Friday, April 27, 2012
A Landmark Day
Indeed, it was. As we gear up for the 12th. Annual Davefest at Sir Winston Churchill High School for June 2, I'm cutting my teeth in a new realm: that of on-stage musician. Since last year's Davefest, which I apparently didn't blog about whatsoever, I have been inspired to play. Like... in front of actual people; an audience. As the story goes, there's this fundraiser held at my old high school. It's called Davefest in memory of David Elton - a graduate of Sir Winston Churchill who died in a water rescue attempt in California in 2000. His parents started the David Elton Fund to support outdoor safety programmes. Last year, my friend Dave B. encouraged me to help them with the sound production end of Davefest. It sometimes weirds me out a bit that my friend Dave introduced me (also a Dave) to Davefest - which has nothing whatsoever to do with being a Dave. Stranger still, I've extended an invitation to my industry friend Dave D. to do the mixdown for the video they shoot every year. Tonight, however, I broke some new ground. After getting myself on the Davefest planning committee, I was invited to an open stage jam tonight which involved many of the Davefest folk and to my surprise, George C. and his wife C. whom I know through the AWA. For the past year I've not-so-secretly yearned to play at Davefest, and tonight I got my first taste of playing in front of an audience. The open jam was hosted by one of the musicians who played Davefest, N. I found out through a telephone conversation that N. also knows A. who plays in another band I mix fairly regularly. Small world! So I showed up at Varsity tonight, prepared to play. They sign 10 acts, 15 minutes each. Once the list is full, that's it. Or is it? I arrived early, only for some reason I didn't get to the list until it was practically full. Lsat spot, and there was a young girl who wanted to play and had also never played for an audience... or as I found out after the show, had played only at the previous open stage last month. I told her to take the slot and that I would play if time permitted. N. put my name on the list, then promptly asked if there was anyone willing to shorten their set to allow for 11 performers instead of 10. Two acts generously offered up their shortened sets. I was in. There's something about first-time performing that manifests a shortened memory, quickened speech and sweaty palms. The combination never yields favourable results, and tonight was no exception. There, in front of 40-some people - about half of whom I know - I proceeded to kick off my song... in the wrong key. Some very blue words passed through my mind, but I calmly stopped, made some witty remark about being a newbie, and started again. Ooopsie. Funny though - as I made my way through the song, my confidence grew. By the end of the first chorus I was back on track and the rest of the tune was a piece of cake. Applause, compliments and handshakes followed - far more than I felt I deserved, but it made the awkwardness go away. Some of the more accomplished musicians complimented me on my "save". Several even complimented my voice - something I've never really thought about, just kinda gone with since it's really the only voice I have. I think it helped that I avoided milk products today. The coffee this morning was dull, I must say! What's more, in my introduction I mentioned that I'm a sound guy by trade, not a musician. Well, the two fellows running the sound quickly flagged me down after my tune and told me they wanted my help with the sound for future open stages - just when I thought I'd found an event that I could attend in a different capacity! We chatted more over beer and pizza after the show. Now these two fellows who also play very well, want to sign up for Davefest! What a small world this has become.