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L5Larry

Headed to Branson

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The short report is I don't really expect anything to come of it, although it was a very good, fun and educational experience.

 

My "long report" is already a two page "word" document, and I haven't even taken my guitar out of the case yet.

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The short report is I don't really expect anything to come of it, although it was a very good, fun and educational experience.

 

My "long report" is already a two page "word" document, and I haven't even taken my guitar out of the case yet.

 

 

YET ? when do you get to play :-({|=

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OK, there seems to be some interest, so I'm going to continue this thread with a series of "play-by-play" posts. I used to write a column called "Adventures In Music" for a (now defunct) guitar players website called "Stringdancer". This is what it was like. If it were still active this would be the post.

 

"Adventures In Music by L5Larry"

 

As most of you have read above, I was recently hired to accompany a vocalist for an audition in Branson, Missouri. To "entice" me to accept this assignment, there were carrots dangled in my face (read above). Never wanting to ever look back on anything in my life with the "woulda, shoulda, coulda" attitude, I decided one weekend out of my life was worth the long-shot!

 

All in all, it was a very interesting weekend. I'm not sure, and even doubt, anything will come of it, but you never know, there has been no "official" word. Even if it only gets chalked up in the "experience" category (and a footnote on the resume), it was well worth the trip, AND as I stated in the OP, it WAS an all-expenses-paid weekend getaway to Branson with the wife.

 

The Setup:

 

I was hired by a St. Louis musician "contractor"/booking agent (International Music Consultants, Inc.) to accompany a Sinatra style singer for an audition at the Music City Center Theater in Branson, Missouri. I get 50+ gigs a year from this agency, so I have a good relationship with them and am their “first call” guitarist. IMC had been contacted by a talent scout/promoter out of Texas, who is looking for new talent to book into theaters in Branson for the 2015 summer season. The Texas talent scout had found the singer on the www, and contacted the IMC agent.

 

Pre-Negotiations, and Planning:

 

Telephone negotiations started a month or so ago between the agent and talent scout. It went from a full 18-piece Big Band, to a 9-piece “little big band”, and then down to a 5-piece “combo”. None of the parties involved (venue, agent, scout) wanted to pay to bring even the 5-piece combo down for the 15 minute audition, so… it’s was dropped in my lap to be the lone accompanist. As this singer and I had done about a half-dozen or so 2-piece engagements together, we were both fine with this arrangement. As this is regurgitated written music, there really was no need, and was no rehearsal for the trip. Thursday evening we picked the 5 songs for the audition, and Friday I sat down to check the arrangements and rewrote a few parts and intro’s to work for “guitar only” accompaniment.

 

Transportation:

 

As the agent, singer and I are spread out around Missouri, and there is also no direct public transportation (train, plane, OR bus) to Branson, there was really no good way to get there other than personal automobiles. All public transportation goes into Springfield, Missouri (home of a very large state university), and then you would have to “shuttle bus” the remaining hour to Branson. As St. Louis to Branson is only a 4 hour drive, the travel time involved with connections and bus/plane schedules would have been much greater than just jumping in the car. The agent drove down from Jefferson City, MO a day early (2 hour drive), and the singer (and his wife) who is an hour out from me, picked us up Saturday morning on his way. Riding in the back of his Lincoln Town Car for the 4 hour trip is NOT the worse way I ever travelled for a band job.

 

Arrival:

 

We were scheduled for a 5:00 p.m. audition at the Music City Theater, and arrived at the venue about 4:30. We called our agent to see where he was (at Starbucks drinking over-priced coffee, and working on his laptop, imagine that). He asked us NOT to go inside until he arrived, but as we were hanging put in the parking lot, the Texas talent agent comes running out to greet us with all kinds of hugs and smiles. Now this guy looked to be right out of every Hollywood music business movie you’ve ever seen, black-on-black-on-black suit, overly tanned, perfect plastic looking hair, and yes…… the large diamond pinky rings (I’m not kidding). The only thing missing was the cigar and gold neck chains. The early arrival ended up working out well, as It gave us time to break the ice so to speak, have some social conversation with the Mr. Pinky Rings, meet the theater owners, check out the theater, and get a little more “relaxed” in general.

 

Next Installment: The Audition.

Coming Soon: The "Wine and Dine"

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