Gigging with Chris

Chris waiting for the gig.

MUSIC: My gig at Luthier’s Co-op was a blast. No one got rich. But friends came. We sang. And as Mike said after, “Well, that didn’t suck.” So in my folk music universe, that is a good night. More about the gig after; I wanted to share some of the preparations and publicity. Maybe it will be useful.

Chris Christie. You can read my previous post about deciding to use Chris Christy as my mascot for the gig. I included him on my poster and photoshopping him into famous art became a nice diversion. Then, I decided to create a Chris Christie stage prop for the gig. Originally I was going to send it to a place like Staples and have them print and mount it. That would have cost $50, more than we took in for the gig. Instead, I blew him up, printed him out in sections and used a big glue stick to mount him to some foam-core. Then I cut him out with an Xacto knife.

Facebook “event”. I’ve done Facebook Events for other gigs but this was the first time I invited anyone. Usually, I post it and share it. Then I wait and hope.  This time I tagged most of my friends and others in the folk music community and sent it out. I had received messages and a few complaints about tagging in the past so I didn’t tag them.

MailChimp. My next tool was email. I had set up an account on MailChimp in February and started an email to promote some Spring gigs. When my sister Barbara got ill, the concerts were in limbo. I never sent out the message. MailChimp is relatively easy to use but I am still learning the ins and outs of it. Most of you should have received the message I sent. My database had names from this blog, gigs, and Bandcamp downloads; other friends and people in the greater music ecosystem.

I attempted to put a MailChimp sign-up form on this website. Unfortunately, the form included every field in the database: Where we met; Where you bought my music; Whether you contributed to Kathy’s fundraising. I have since figured out those fields can be visible or invisible.  I put an email sign-up form on my Facebook music page and it actually works!

One good thing MailChimp updates the database and removes duplicates.

I received some nice comments from the mailing. There were a few unsubscriptions. And a few email addresses that bounced because I could not read their handwriting. I also received a few performance offers too. One response was from my friend Ed McKeon at WWUH-FM at the University of Hartford. He offered to interview me on the Wednesday show before the gig.

From right to left Ed McKeon, Chris Christie, and moi.
They were paving the station lot when we got there.

WWUH-FM. If you read other parts of this website you will notice that WWUH shows up a fair amount. Ed McKeon has been the Wednesday morning folk DJ since 1985. Kathy and I moved to Hampden in 1988 and were listeners and supporters from the start. When Ed and other friends started the Folk Next Door concert and CD series I sent in a cassette tape as my entry. That first year they concentrated on Connecticut artists. Even though I can  “…see Connecticut from my house.” (not really) I didn’t get in. But my cassette got played on the air. By the following year, I was accepted into the family.

The second Folk Next Door concert “Honey Hide the Banjo, It’s the Folk Next Door Again!” was my first big concert event. East Longmeadow made it to the recording and received airplay all over New England. I was part of two later FND concerts and a holiday concert. At other times I drove down to help with on air fundraising. So, WWUH is close to my heart.

Even though Chris was in the passenger seat I decided not to use the commuter lane. The college was repaving the parking lot outside the station but I found a spot and I got to the station. The interview went well. It was like being home again after many years. I sang East Longmeadow. We talked about this blog, Kathy and about Huntington’s Disease. I sang a few other songs including the Huntington’s Waltz. I even sang my version of Buffalo Gals Taking a Walk on the Wild Side. Ed helped with the Doo, Doo, doo parts. After my interview, Ed did a tribute to the music of Glen Campbell who just passed away from Alzheimer’s Disease. Visit WWUH.org to listen to folk and folkish music almost every morning.

Open mike practice. That evening I drove up to the Luthier’s open mic to try to coax my friends there to come the following night. It was a fine night of music too. I told the audience driving to the open mic was a guilt trip. I wanted to make them feel guilty enough to come the next night. We practiced two of the sing-a-longs planned for the next night too.

Mike and I performing at Luthiers. That is Chris Christie trying to collect tips.

The Gig

My friend, Mike Sullivan was able to make it and sang harmony and provided percussion. At first, it looked like another quiet Thursday night but folks started showing up. A few old friends came from Hampden. They heard me on the radio on Wednesday. Several friends from the regular Wednesday open mic came.

My friend Karim, the bass player for the band Cadence operated the sound. He helped me jerry-rig my phone so I could broadcast on Facebook live. I had it all figured out at home. But I forgot the tripod and rubber bands at home. We used duct tape and taped my phone to the wall. As the concert progressed members of the next act, River Rhapsody arrived with their fans. Several members of the band were in a songwriting group Mike attends every month. So those who made it past us were treated to excellent songwriting, singing, and musicianship by them.

My friend Karim, the bass player for the band Cadence operated the sound. He helped me jerry-rig my phone so I could broadcast on Facebook live. I had it all figured out at home. But I forgot the tripod and rubber bands at home. We used duct tape and taped my phone to the wall.

As the concert progressed members of the next act, River Rhapsody arrived with their fans. Several members of the band were in a songwriting group Mike attends every month. So those who made it past us were treated to excellent songwriting, singing, and musicianship by them.

This is a download of the Facebook Live feed. Sorry it is from so far away. Maybe that’s for the best 🙂

  1 comment for “Gigging with Chris

  1. Michael and LouAnn Biolchini
    September 4, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    Lots o’ giggles in this one Peter;

    Thanks!

    Love,
    LouAnn and me

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