I was asked to teach a workshop before our concert, and then we were to play three 15-minute sets during the school orchestra's performance of "Fiddles & Vittles." This was actually a remake of Hee Haw, and it was wonderful! Kudos to the orchestra director and assistant, Rob Sweeney and Sara Tinsman. The workshop was a little different than what I usually teach due to the fact that I had violas and cellos along with fiddles. The students ranged in age from probably 7-8 years old to high school. They were very attentive, had great questions and comments, and in turn learned a new fiddle tune! It was really neat to hear a fiddle tune played together with fiddles, cellos and violas.
The orchestra students had quite a lot of music to learn for this event. It wasn't your normal concert. Most of the music was memorized, except for a few solos interspersed throughout the performances. There were cornfield jokes, skits, and all the familiar Hee Haw songs like "Where Oh Where Are You Tonight"?, "Gloom, Despair, & Agony," along with "Salute!" and "Gossip."
We were playing on a stage setup in front of the audience, and all the other students had places alongside of the stage to both the left and right. There was also a fantastic meal just before the main performance, during which orchestra students played pretty much continually. Here are a few pictures.
Whenever we travel longer distances like this, we try to travel together. Not only is it more cost efficient, but it is also more fun! Zane's van works out pretty well for us; however, my "buzz box" was a little bit more cramped. (Emily's mom, Kabbie, joined us for this gig and did some fine camera work for us.) To get to Zane's house, we had to travel from The Bluegrass Shack in New Athens, IL up to Edwardsville, IL. That's a little over an hour. This is what we had in my car: two banjos; a double fiddle case; a mandolin; a large box of CDs; the entire PA system complete with speakers, head, cables, mics, and stands; props for the fiddle bow segment of our show; show clothes and boots, plus all our normal luggage (which was actually very slim); purses for four women; and, of course, snacks. Now, add four people...
When we got to Zane's house, naturally we had to do the "full tour." Zane is probably the most talented guy I know! He is not only a first-rate musician and singer, but he is also a master wood carver. Emily's brother, Charlie, said that we should now be known as the Chris Talley Militia. We were just proudly displaying four Civil War era rifles that Zane made:
This was Emily's first gig with the Trio, and she did a wonderful job! I forgot to tell her until we were on our way that she was the Official Possum Thrower now. I'm sure this was probably the most nerve-wracking part of the gig for her. You know how important this can be -- making sure you throw it just right -- a perfect arc over Zane and made to fall right in front of the mic. And, of course, you have to get the timing just right. Well, Emily was up to the challenge. I don't believe she could have done any better! She didn't hit the mic, didn't hit the cameras in the front row, and she had perfect timing. It was the finishing touch on Zane's "Blue Spoon of Kentucky." In fact, I think it was this perfect throw that got us our standing ovation at the end.