Monday, January 23, 2006

Deep Blue, Gratitude Vs. DJ, Crunch

Hello,

What a week it has been. My schedule has started to settle down, and I am excited for the year to unfold. Thursday evening marked the first World Percussion Ensemble class for the new term and everyone was pumped and ready to go. I am excited to see where that leads. On Friday I played with Deep Blue once again at Cafe Felix in Ann Arbor. I asked Nick Joseph to come and sit in with us on congas. I have been asking him to play a lot of gigs with me. He has been a student of mine for a couple of years and needs lots of playing experience, so I figured coming to my gigs is a perfect way to get it. He did a good job and is really learning the art of simplicity.
I had a last minute gig booked with Gratitude on Saturday night at a five star hotel in Birmingham, MI. It was for a wedding reception. The wedding was in California a few weeks ago, so it wasn't a typical reception. We were packed into the corner of a relatively small ballroom. There was a D.J. that we were supposed to share the night with. We went on at 7p.m. played for an hour, and then took what was supposed to be a 40 minute break. During the break people from the party kept asking when we were going to play again. They really liked the first set. We heard nothing but compliments. After 40 Minutes passed they told us that they want the D.J. for one more hour. So we waited for another hour. We went back at 10 p.m. to start playing. The booking agent said that the bride wanted the D.J. for the rest of the night!! We just shook our heads and packed our stuff. It was a little wierd to pack up when the party was still going on, but we did it rather stealth-like and were out of there within a half hour. It blows my mind that someone would pay so much money to have a live band and then stick with a D.J., but I guess the customer is always right. To top the night off, as I was trying to navigate my way out of Birmingham I found myself heading south when I should have been heading north. I checked my mirrors and tried a U-turn, (which I found out later is illegal within all Michigan city limits. There was someone following so close that I couldn't see them in my mirrors, so when I made the turn, she hit my driver side door. I got a ticket, a smashed door, and a date on the phone with my insurance company. By the time I got home I was pretty grumpy. Oh well, as they say back home...What'cha gunna do?

Thanks for reading, and drive safe.

John

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Off to a Good Start, Deep Blue, Gratitude

Hello,

I can't believe January is already half over. This past week has been very hectic between scheduling students, practicing, and getting ready for a new term. I am taking 3 classes at Eastern Michigan University: Conducting, Bassoon and Clarinet. When I am done with them, and a couple of other requirements, I will (finally) be a fully certified music teacher in the state of Michigan. Not to mention one of the few with a world Music performance degree. I look forward to the possibilities of working in the public and private schools in the near future.

In the meantime I will be busy with shows, workshops, classes, students, and whatever else may happen over the next 4 months. So far this year I have played a couple of times. Last Friday I was with Deep Blue again at Cafe Felix. It was good to be back. It looks like I will be playing that gig with them for a while.

On Thursday last week I played a sweet gig with Gratitude Steel Band at the Canton Village Theater. I asked one of my students, Nick Joseph to come and play congas with us. He also sat in on the drumset for a tune that I play tabla on. He did a great job, and I think he impressed the band enough to get a call back. I also asked one of my younger students, Hartley Combs to come and check out the show. He was a big help in setting up and tearing down, and he even took some pictures. I know I will be seeing him on the stage soon enough.

I will keep you posted on more gigs. The next is this Friday again with Deep Blue at Cafe Felix. Thanks for reading, and I will talk to you soon.

John

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