Strangest gigs

Post Reply
User avatar
Kingfan
Posts: 374
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:32 pm
Location: Cleveland, OH

Strangest gigs

Post by Kingfan » Sun Aug 25, 2019 8:44 pm

Just played a charity fundraiser at the Bop Stop in Cleveland with the Townsmen Orchestra. Oldest big band in the city, formed in 1957. The Bop Stop is a great venue, BTW. The opening act was a Christian rapper. We backed him up on one song. A double bill with a rapper and a big band! We backed him up on one "song" in the key of B, five sharps. Strangest gig I've ever played. Next strangest I've done was a big band gig at a women's prison. What oddball gigs have the rest of you played?
I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are still missing! :D
King 2B, 3B, 3B-F, 4B-F, Holton TR-180.
Gary
Posts: 71
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:39 am

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by Gary » Sun Aug 25, 2019 9:18 pm

Well . . there was that leper colony on Okinawa, I played. That was fun. Especially when the dumb band leader tried to get the audience to clap along.
2bobone
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by 2bobone » Sun Aug 25, 2019 9:28 pm

I recall playing Scriabin's "Poem of Ecstasy" with full orchestra in front of an assemblage of The American Association of Psychiatrists as a panorama screen behind the orchestra changed colors according to the key in which the music was written. Apparently, Scriabin was affected by "synesthesia" which is the tendency of a person to see colors as they listen to music. Maybe that's why people say they feel "blue" when they hear the "Blues" ?
User avatar
LeTromboniste
Posts: 329
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:22 am
Location: Basel, Switzerland

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by LeTromboniste » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:35 pm

My first paid gig (I think) was at the grand parade of Montreal's Just for Laughs international comedy festival- the parade that year was emulating the annual mid-night/early-morning parade of the Basel carnaval (nice coincidence since I now live there!), with different boroughs presenting different tableaus under satire and social-critique themes - the one we were accompanying was a tableau on overconsumption and waste. The gig was a bizarre mess. We were hired as a trombone quartet to play video game themes while dressed in hazmat suits. First, as soon as we got to the rehearsal they realized the music they had asked us to pay really didn't fit their theme and vision, but they had no idea what to ask of us instead. One of us suggested playing something like Powerhouse. Then it turned out they didn't have suits large enough for some of us, so we were switched to the other costume of the tableau and were to instead wear trash bags with literal trash stapled all over them. When we got to the actual gig the next day we found out they had in the meantime hired another group (guitar, percussions, trumpet and saxophone IIRC) to supplement us because a trombone quartet really didn't fit the sound they had in mind (they got paid substantially less which I still feel shitty about all these years later). We then proceeded to play Powerhouse on an endless loop as loud as we could to be heard over the crowd and the next tableau's music (an 80-piece concert band), for two hours while walking around town, occasionally throwing in some weird atonal group improv or something. The noise was really loud and we could barely hear ourselves.

We were all quite tired at the end but one of my colleagues was completely dead and really completely unable to play anymore towards the end and was quite depressed that his shape wasn't as good as he thought...until he pushed his water key and probably around half a cup or more of condensation flowed and splashed about, and he realized he hadn't emptied his horn the whole time and that's why he was so much more tired!

At least we got to do it without wearing the garbage, but that's also a funny tale : the sets and costumes arrived at the event HQ the previous night and upon seeing two classrooms full of trash, the morning janitor proceeded to clear then out and throw the "garbage" into the dumpsters. By the time someone stopped them and explained those were actually costumes for the night's event, they had thrown out a couple dozens. They found us leftover tuxedo jackets from another tableau's costumes to wear over the event T-shirt. When we were told at the end that participants could keep their costumes, we were quite happy to bring home free tuxedo jackets rather than trash bags :lol:
Maximilien Brisson
User avatar
Burgerbob
Posts: 742
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:10 pm
Location: LA
Contact:

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by Burgerbob » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:56 pm

I once recorded rock vocals for a McDonald's commercial for the Brazilian market. Yes, in English. Hopefully the files for that were permanently deleted.

I've also played a Purim gig (the Jewish holiday), which was horn section work for 3+ hours while 11-17 year old boys got very drunk on the dance floor. Can't wait for next year.
Pre59
Posts: 214
Joined: Sat May 12, 2018 2:51 am
Location: Devon UK

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by Pre59 » Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:42 am

I once played a big band gig for an annual charity, where most of the dancers were profoundly deaf. On top of the usual 16 pieces, at the edge of the stage there was a stout man banging 7 shades of **** out of a bass drum. Apparently the dancers could feel the beat quite clearly, as could we. Happy Days.

I got a call for a literally last minute gig at burlesque club, to play leads with a four piece band consisting of tbn, clt, banjo and drums, no bass. While dressed in a pith helmet, kaki shirt, shorts and sandals we played between the fake palm trees and dance routines..
Last edited by Pre59 on Thu Aug 29, 2019 2:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
bigbandbone
Posts: 148
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:45 am

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by bigbandbone » Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:12 am

Last winter a big band I play with got hired to play a job for a local charity. In the time between getting hired and the actual job the person responsible for advertising the event quit the organization. So there was no promotion of the event. We showed up, set up, played 3 sets to an empty house, got paid, and went home! Crazy!!!
norbie2018
Posts: 410
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2018 6:10 am

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by norbie2018 » Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:06 am

There's a big horse show in Madison, WI every year and I got hired to play with a brass quintet to provide background music while the horses rode. There was also an organist there and we switched off playing tunes. The strange part was where we played - we were on a platform in the middle of the ring. So while we played these horses trotted and sometimes galloped around us. It was a little unnerving at first but in the end was allot of fun.
timothy42b
Posts: 447
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:51 am
Location: central Virginia

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by timothy42b » Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:39 am

norbie2018 wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:06 am
There's a big horse show in Madison, WI every year and I got hired to play with a brass quintet to provide background music while the horses rode. There was also an organist there and we switched off playing tunes. The strange part was where we played - we were on a platform in the middle of the ring. So while we played these horses trotted and sometimes galloped around us. It was a little unnerving at first but in the end was allot of fun.
One year I attended that show and sat behind the organist. I was in awe of what he got out of that theater organ and how much the special effects and voices added to the experience. He played simple stuff but made it sound great.

The weird thing was those horses trotting around the ring, and periodically the crowd would go wild, but I couldn't see they'd done anything different.
hyperbolica
Posts: 639
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:31 am
Location: hyperbolica@outlook.com

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by hyperbolica » Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:50 am

I spent 4 years in a Navy fleet band. We did some odd jobs.

Once our 12 piece stage band was asked to play under a 8x10 tent on a 4x8 piece of plywood in a muddy field for someone's yard sale. The rules for service bands lead you into some odd situations.

I remember marching in a parade in the freezing rain with no one else in the parade and no spectators. That was a classic.

Every year we would schlep down to the oceanfront in Virginia Beach and play for the Norwegian Lady, a statue commemorating a shipwreck. Sometimes even the mayor didn't show up.

Not all of the weird gigs were stupid or bad. Some were fun but extremely wasteful.

Once they flew us to Hammondsport NY to a winery to play for the introduction of peach wine coolers. This reveals my age a little. The band of course was insanely drunk.

We flew 15 of us in a submarine hunter propeller plane with no seats or heat 11 hours to Iceland to play a 30 minute ceremony, and a jazz combo gig. We were there for a week until the sub hunter plane crew went back to Norfolk.

They flew us to Key West to play a change of command ceremony for a group of hydrofoils. They put us up in Navy ships tied up to the dock.

We went to Puerto Rico for another ceremony and party. The band was throwing-up drunk at a strip joint within an hour of the plane landing.

Plenty of odd stuff.
Gary
Posts: 71
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:39 am

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by Gary » Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:01 am

The military thing reminded me . . . I was in the Air Force and played a recruiting gig an the parking lot of a shopping center. Problem was, it was in southern California in the middle of the summer, mid-day gig, and with zero - zero - audience. They just walked right past us. Too hot.
Mikebmiller
Posts: 269
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:13 am
Location: Spartanburg, SC

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by Mikebmiller » Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:44 pm

Our Community Band got hired one time to play some sort of event at the BMW visitor's center outside the plant in SC. We were told 6-7. Apparently, the guests were told 7-8. So we played a band concert to an empty building and went home.

My quintet was hired to play a weekday lunch concert at a branch of the county library. This was a series sponsored by the local orchestra. And they managed to hire a guitar player for the same gig. So we both showed up to play the concert. Since we had 5 and he was by himself, we won out and played the gig. To an audience of 6.

I was backing up an Elvis impersonator (I mean Elvis Performance Artist) once and a lady took off her bra and threw it on the stage.

Lots of concerts where we never achieved what I call "bandlibrium." That's where the size of the audience at least matches the size of the band.
User avatar
JohnL
Posts: 496
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:01 am
Contact:

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by JohnL » Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:59 pm

I once played a community band gig that was for a sort of grand opening/sales pitch for a newly opened, high end "adult community". Crickets. It was pretty much just us and the staff and maybe a half dozen potential customers. On the plus side, the dessert chef from their on-site restaurant had been working all day (maybe more) on a bunch of goodies for the expected throng. After we finished, he came over and practically begged us to have at the dessert table so his work wouldn't go to waste.

I also played a concert under a 26' (~8 m) tall statue of Marilyn Monroe (in her iconic pose from "The Seven Year Itch") in downtown Palm Springs.
cmcslide
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:16 pm
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by cmcslide » Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:26 pm

I played a big band gig for a faith healer. He opened the event by singing about four or five Elvis and Frank Sinatra songs, then spent the next three and a half hours preaching and "healing" people. We then came back out and played a couple more songs for him to sing and it was over. The whole time, the keyboard player (who traveled with this gentleman) was noodling music that sounded exactly like the music from "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?"
Professor of Low Brass, Coastal Carolina University
User avatar
Kingfan
Posts: 374
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:32 pm
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by Kingfan » Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:15 pm

Great stories! The prison gig was a low security women's prison in Indianapolis. They checked our bags and cases on the way in. We walked across what looked like a college quad to the chapel/performance hall. Some of the inmates sat at the back and looked bored, others looked a little rough, but a few had done their best to look good and sat up front. No problems, but boy was I happy to get out the front gate after it was over.
I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are still missing! :D
King 2B, 3B, 3B-F, 4B-F, Holton TR-180.
Jimkinkella
Posts: 68
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:43 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by Jimkinkella » Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:58 pm

Top 40 horn section at a swinger’s convention.
And no, not like the movie.
Yes, we did play “Leave your hat on”
User avatar
Vegastokc
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:46 am
Location: Kansas City, MO

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by Vegastokc » Tue Aug 27, 2019 8:29 am

This is one of the best threads ever. I could read these all day. :lol:
I hope many others contribute some great stories.
Here are just a few quick ones of my own, although not nearly as good as what is already posted:

My first paying "gig" I was a freshman in high school. Me and a fellow bone player (HS junior) played Christmas duets in the living room of a model home. Maybe six couples came by in 5 hours. Paper towels as a spittoon on the brand new white carpet.

In college, a 20-30 piece portion of the pep band would be hired for conventions, private parties etc. We coined ourselves the Gig Sluts as we would be paid in anything from cash to hamburgers.:

One time we marched into a room in our full red uniforms to play the Notre Dame fight song for key note speaker Coach Lou Holtz. We were not anywhere near the state of Indiana.

Playing Consumer Electronics Show convention in Las Vegas outside Microsoft area. Played Beach Boy's Barbara Ann over and over and over and over...
It was Microsoft's rollout of their brand new, ground breaking operating system of the future: Microsoft BOB.
Get it? --> "Bob bob bob, bob bob a-ran" LOL

One that literally paid in hamburgers: Playing on a rickety wood awning over the entrance of a bar. There were moments we thought for sure it was going to collapse.
What can I say, we were in college and a free burger is a free burger. ;)
timothy42b
Posts: 447
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:51 am
Location: central Virginia

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by timothy42b » Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:06 am

Most money I ever made with a polka band, we were playing a wedding dance in some hall in northern Wisconsin.

This old guy kept at us to play some rock and roll. Not really our thing, but he tipped us a couple of times, and then someone else whispered to us that he was from Chicago, he was "connected," and it would really be a good idea to do what he wanted. There was one youngster in his party and she kept nagging him.

So we dug out Proud Mary, trombone lead.

He thanked us and tipped us again to NOT play any more rock and roll. I'm not sure if it was my playing......well doesn't matter. With his tips I made twice the normal rate.
Pre59
Posts: 214
Joined: Sat May 12, 2018 2:51 am
Location: Devon UK

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by Pre59 » Tue Aug 27, 2019 4:25 pm

When I was in an army band, we turned up one afternoon at a stately home to rehearse for a marching display to be performed later that evening. No problems. But come the evening there was only one source of light which was a spotlight, a "super trooper". Unfortunately it was set at one end of the green and eye level, which meant that we were blinded marching towards it and could only see black and spots away from it.
This resulted in musicians ending up in the wrong rows, lots of screaming and shouting, shoving, unveiled threats etc.
A week later a letter appeared on the notice board from the former prime minister thanking the band for a "very entertaining display"...
2bobone
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by 2bobone » Tue Aug 27, 2019 5:24 pm

How could I have forgotten that wonderful occasion when I performed, as a member of TUSAB in Washington, D.C. at Fort Myer ,VA for the installation of a new base commander. We went through our paces like clockwork and were pleased that nothing had gone wrong. The commander of TUSAB received a letter from the new base commander several days later commending the band on its performance, but with one "Very Military Improvement" to what he otherwise considered to be quite wonderful. He thought it would look much better if somehow the trombone section [in the front row, of course --- ] could arrange to move our slides to go IN and OUT at the same time !
I know that this story is sometimes regarded as being apocryphal, but it is true --- much to both my total delight and to my total embarrassment ! What a time it was !
Doug Elliott
Posts: 677
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:12 pm

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by Doug Elliott » Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:37 am

So many stories from military band gigs...

It was 1993. I was in the Air Force Band, Airmen of Note. We sometimes had to augment the Ceremonial Band for funerals, parades, or ceremonies. The new Secretary of the Air Force, Sheila Widnall, was being sworn in and the full band was at the Pentagon, trombones in the front row. A man got up from the audience and walked up to talk to the drum major, who then pointed at me. He was one of my mouthpiece customers and just wanted to come over and say hello.
User avatar
Geordie
Posts: 107
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:45 am
Location: UK

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by Geordie » Wed Aug 28, 2019 7:20 am

Did a South American style carnival parade, complete with tunics and head gear, around the inside and outside of a large children’s hospital last week. Two trombones, three trumpets, sax and electric bass player (back pack style combo amp) continued playing and marched into a lift (elevator) much to the surprise and appreciation of patient, nurses, surgeons and visitors in the lift/elevator. They were not as surprised as the people waiting to enter the lift when the doors opened and the ensemble marched out without dropping a beat.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Life is not a rehearsal
User avatar
LeTromboniste
Posts: 329
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:22 am
Location: Basel, Switzerland

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by LeTromboniste » Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:26 am

And a different kind of strange :

A concert band I used to play in got a summer gig in a small town festival. It was raining and storming like crazy but luckily the gig was in the church, so we stayed dry and all was fine. Except we got to the last piece, big heavy piece, we get out of the slow section in the middle, then the big build up to the huge, loud, fast finale and of course the trombones come in just in the last few bars of the build up to announce the climax. Well the moment we played our first note the power goes out, nobody can see their music anymore or the conductor. Somehow the band doesn't stop playing, and the adrenaline gets us through the very technical passages of the big finale. The piece ends with a big clash. Power comes back up in the moment after we finish but before the audience explodes in applause.

That same band had played a gig the year before where they played the piece Cloudburst and a spotlight literally exploded above the band in the middle of the piece (with the hot glass shrapnel punching holes in the timpani skins). I guess that band just had a very powerful karma :lol:
Maximilien Brisson
Pre59
Posts: 214
Joined: Sat May 12, 2018 2:51 am
Location: Devon UK

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by Pre59 » Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:01 pm

I once had to play a Bb bass fanfare trumpet with its characteristic long bell that the regimental colours hang from. This makes it extremely front heavy.
Arriving at the venue, we were lead up several flights of stairs, then up a ladder into an attic, across some duck boards then out onto a roof. We then had to walk around the edge of the building until we arrived at turreted area, which was very pre "health and safety". The resipiants of our fanfare were about 5 stories below. The turrets were five feet high and gaps between them level with the floor, so not wishing in such a newsworthy way we instinctively avoided these gaps, which is NOT what the Director of Music safely down below wanted. Needless to say, we played in a pathetic manner, behind the turrets, then sat quietly in our shame on the bus home afterwards, but living to tell the tale.
The moral, have great respect for trumpeters playing fanfares from very high places in old buildings.
Last edited by Pre59 on Wed Aug 28, 2019 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2bobone
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by 2bobone » Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:07 pm

Ah ! Herald Trumpets ! One of my side duties when in TUSAB was to play "G" bass herald trumpet in their ensemble. All of the service bands stationed in Washington, D.C.: Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force played concerts during the Summer months on a Stage/Barge anchored at the bass of the steps that lead to the Lincoln Memorial. It was a very cramped affair with no extra space, no real backstage or facilities that one would usually expect to find. The concerts always began with the National Anthem augmented by the Herald Trumpets --- a dazzling display, indeed ! Well -- I had to play the Anthem with The Herald Trumpets and then immediately join the band as a bass trombonist for the opening piece. What to do with the lanky "G" bass Herald Trumpet ? I arranged for one of the chorus members [The U.S. Army Chorus was a fabulous group !] to stand it in my case which was in a corner of the barge. Everything went as planned until the end of the concert when I was collecting my music, mutes and bass trombone and I heard a loud voice yelling ," Whose Herald Trumpet is this !". It seems that my Herald Trumpet was not placed where I had instructed it to be placed and the Commanding Officer who had just conducted the concert had stepped on it in the dark backstage area. He stomped on it in such a way that he bent the long bell right in the middle at about a 45 degree angle. I explained my dilemma, which was accepted grudgingly. I don't think that he ever realized that he made musical history that evening by creating the world's first "Dizzy Up Do" Herald Trumpet !
Pre59
Posts: 214
Joined: Sat May 12, 2018 2:51 am
Location: Devon UK

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by Pre59 » Thu Aug 29, 2019 3:28 am

I was working on a small cruise ship in the Caribbean, and one night during the modest show there was a magic act and a hypnosis act, performing in that order.
The Magic act included doves and all went well. Then on came the hypnosis act, to which we played a very slow song called "Dream", not the Buddy Holly one but this one.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HzMk1BMPq0 for the entirety of his act. The three horns shared the melody, and one night while playing we became aware of a kerfuffle happening behind us in the dressing room. A dove had escaped and was now flying around the room until it eventually landed on my slide, which just happened to be stationary during a long note of my solo. The rest of the band, also playing by ear and seeing what had happened, just "froze" the chord and rhythm at that exact point, then picked up the beat as the bird flew off as though nothing had happened..

We also played an arrangement of "At the Jazz Band Ball". This old Dixieland tune features two prominent bass drum beats, played on the last beat of the 2nd bar to the first beat of the 3rd bar. This band would sometimes, because of reasons known only to itself would add two extra beats, not only during the melody but during the jazz solo's and sometimes even while the punters were dancing.
Last edited by Pre59 on Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
hyperbolica
Posts: 639
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:31 am
Location: hyperbolica@outlook.com

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by hyperbolica » Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:29 am

When I was in high school I got a summer gig at an amusement park called Santas Workshop on Whiteface Mountain near Lake Placid NY. It was our job to march around the park in elf costumes (looked like pajamas) and play Christmas tunes in what passes for warm weather up there. When we sat down in the gazebo to play our show with singers, we played along with a recording to augment our 8 piece band. It was Christmas time all summer long.
townbandtrombone
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:53 am

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by townbandtrombone » Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:24 pm

The "elves" used to drive around the Adirondacks in tiny Toyota pick-up trucks, too cute! 30 years ago our town band decided to have a floating concert down the CT river in party barges lashed together. No one calculated that with our slow speed we would reach our landing site way after dark. The river is flood-controlled with many sand bars at lower water level. With the trombones in front, I was certain we would run some ground, and be crushed by the tubas before we landed.
timothy42b
Posts: 447
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:51 am
Location: central Virginia

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by timothy42b » Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:52 am

2bobone wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:07 pm
Ah ! Herald Trumpets !

The concerts always began with the National Anthem augmented by the Herald Trumpets --- a dazzling display, indeed !
Huh. Years ago I was at an Army conference, opened with a recording of the National Anthem, and it was an arrangement I'd never heard. It had lots of high trumpet and horn. I wonder if that could have been the same arrangement.

I've searched for it since, and never run into anyone who knew what I was talking about. I even asked up at Fort Myer to see if they knew.
brtnats
Posts: 142
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:07 am
Location: Louisville KY

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by brtnats » Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:09 am

Ska band gig at a punk rock festival outside at midnight, the week of Halloween, with a giant Satan head printed on a sign behind me. Very very trippy.
User avatar
StevenC
Posts: 97
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:46 pm
Location: Hudson Valley, New York

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by StevenC » Mon Sep 02, 2019 7:42 pm

Maybe the strangest gig I've played was a marriage proposal. This guy wrote a nice little folk pop song about his woman and their life together. He had a friend write an accompanying horn arrangement. So we had a couple of trombones, saxophones, flute, clarinet. It was all quite cute, and I hope not preserved for posterity. I hope the couple is still happy together.
User avatar
torobone
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:14 pm
Location: Toronto

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by torobone » Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:52 am

I played for the (deep breath, even while typing):

The 1st Annual China Canada Television Festival Award Ceremony

We were broadcast from Toronto and shown on one of the biggest Chinese networks. One could argue that it was one of the largest audiences in the world! Now to the details:

The entire show was in Chinese, which made it impossible to remain interested in the proceedings. Even the director spoke no English. We had a number of charts we wanted to play, but rather than worry about copyright and royalties, we played 5 fanfares that were written for the gig over and over.

Nevertheless, the hosts were gracious, and the honorarium left $5 after we paid for the the expensive downtown hotel parking. It was like many military gigs: glad I served, but I am not anxious to repeat the experience.
Martin Hubel
Tenors: 2009 Yamaha 891Z, 354 (loaned out), Yamaha 697Z (on loan)
Symphony tenors: 1972 Bach 42B, Yamaha 882 GOR (on loan)
Basses: 2011 Yamaha 830 Xeno
Lidl Bass Trumpet (on loan)
sporto
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:47 am
Location: San Diego, CA

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by sporto » Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:51 pm

6 piece New Orleans jazz band at a Buddhist wake. The deceased was a fan of ours and wanted us at his wake and sure enough his daughter followed through.
2bobone
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by 2bobone » Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:22 pm

Melina Mercourie was the Cultural Ambassador of Greece when Misitislav Rostropovich was the conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. A concert took place during which Madame Mercourie was in the audience. The conductor was anxious to curry favor with the Cultural Ambassador and so he included the very difficult "Dances of Galanta" of Kodaly to demonstrate the abilities of the orchestra in hopes that she would invite the orchestra to the Greece Summer Festivals in Athens as had happened when Antal Dorati was the principal conductor of the orchestra several years prior. Firstly, Rostropovich totally underestimated the rehearsal time required to have the piece "well in hand" for the performance and caused total conniptions within the orchestra management when he ran an hour and an half into overtime in order to have the piece in any condition to consider it to be "well in hand". During the concert, things progressed quite normally until it got to the "encores". Rostropovich returned to the stage and announced that an encore would be played "In the honor of Melina Mercouri" ! He dropped the baton and away we went ---- through a deceivingly tuneful composition --- which was in reality a VERY difficult piece ---- ! Everything went well until the very end ---- when the composition ended ---- but the conductor DIDN'T ! To everyone's astonishment --- after the piece had ended ---- the conductor continued conducting for several measures more ---- with no musicians playing ---- just the noise of himself making SCHHHHing noises which seemed to satisfy his perceptions of what was happening. The audience --- as usual --- applauded --- because THEY weren't paying attention . The orchestra looked ashamed --- as usual --- because they WERE paying attention! Art walks a "Tight-rope" between "Great Art" and "Great Comedy" and it depends which side of the tight-rope you fall off of which determines what the end result is. Methinks the end result of this example is quite obvious. Carry on !
User avatar
Vegastokc
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:46 am
Location: Kansas City, MO

Re: Strangest gigs

Post by Vegastokc » Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:29 am

So no trip to Athens , then? LOL
Post Reply

Return to “Performance”