Coda 2015

It’s quiet…too quiet.

In the last few days following Canada Day, I’ve looked at the clock thinking I had to get to the Laurier stage to load in the lunch-time band. Equally so at 4pm, for the first show of the night to get it set up, ready for Jennifer to come and take over the second half of the evening.But no. It’s over, and the punctuation used can be “It’s over!” – back to having evenings off, going to work and just general relaxation. Or it can be “It’s over.” No more rush to get the band on stage, find that missing cord, move the drums an extra foot stage left, running for more towels and more water.
At the Laurier stage, a lot of bands performed. Personally, I was involved in putting about 20 of them on stage. A big thanks to the crews that helped make it all go very smoothly for all. Sure, there were some hiccups and some not-so-nice things (already forgotten), but even more good things.
The best thing about Laurier is working with the local, up-and-coming bands. They appreciated all we did, most of which was unexpected. For example, as a guitarist was laying his instrument against his amplifier, I asked if I could get him a stand. “You would get me a stand?!” he asked incredulously. “Of course,” I said; “you are the talent, it’s our job to get you set up”. I had a number of similar reactions.
The other reaction I encountered on a few occasions was the disbelief that we were not in fact paid staff, but volunteers. Again, a big thanks to the crews for their work and professionalism.
A few interesting highlights from the Laurier stage:

  • in depth chats with the guitarists about all things guitar and amp related in the downtime,
  • having a double-bass (stand-up bass) break a string (he played on for the rest of the set with 3 strings),
  • a guitarist breaking a string, and rushing back stage to quickly unpack a backup guitar and run back out,
  • a trumpet player who had a sudden migraine on stage due to a weather pressure change, and having him rush backstage mid-show to get a quick sugary drink, then rushing back out (I was warned it might happen),
  • seeing a number of musicians playing in various bands, and having an instant rapport on the second meeting (trumpet guy above being one, and asking how he was doing and if to expect a repeat issue),
  • the crowds calling for encores from the lunch time bands,
  • drunk dancers on stage for the Wood Brothers, with Jennifer providing security to escort the person offstage,
  • entitled Gold members walking onstage to the back to get a chair (huh?),
  • pulling a photographer off the house lighting trusses he was trying to climb to get a photo and not taking no it’s not safe as an answer (that’s a story unto itself).

But all-in-all a lot of fun. The rest is welcomed and earned.
To wrap up, another season and keeping the jazz theme, I quote the great jazz drummer Freddie Gruber who, near the end of his life after regaling stories from ’40s, ’60s and ’70s said “I had quite a ride. I wish that I could do it all again.”
Me too. Well, maybe with a bit of a rest first.

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