The cold and snow continue. Last Wednesday we had another foot of snow, but this time is was wet and heavy and when night came it turned icy. We’re running out of places to put the snow. Cars were getting stuck everywhere. My SUV was parked in the street, and I couldn’t just roll over the snow like I usually do; I had to actually clear out under the front end and the tires with a shovel. Meanwhile my next door neighbor decided gunning his engine and spinning his wheels was the way to go. Shaw’nuff a wheel finally caught pavement his car when flying sideways off his driveway and he had to get towed out. Last night we had another few inches to make everything pretty and treacherous again.
This weekend was the ICS school musical. Michelle was one of the performers. She sang in a bunch of numbers and a had a speaking part in the finale. Lizzy graduated last year but came back to help on lights, while Jeannie ran the video recording and again I played in the band. This year the format was back to a musical review and the show included songs from a whole lotta movies from over the years. I played mostly sax, but learned the banjo for Rainbow Connection. I was able to borrow a banjo from Erik. He told me it used to be his grandfather’s and was made in the 1920’s. It played great but was a real pain to keep it in tune. Once I got the hang of it I used it on a couple other tunes, Yankee Doodle Dandy and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
Of course two rehearsals were cancelled because of snow days, so it was a bit tight pulling it all together. The closing number was a Wizard of Oz medley. It required some tornado music and there was no score for any. Joanne is the piano player and she’s very good, but she’s not much on improvising, so I showed what I would do on piano if asked to come up with tornado music on the spot. I started with the wicked witch riff a few times, then held down the pedal and banged thunderously on clusters of low notes, and then gradually began working my way up and down the keyboard until it became whooshing, whirling glissandos. Meanwhile Matt the drummer was whacking away tempestuously as well. Over on synthesizer Mike was riffling thru his presets. “I have seashore. No? How about helicopter?” (Mike btw is an excellent piano player and does a solo jazz/lounge act a local bar on Fridays. He’s also the husband of the play’s director, so she was giving him some particularly displeased looks.) As Mike got to barking dogs I finished with a gentle, consonant major arpeggio. Joanne regarded me dubiously. However a few minutes later when the director roared at us “Do I have my tornado music yet?!?” , Joanne looked wide-eyed terrified for a moment and then launched into pretty much an exact rendition of my storm etude. By showtime Mike decided to ditch the sound effects and add a bass line instead.
It’s always amazing how the show comes together out of the chaos of the rehearsals. We two shows on Saturday and both performances went really well. It’s really great to see the kids who have been at it a few years getting bigger and taking on leading roles. Some of them have really amazing voices. And of course the kids really love it. Lizzy and Michelle will be singing show tunes for weeks.
This is the fourth one of these shows I’ve done, and it gets easier to learn the songs each time. Now I’m back in playing shape compared to two years ago when I started. Between these school shows, my rock band and my own practicing I must have learned over 200 songs in the last two years. There used to be a time when I could only hold 3 hours or so of music in my head before I’d start forgetting stuff. Now it seems I have much more memory capacity. Let me see if I can remember the playlist. Act I: Maybe, It’s the Hard Knock Life, I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here, The Good Ship Lollypop, Moon River, Swinging on a Star, Get Happy, Talk to the Animals, High Hopes, We Need a Little Christmas, I Just Can’t Wait to Be King, and Time Warp. Intermission. Act II: That’s Entertainment (Entr’acte), Pure Imagination, The Candy Man, The Age of Aquarius, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Yankee Doodle Boy, Hail Holy Queen (a real showstopper), Ghostbusters, Rainbow Connection, Over the Rainbow, Tornado Music*, Ding Dong the Witch is Dead, Munchkin Land, Lullaby League/Lollipop Guild, Follow the Yellow Brick Road/We’re Off to See the Wizard, and Hooray for Hollywood! (curtain calls).