About a dozen of us went caroling last night as part of the Holiday Stroll event (Downtown Billings Alliance). We had a great time, and there was a lot of enthusiasm about doing it again next year. (And I think that maybe next year, we could have two or three well-balanced groups to wander about as we did last night). It sure seemed wrong that we couldn’t have everybody with us, but it was what it was!
Anyway, several of us thought it would be nice—-AFTER OUR SHOW IS FINISHED—-to arrange a casual caroling event at a local nursing home, retirement home, or assisted living facility. I don’t know when would be best for that—and I wonder about Monday night, the 20th—in our regular rehearsal slot (though our rehearsal semester will end the week before with our show). Depending on the facility, of course, they may much prefer us to come in the daytime—-or am I wrong about that? (And on what weekday would they want us?)
We wouldn’t have to have all 33 of us to make this work, so we can approach it quite casually. I know that these especially at this time of year, these songs mean so much to so many. So I’m highly motivated to make it work out if we can get at least a dozen or so (with all the parts represented).
Our set of 6 singalong songs only takes us 15 or 20 minutes to perform, so we could possibly have a caravan and go to more than one location on the same outing.
Anybody have ideas where to go and when? Anybody have contacts in such homes already? Anybody have recent experience putting together such a thing? You can send me your ideas/responses on Remind—responding to the post that got you here.
IMMEDIATE RESPONSE REQUIRED–Please answer the survey at the bottom.
We’ve been invited to sing for 20-30 minutes in the middle of the Community Band Concert on:
Sunday, December 12, 2021
Lincoln Center Auditorium, Downtown Billings
Todd Naasz is the director. He’s the one who played the soprano sax solo on the Lone Prairie/Old Cowhand medley when we performed it on 17 May 2021. Todd also works at Hansen’s Music. They had another ensemble scheduled to sing on their show, and that fell through, so they need a Plan B.
Meanwhile, if Freedom Choir can commit to doing this gig, it will serve as a nice public warm-up for our big show the next day.
If you agree to do it, here’s the rough picture of what I propose we should perform:
- Probably nothing that’s not on our Christmas show the next night—although I must say it’s tempting to pull out one or more of these three, which are easy, and if you were in favor of doing them, I’d be all for it: Chapel of Love, Leave Her Johnny, Old Cowhand.
- This Is My Country
- Down Our Way (if it’s fixed by then)
- Because It’s Beautiful
- Where Is Love?
- The Oak and the Ash
- Encourage My Soul
- And are they going to be disappointed that there’s no Christmas music in all this? I don’t want to debut any of our original stuff at the band concert, and I don’t want to do any of the singalong songs.
- We’d use the same song announcements as for our show the next night.
- We’d wear the same all-black.
Pros and Cons
Here are a few things to consider. You may have other considerations, but here’s what I’ve thought of:
- It’s in front of a crowd of probably 300-500 people, some of whom can buy tickets for our show the next night (if we aren’t sold out by then).
- This would be a new audience for us. Perhaps they’d want us back next year.
- It’s a chance for more general public exposure, building our “brand”, and recruiting new members. Also, these are “band people” and not just a “general audience”—they are music promoters/supporters, and many of them are musicians themselves. So it’s a chance for us to be known by them, and they will like our performance (because we’re getting really good), and they will talk about it around town. If 500 attend and hear us, that’s 5% of the population of Greater Billings.
- It’s a chance for you all to sing in the Lincoln Center Auditorium, which is a GREAT hall—and where I want us to start doing our shows twice a year once we’ve outgrown the Babcock.
- Singing the band concert is logistically very simple as far as load-in, load-out, and setup go.
- While it’s not exactly a typical “dress rehearsal” of our show the next day, it’s at least HALF of that. having done this much in a new location, we’d be all the more comfortable the next day at the Babcock.
- It’s one more thing to do in a busy week and season.
- If we sing anything that’s not already on our 13 December show, it’s more preparation (even if not much more), and robs us of at least a little rehearsal time for the 13 December show.
- I don’t know this for a fact, but it could be that we will NOT get a chance to warm up or practice in the hall before the band concert. This is good and bad. It’s GOOD for you to have a chance to put into practice the thing I’ve been talking about the last couple of weeks—-where you just go in and sing your best full/rich sound, and don’t get weirded out if the environment is new and strange—that is, that you don’t wait for it to “feel right” before you sing right. So this could be good practice at that. But on the other hand, until we’ve learned that advanced performance skill, we run the risk of being weaker than usual on our first couple of songs, until I can eventually drag it out of you from up front (without the benefit of being able to stop the show and have a talk about it! (I’m confident you’ll sing your best AFTER we talk about it—because you always do—so the question is whether you’ll do it right from the beginning.)