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  1. #1

    The wind, the park, the plexi and other things.

    My big band, the AZ Swing Kings Orchestra, appeared at the Wigwam resort in Litchfield Park, AZ in March as part of their “Arts In The Park” series. They liked us so much that they decided to book us for an added Veteran’s Day concert. These are sponsored events—admission is free. We had 600-700 people on their lawn in the spring and expect a similar crowd on Sunday. It’s a lovely setting and the price is right, so stop by on 11/11/18 from 3-5 PM, and say Hi if you do.

    Having got past that shameless plug:

    Good Morning Arizona on local channel 3 did a remote today touting events in Litchfield Park, and the Wigwam activities person asked us to do a live promo on the lawn in front of the library at 9 AM. The weather, as usual, was beautiful but breezy. The band has plexiglas sheets, so I grabbed one for my stand. These are always a nuisance, but beat clothespins, rubber bands or clamps. We were planning to do 32-bar excerpts of three charts; we ran through them and the band sounded great. A few minutes before we were on they asked us to cut the first chart for time—I rearranged my charts under the plexi. The wind was getting stronger. We played the first excerpt as background to the interview with our leader, then he turned, called the final chart and started to count off.

    Yikes! I still had to wrestle with my second chart under the plexi. On regular outdoor gigs I usually put my guitar down first and have two hands free to deal with the charts and plexi, but no time for that. I pulled the chart out, couldn’t get it back in place under the plexi, put it on top of the plexi and it promptly blew away! Now I know this tune cold but my mind just went blank and I spent whole time mostly doing rhythmic scratching. I was really angry with myself. Worse, it later occurred to me that since each excerpt was on one page I could have put both charts side by side under the plexi and not had to deal with moving charts at all. Stupid, stupid, stupid!

    Anyway, the band looked and sounded great on TV, but I wish I had actually been playing.

    Danny W.
    Last edited by Danny W.; 11-09-2018 at 09:09 PM.

  2. #2
    I seen it on 3 this morning, if I knew I would of recorded it. You sound good.The wind, the park, the plexi and other things.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Congratulations on your survival.

    I know a bit about the neighborhood, so's nice to hear of your adventure.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    North Coast Pennsylvania
    Posts
    3,059
    I think most of us have had similar moments (I know I have had my share) but at least you had the presence of mind to use the old "I meant to do that" ploy to make playing motions. Dollars to donuts the audience was unaware anything was amiss.
    Best regards, k

  5. #5
    It's a harrowing experience doing an outdoor concert with constant strong winds blowing your music away. You feel like you're on a ship that's fighting a storm, and it's 'every man for himself, and God against everyone'.
    If your music's in a strong, leather bound book, ironically, it's tougher to keep your music from flying away, because you have to take those long ,'roadmap' charts out of the book, and lift up the plexi-glass to put it on your stand. While you're doing that, the wind can blow away all the charts that are on your stand, and while you're securing the charts on your stand, the chart you just took out could fly away.
    The best solution is to take all the charts out of the book, and have them all protected by the plexi-glass, and forget about the book.
    If your music's all in folders, the folders should be all behind the plexi-glass. Everything might be one big mess, but at least it's not flying all over the stage. You're fighting a war with the wind, and if you let your guard down for a second, it's all over.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by viccortes285 View Post
    I seen it on 3 this morning, if I knew I would of recorded it. You sound good.The wind, the park, the plexi and other things.

    Thank you! Come see us tomorrow--we sound much better with a guitar player


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Quote Originally Posted by rabbit View Post
    Congratulations on your survival.

    I know a bit about the neighborhood, so's nice to hear of your adventure.
    Besides the promo and tomorrow's concert, we're doing a dance at Pebblecreek tonight. I should have booked a room at the Wigwam--I'm adding ruts to Litchfield Road.

    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74 View Post
    I think most of us have had similar moments (I know I have had my share) but at least you had the presence of mind to use the old "I meant to do that" ploy to make playing motions. Dollars to donuts the audience was unaware anything was amiss.
    Yup--I'm an old pro at handling disasters.

    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim View Post
    It's a harrowing experience doing an outdoor concert with constant strong winds blowing your music away.
    I'm usually just worried about my music stand blowing over, which several of them did shortly after we finished the promo.

    Danny W.
    Last edited by Danny W.; 12-02-2018 at 10:14 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Upcountry, Maui
    Posts
    35

    Shoulda stayed in Hawaii Danny

    Only enough wind here to barely rustle those grass skirts!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by mauibob View Post
    Only enough wind here to barely rustle those grass skirts!
    Nice try my friend, but according to Accuweather, it will be windier today where you are than where I'm going to be playing

    When we lived on an Hawai'ian ridge we couldn't leave any papers loose if our jalousie windows were open, and we Blu-Tacked some of our lamps down to keep them from getting blown over.

    Danny W.
    Last edited by Danny W.; 11-11-2018 at 09:28 PM.

  9. #9
    The Wigwam! Still a luxe joint?

    I haven't been there but I've heard "it's nice work if you can get it" or,
    " as the elephants say 'living in a great big way!' "

    Decades back I was a grunt at the Biltmore and the Princess.

    Wishing you great gigs.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Mystic CT
    Posts
    1,580
    I gave up that fight long ago, now have parts in loose-leaf binders, lots of clips and clothespins on hand.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by rabbit View Post
    The Wigwam! Still a luxe joint?

    I haven't been there but I've heard "it's nice work if you can get it" or,
    " as the elephants say 'living in a great big way!' "

    Decades back I was a grunt at the Biltmore and the Princess.

    Wishing you great gigs.

    Oh, you brought back some good memories...

    The Wigwam was "THE" big deal back then out on the west side...
    We used to go out towards Litchfield Park and ride the irrigation "flumes".

    I served cocktails to Walter Cronkite, Xavier Cugat, and Arthur Godfrey when I worked at the
    Del Webb's Mountain Shadows back in the 70's.

    Dust storms would blow in so fast and bad that you couldn't see across the street.
    They would sandblast any and all things for ~10 minutes and vanish.

    Wasn't gigging outdoors back then (thank goodness) but was instead learning all of the bad
    lingo from my Mexican dishwasher buddies, and teaching them to say the same bad words!
    Hilarity ensued when they would get into a profane shouting match in English.
    measure with micrometer... mark with chalk... cut with axe

  12. #12

    Sweet

    Quote Originally Posted by rabbit View Post
    The Wigwam! Still a luxe joint?
    Their rest rooms are certainly nice!

    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    I gave up that fight long ago, now have parts in loose-leaf binders, lots of clips and clothespins on hand.
    When I've worked with small groups I've always used loose leafs but it's not practical with my big band. We work with several singers, each with his own charts that are not available to copy. Many of my charts run 4-6 pages--these are worse in a loose leaf binder than under the plexi. In addition we have a book of about 700 charts and things are in constant flux.

    It's rare when I'm in a situation that requires me to switch charts within a few seconds. At the Wigwam concert it was quite breezy, but we use an announcer who filled enough space to let me get most of my charts in place in time. On a few I had to play catch up, but at least we weren't on live TV.

    Danny W
    Last edited by Danny W.; 12-03-2018 at 09:30 AM.

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