by Chief Musician Peter Revell
As Tour Manager for the first half of our 2012 Tour, I've had the privilege of seeing the band through the great states of New Mexico and Texas, from the vast desert expanse to farmland and big blue skies. I've been out in front of the group in the tour car, staying a step ahead of the bus and the truck, keeping things rolling smoothly and putting smiles on the faces of our great sponsors and patrons...and keeping my shipmates well rested and, for the most part, properly fed.
As yesterday was a matinee, we took the band directly to the concert venue in the next town, so I got to drive the "big rig" to Searcy, Arkansas, along with Musician 1st Class Tim Stanley as navigator and cab music director. Underway he picked some great travelling music to keep our toes tapping and smiles on our faces as we worked our way east. The fall foliage was beautiful and the ride was a smooth one.
After getting on I-40 East we soon found ourselves in Searcy, Ark., and at Harding University, where I was excited to see a venue that I've actually played at twice before...first as a Sea Chanter on a much colder February Tour many years ago, and then as a Commodore 5 years ago.
There's something neat about coming back to a venue that you've been to before, especially when it houses a beautiful Baldwin grand piano for our pianist, Musician 1st Class Dan LaMaestra, to play and for us to enjoy. We had great sponsors who helped us get our gear in place and then were kind enough to treat us to some local flavor provided by Lenny's Sub Shop. Truly a great surprise.
Once set up, the band did what it does best...play and entertain. After a stirring National Anthem perfectly executed by Musician 1st Class Casey Elliott, the band rollicked and swung through some real crowd pleasers, including a great latin groove treatment of "One Mint Julep" which featured every section and made you really move your feet. After it was all wrapped up, again perfectly by MU1 Elliot inspiring us and the crowd with her soulful rendition of America, we had a wonderful standing ovation.
I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday, and I'm lucky to have had such a great view!