to cover last-minute changes, and today I finalized the seating plan. Audio equipment is all arranged; No mic's, except for number introductions, no ukes amplified, guitar base riffs will be amplified, with a couple of monitors to help folks stay on the beat.

At last night's practice, the Maestro trimmed verses/repeats out of a couple of songs to fit the time slot. Today I emailed everyone in case they didn't attend practice, didn't mark up their music, or just forgot  ::)

We go on stage at 8:30pm, and I'm hoping we can keep everyone awake (including me)  ;D I have a very scratchy throat, but I'm hoping to close the show with my solo of God Bless America. If not, I'll wave the flag and the Maestro will fill in for me.
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Tom

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Re: Our first public uke performance of 2013
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2013, 07:39:13 PM »
This "performance" confirmed my original instinct to decline the request to perform. I should not have allowed my arm to be twisted with the promise that we'd perform after dinner.

Because of logistics, we had everyone turn up early, and shuffled them into a large back room to tune up and warm up. I gave everyone a seating plan, had them label all their music and uke stands, and had a small crew staged to set up all the chairs and stands.

At the last minute, our hosts sprang a surprise and asked if we'd play during dinner, and I knew that was a recipe for disaster. Rather than try to describe it multiple times, I posted this page on our web site, influenced by a combination of events and my odd sense of humor  ;)

We learned the lesson yet again, but I felt sorry for the newcomers for whom this was their first public performance. We're doing a lot of hand holding to avoid losing these folks. This will be on the agenda for tomorrow's Board meeting.
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Ned

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Re: Our first public uke performance of 2013
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2013, 08:06:25 PM »
Tough lesson, but well learned.  I bet that won't happen again.
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Tom

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Re: Our first public uke performance of 2013
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2013, 08:10:38 PM »
Not if I can help it. This one, against my protestations, was a special favor for the Mayor by our Music Director. We'd already had a couple of bad experiences, which made me adamantly say NO.
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Ned

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Re: Our first public uke performance of 2013
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2013, 08:23:45 PM »
Take a CD and let them play that during dinner as a warm up for the real performance after eating and the tables are cleared.
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Tom

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Re: Our first public uke performance of 2013
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2013, 08:44:33 PM »
The last time we gave someone a CD was to a kid who was hired as the Activities Director of a local assisted-living facility. After several meetings with this kid, he called me and asked for a social security number because of the $50 donation they were going to give us to perform.

I suggested he use his own SS number, which wasn't well received. He said they'd need to "deduct tax", which is a backup witholding requirement if they don't have a completed W-9 (he didn't understand this). I asked what the witholding would be, and his answer was "more than $50". I let him know, both verbally and in writing, that we wouldn't be paying them to play/sing for their inmates residents.
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Tom

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Re: Our first public uke performance of 2013
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2013, 07:41:28 AM »
Moving forward ...

Over the weekend I emailed the practice list for our June 2 concert; First practice is this evening. The Maestro starts with 25-30 numbers, and makes the final choice a couple of weeks before the show, based on how well we play/sing and his desired mix/theme. We have a freebie performance for an assisted-living facility on April 30, and that will include a subset of the June 2 list.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2013, 07:51:16 AM by Tom »
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SeilerBird

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Re: Our first public uke performance of 2013
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2013, 07:48:27 AM »
At the last minute, our hosts sprang a surprise and asked if we'd play during dinner, and I knew that was a recipe for disaster. Rather than try to describe it multiple times, I posted this page on our web site, influenced by a combination of events and my odd sense of humor  ;)
That's nothing. Try playing rock and roll in a country and western bar for a room full of drunks sometime...
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Tom

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Re: Our first public uke performance of 2013
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2013, 08:00:52 AM »
I can only begin to imagine what it's like, and I have no desire to play in a setting like that. While we were playing on Thursday, I was thinking about you playing in a noisy bar, and also thought about the piano player at Nordstrom's during a busy Christmas shopping weekend  ;D

I consciously stay away from noisy places and overly-loud music, and have been known to walk out of a noisy restaurant where I couldn't hear myself think.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2013, 09:16:50 AM by Tom »
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Larry N.

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Re: Our first public uke performance of 2013
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2013, 11:12:51 AM »
Quote
I consciously stay away from noisy places and overly-loud music, and have been known to walk out of a noisy restaurant where I couldn't hear myself think.

I've done that in stores, too, where they had too loud and/or objectionable (to me) material over their audio system (I'm not sure it was really music, but...) -- DW got upset, but...
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Tom

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Re: Our first public uke performance of 2013
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2013, 11:17:12 AM »
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DW got upset

My DW stopped getting upset a long time ago. It took much longer, but Chris finally stopped using the vacuun cleaner if I was in the same room.
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Larry N.

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Re: Our first public uke performance of 2013
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2013, 12:35:32 PM »
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but Chris finally stopped using the vacuun cleaner if I was in the same room.

I finally (in the last few months) persuaded Mary Ann that she should wear hearing protection when vacuuming (I get out the earplugs that are always in my pocket -- have been since mid-1970s -- I don't do that in stores, might in certain restaurants, depending). I got her a Peltor muff-type device. Her hearing is bad enough as it is.
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Tom

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Re: Our first public uke performance of 2013
« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2013, 06:33:33 PM »
Yesterday, 26 Delta Strummers performed for an appreciative audience at a local assisted-living facility. The audience sang along on several numbers, and were 'moving' along with the music in their seats (and wheelchairs), and tapping their feet to the beat. Feedback from 'plants' in the audience was that we've continued to improve as a group of musicians. Our playing is solid and tight, thanks to weekly practices and folks practicing at home. Our singing needs improvement; Some folks, especially the newer members, are still focusing on their playing and not enunciating the lyrics.

Personally, I felt that we could have done with a monitor or two; I couldn't hear the playing or singing from the opposite end of the group, nor could I hear the base riffs played by the guitarist, also at the far end. We'll fix that when we perform for our next (paid) concert on June 2nd.

Several newcomers chose not to perform yesterday, believing they "weren't ready to perform in public". I feel this was a missed opportunity, as this was a great "dress rehearsal" for our June 2nd concert. I suggest that these folks "sit in the back row and don't be afraid to fan/fake a few chords; If you hit a few clunkers, nobody will notice". I was disappointed to see a couple of newer band members sitting in the audience!

As the group has grown (we're now at 37, having lost a few and picked up one), logistics issues have increased. Yesterday, we had a small team of guys and a pickup truck staged to pick up 30 folding chairs borrowed from a nearby facility, deliver them to the venue, set up, and return them afterwards. I anticipate having to lug and set up/tear down portable stages if we get the full group show up for a performance &/or we grow the band.

Yesterday we picked up another sign-up for beginners uke classes which will re-start in the Fall.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2013, 06:52:48 PM by Tom »
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mariekie4

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Re: Our first public uke performance of 2013
« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2013, 06:52:02 PM »
Tom, it sounds as if you a full- time hobby! Just reading about it sounds as if you have your hands full.
If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.       George S. Patton.


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Tom

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Re: Our first public uke performance of 2013
« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2013, 06:58:44 PM »
Aye Mariekie, I say that it's 5% of my interest, but consumes 40% of my time. An added complexity is the older age of a number of members; Along with age come a number of issues, one of which is memory loss. I 'manage' a lot of the stuff via email and, for example, all the music/updates are on our web site. But some folks don't remember to turn on their computer more often than once a week!

I've joked that I need to hire/borrow a prison bus to transport band members to performances, to be sure they all turn up. Yesterday one band member called from a different assisted-facility in a different town, wondering where we all were  ;D
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mariekie4

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Re: Our first public uke performance of 2013
« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2013, 01:19:55 PM »
Well good luck to you and may the gods bless you with lots and lots and lots.......of patience!!!!!!!!LOL....

Marie.
If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.       George S. Patton.


2007 Winnebago Journey 35'
2011 Jeep Liberty

 

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