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That Christmas Gig

tictactux

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#1
...so we've prepared all the tunes, hymns and whatnot for the Christmas fundraiser this year. (We do play for the Salvation Army, they have the venues, we have the music).

Well. None of the other bands (apart from the singing ensembles, tough folks! <bows>) showed up. In a stiff breeze we rig up our music stands and get ready. Play one hymn, then a second, but the music gradually becomes thin and thinner. My alto (clarinet) grows ice chunks on the throat A and long C#, the bass passes out, then the tenors, then the small brass. Frozen valves, binding keys, we're simply frozen into silence. Awkward. Embarrassing. Lot of shrugging.

Later it dawns on me that the Salvationists probably know better than go playing at -10°C (14F).

Ironically, we met a Greenpeace manifestation against global warming. As much as I sympathise with them, I wouldn't have minded one or two degrees more today.

But hey, it was fun. (Ever had a mishap gig you could blame on the weather?)
 
#3
<...>(Ever had a mishap gig you could blame on the weather?)
Nope, not for cold weather anyway. I live in Florida where it doesn't get THAT cold.

But I've had a couple due to the hot weather.

1) Leilani's "Buchla Thunder" tactile MIDI controller went crazy in the sun during a pool party. We rigged up some shade for her and it settled down

2) Amp got overheated, took a short break for it to cool and started again.

I have a love/hate relationship with outdoor gigs.

Notes
 

Carl H.

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#5
Summer outdoor theater. Humidity got so bad the action in the piano started binding on itself. I started carrying a fan in the gig bag.

Summer indoor theater. During a performance of South Pacific, a raging thunderstorm tore a small hole in the roofing and water began cascading down up stage right.

Winter indoor theater. Cold snowy weather led to a power failure during intermission of a performance of Chicago. THAT was a good intermission. Way more interesting than any other, not counting the pre-marriage days...:cool:
 

Tammi

Private woodwind instructor
#6
For a few years the local "Hysterical" Society would have my community band play for the Lighting of the Depot a couple of weeks before Christmas.
Usually after the second or third song the trumpets and baritone had frozen valves and no one could feel their fingers.
They would have hot cocoa and cookies when we were finished!
We only play at the Bridgefest now. That's at the end of August and we only have to deal with the heat, humidity, and WIND.
 

jbtsax

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#7
My worst gig was playing for a college production of Sweet Charity at an outdoor theater in Zion's Park. Midway through the first act a cloudburst hit and the troupe was rushed across the street to an ancient church building. Since the "show must go on" the orchestra was put up on the small stage with the actors down front.

Someone had turned on the heat to the steam radiators and the extreme heat on the stage along with the humidity started making the winds go sharp and the strings go flat. Of course the electric keyboards stayed right in tune. The winds kept frantically trying to pull out while the string players tried to tune the strings higher at every opportunity. Finally the conductor said "to hell with the pitch, just play". And so we did. The ending of Sweet Charity played in quarter tones is a real musical treat I will long remember.

John
 
#8
Here is an addition:

I was playing in a lounge oceanside in Vero Beach Florida. A huge air conditioner vent was directly over the stage, to the left of me, where I keep my saxophones. The air coming out of that vent must have been about 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Since I play multiple instruments (at that time alto, tenor, soprano, wind synth, keyboard and flute) the saxes stayed on the stand a lot. It was so cold, it was impossible to play them in pitch. Flat as flat can be. And very cold to the touch.

I had the mouthpieces pushed in as far as I could, but nothing could be done. The tenor was the worst of the 3.

At the end of the night a woman walked up and introduced herself as a concert violinist. She told me in a very gentle way that my tenor sax was flat. I told her about the A.C. and we both had a good laugh over it.

So it isn't only outdoor weather that can give a sax player a problem.

Notes
 

tictactux

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#9
So it isn't only outdoor weather that can give a sax player a problem.
I hear you. While in the U.S. I constantly had to fight the urge to ask that stupid questions about "absolute temperature" vs. "temperature difference".
Why cool the mall down to goose-pimpling 68F when it's blazing 95F outside?
 
#10
I hear you. While in the U.S. I constantly had to fight the urge to ask that stupid questions about "absolute temperature" vs. "temperature difference".
Why cool the mall down to goose-pimpling 68F when it's blazing 95F outside?
I don't understand it.

I live in Florida where people come to enjoy the warm weather. Then when they get here, they do nothing but complain about the heat and turn their ACs down to 65-68 degrees F.

Plus they cut down all the shade trees before they build their houses, and then use dark colored roof material.

Why move here to get away from the cold if you don't like the heat? I could never understand that one.

Plus the electric generation required for the ACs and the exhaust of the units themselves contributes to higher temperatures, not to mention the pollution of the electric generator.

Personally, I don't use A.C. very much. Some years not at all, this year I logged about 20 total hours on it (had it on a couple of hours each on very hot afternoons when the wind was coming from the west).

People talk about saving the earth. The earth will be here when we are all gone. It's about saving our own @$$es.

Humans have to be both the smartest and dumbest animals on the planet.

Insights and incites by Notes
 
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