Feb 16, 2006

February has been a weird month weather-wise around here.  Some days it's in the 60, pushing 70.  Now they're talking about some severe thunderstorms blowing through tonight, followed by arctic air and possible ice storms this weekend.  Fortunately, I'll be gone to Newark NJ for a meeting.  Jimmy's up that way as well on some personal business.

Jimmy, Vince, Cody, Tristen, Allyn, and I played a gig on the snowy evening of the 10th down in Little Rock for the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame banquet at the Statehouse Convention Center.  We went over for a walk-through, and then retreated to the Underground for some fried pickles and cheese sticks, and a bite of dinner before heading back to play the performance.  They wanted us to ride up the escalator playing, but T-bone and I talked Jimmy out of it.  It was narrow, steep, moving fast, and just a disaster going somewhere to happen.  We road up in the elevator instead, formed a circle and played a few tunes to get their attention, then marched around the ballroom a couple of times to encourage the attendees to come in from the lobby area and take their seats for dinner.

The following afternoon we packed the whole band up and headed south to the lovely city of Magnolia for the third annual Burns night celebration.  Again, a great dinner put on by the staff there Southern Arkansas University, featuring recipes provided by the organizer and host, Jim McCollum.  Great guy, and we always enjoy going down there.  Once again, Wally Hightower was a magnificent MC, Brooke Hollis danced, and the band performed very well to an appreciative audience of about 60 or so.  It gets better every year.  Wally took photos, and maybe we'll get a few posted here before too long.  Meanwhile, here are a couple from Cody's camera.


Vince Moore


Ken Adler

Where's Jimmy?

For the band,



Feb 27, 2006

Thursday the 23rd found Jim and me in Pine Bluff AR with the sad duty of playing for two Emergency Medical Technicians who were killed in the line of duty while answering a call in their ambulance.  Very unfortunate accident indeed.  The service was held in the Convention Center and was well attended by family, friends, and EMT colleagues from around the state.  I thought we played a particularly moving rendition of Amazing Grace.  Jimmy REALLY got underneath the expression of the tune and I went with him, and played harmonies the second time through.  Many tears were induced.  We followed the dismissal prayer with a rousing Scotland the Brave and helped end the service on an upbeat note.  The participants and the attendees all were very complimentary and felt we added much to the honoring of their friends and colleagues.

Friday morning we drove over to Memphis and caught a flight to Atlanta for the Southeast Workshop.  Jimmy was one of the instructors this year and shared the bill with some other first class folks.  I just went along for the ride, and to attend some of the classes and meet people from the EUSPBA.  I particularly enjoyed a couple of classes with Ringo Bowen.  One on reeds, and another on setting up a band pipe.  I attended an ensemble class with Paula Glendenning, and a band preparation class with Bob Worrall.  A class on music theory with Jerry Finnegan also illustrated some concepts that I have known intuitievely over the years, but could then see WHY they work as they do.  Kudos to Winky Taylor and all the folks who organized, presented, and attended.  We saw quite a few old friends, made some new one, and I won a bottle of Speyside single malt at the raffle.  I tried to trade it for the Bob Meade bass mallets, but I think the lady that won them thought I was kidding.

Jimmy will probably have some things to add from his perspective as well