July 18, 2010

Fun Friday!

Friday was very busy for our in-demand social calendar :-)
I (Andrew) have this new gig at...that's right...a nursing home. I'm trying to learn how to play my mandolin that my Dad gave me better and I've kind of hit the wall where you either have to get some lessons or go play with some people to get better. Since our church band requires an audition to get in for instrumentalists, I have to get my skills to that level. I know a few chords and can vaguely read music and play melodies on it. (Very vaguely) My mandolin-rockin' friend from Asbury told me that some places have local jam session where you can just go in and hack. Sure enough, our neighborhood newsletter had an ad for "Local Jam Sessions" for people who play guitar, banjo, mandolin, violin, or dobro, etc. I had to call the number to get more info which is when I learned it's in the local nursing home :-)

(Notice the sepia/black & white effect Allison used to convey the bygone era :-)

My first time over there (this week was my second time) was interesting - I hadn't a clue what to expect. I had to wait for a little bit in the lobby for it to start, which brings up a

They were piping in swing music in the lobby and it got me wondering what music would be piping into my nursing home?? Is liking big band and jazz a given for all old people throughout the generations? People say your favorite music tends to be what you liked in high school and (more likely) college. Swing and Jazz would've been hugely popular when these folks were in their teens and 20's. In 50 years will there be Dave Matthews, Pearl Jam, Matchbox 20, and Creed on at all times? (I hope not, I hate Creed) What about the kids I teach? Can you imagine Lady GaGa and Ke$ha (kill me now) being on as relaxing background music to remind you of "the good old days when music had a BEAT and not like the crazy stuff these kids today listen to"? I personally request Spin Doctors for my assisted living facility. Good times in the 90's :-) Anyway, somebody tell me what you think because I'm really curious about that!

OK - BACK to the story!
I went in expecting a circle of players just playing whatever, but it turns out that there is NO ONE in the room under 70 and there are about thirty people sitting there watching and listening as an audience!! Feeling distinctly nervous, I walked in and sat in the line of players facing the audience (receiving quite a few "Oh! A young scamp! Maybe he's lost!" looks all around). There was a banjo player (Elmer, who organizes the whole thing), a guitar player, a violinist, a piano player, and a singer. Mind you, I have been playing mandolin for about 2 months (and certainly not regularly), there is no music or chord charts, nor do I know any of the songs they're playing. Most of it is 1950's (and earlier) country, folk & bluegrass tunes. I played very softly and waved them off when they tried to get me to suggest a song ("Anybody know any Nickel Creek? Anybody?? Bueller....").
It turned out to be
1) Pretty fun
2)A GREAT way to force yourself to learn chords and
3) An awesome workout for my music major skills, since they would call out a key and I would have to figure out on the fly what the chord progression is and really use my ears.

(Um, I'm the one WITHOUT gray or white hair :-)

Serious Concentration

The one time anybody bothered to pull out any music

Toothpick - very authentic

I think perhaps this picture of high white socks and velcro shoes pretty much sums up the atmosphere :-)

So this is now my official Friday night gig :-) I think at the very least they're all entertained by the fact that I've come now more than once. Maybe I'll sneak in my bagpipes on day and REALLY blow the lid off the place!

This particular Friday, after spending an hour at the nursing home, we went to the Miller Outdoor Theater to see Little Shop of Horrors with a bunch of our small group friends.

We had a little hiccup, in that the freeway was closed because of an accident and they detoured us to the other side of town after sitting in traffic, but after 2 HOURS in the car (should've taken 45 min.) we finally made it. Our friends had graciously saved us a piece of blanket and we managed to arrive for the last 20 minutes of it :-) M.O.T. is really cool and we'd definitely like to go back. We stood around and hung out for a while afterwards talking with our friends. We had a blast!

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