Monday, June 02, 2008

May Part 2: GLTW Spring Concert, Mike Waite @ Johnny's Speakeasy, Crazy Wisdom, and Radio Free Bacon




Hello,

  So it is now Monday afternoon after a jam-packed weekend of music with my students and my good friends.  It all started with a rehearsals on Thursday.  During the day it was at Go Like the Wind School.  I was appointed the chair of the spring concert comitee, so not only was I in charge of all the music, I also had to direct the graduation ceremonies, (or 'promotion' as GTLW likes to call it).  It was a big job, but very rewarding.  It was actually nice to be the point person of an event that featured all the music groups that I direct at the school, (6 in all).  We do our end of the year concert at a big ol' church just down the road from the school. It fits everyone, and it is air conditioned nicely.  The only drawback is that we can't get in to do any run-through until the day of the show.  That can be tricky when you are trying to direct 150+ children.  So we settled on doing a rehearsal in the school gym instead.  It went well, but took a lot of energy.  From there I went home to teach my private lessons and then have a rehearsal for the weekend's shows with Mike Waite.
  It was great, all the original musicians from Mikes album 'Let it Go' came to Ann Arbor to do a couple of small shows.  I don't know who or how it worked out, but Jared Smith, Ryan Staples, and of coarse Mike all showed up in Ann Arbor for a weekend of music.  It felt a little random, but very happy nonetheless.  
  Friday was a 4 phase day for me.  The first phase was doing the final run through of the spring concert at the church with GTLW.  It meant coordinating busses, lunch, audio, and all the other logistical puzzles associated with such a 'grand' event.  That lasted from 9 a.m. till 2 p.m.  From there I picked up Jared and we went to my house to load equipment for the show that evening.  Luckily, we were able to load in and set up in the middle of the day at the venue, and what a venue it was!  It is called Johnny's Speakeasy, and it is at a private residence.  It was an actual Speakeasy in the 1920's.  Before that it was used as a fruit cellar and ice house by, what Johnny described as 'Crazy Germans'.  It was a basement, but it was about 2 stories tall.  There was a stage, cool seating, and a second loft-type level that housed a makeshift bar.  There were all kinds of old instruments hanging from the walls along with pictures of many of the artists that played there.  It had such a great vibe to it.  As we were setting up I was getting very excited to play later that evening.
  Phase three consisted of me rushing home to clean up, put on a tie and nice shoes, and heading back to the church to prepare for the concert.  I was very worn out, which probably served me well.  I stayed calm and just let everything happen.  The concert went great.  The 1st-3rd graders all sang songs that we had written together and recorded.  The C.D. we created called "Moving Up" was debuted and as a special bonus all the students came together to sing Mikes song 'Spread the Love'.  Mike and his family even showed up to check it out, (Thanks Mike).  After the singing all the bands played, awards were handed out, and the concert was over.  I rushed to get things packed up and head to the speakeasy for phase 4!
  I showed up just before we were supposed to go 
on.  The atmosphere was great.  In the spirit of the speakeasy there was an ongoing dialogue between the band and the crowd, and it just seemed to feed the music.  I love playing music with those guys, and this place seemed perfect. 
   When it was all over I was so tired I could barely drive home.  It was all worth it.
  The next morning it was back to Gladwin Farms for another rehearsal for the Radio Free Bacon show.  This time it was Mike who was the special guest, and the regular drummer was back, so my duties were on the tabla and percussion.  It was fun to watch another group of musicians learn and play Mikes songs.  The rehearsal went great, but I had still not recovered from the day before, so when it was over I went home for a long nap.
  That night we played at Crazy Wisdom Tearoom.  There were a lot of family and friends that came out to see us, so the atmosphere was very warm and friendly.  I felt like we were playing in a living room.  Everyone seemed mellow and relaxed and very subtle. 
 It went very well with Mikes soothing music.  That night we said goodbye to Jared and Ryan and got ready for the radio the next day.
  The radio show happens outside on a patio at Zingermans Roadhouse.  The day was perfect.  Lot's of Mikes friends and family showed up  and there was a lot of great energy.  Mike did some songs with the house band, and then they did a few covers of his songs.  They themed the show "We all Know What to Do"  after the lyrics in Mikes song Spread the Love.  It was a great way to end a beautiful weekend.  By the time it was over I was exhausted and revitalized at the same time.  When I said goodbye to Mike all I could say was, "I guess we will see what happens next....."

Thanks for reading, and I will write again soon,

John

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