Interesting thread. Our experience in St Louis is a bit different. We
really like our open band nights - the band is known as the "Wall of
Sound." It's not as tight as a smaller band, but there's a richness and
fullness to the sound that makes it quite enjoyable.
It may be that our smallish, slightly echoey hall enhances their sound, and
it may be that they've actually practiced their tunes - the band comes from
the St Louis Folk School, and I they have ensemble classes where they learn
The musicians are not, in general, dancers, and they only play 2-3 times a
year, so our attendance that night is often higher, since it's a nice
change, and since friends of the band come to hear them.
On Tue, Jan 17, 2012 at 2:30 PM, Chrissy Fowler <ktaadn_me(a)hotmail.com>wrote;wrote:
I agree with those who say that the open band leadership is key for
danceability. It has to be fun/lively for the musicians too, and the
quality of the leadership is part of that as well.
At our monthly Community Dance we have an open all-comers band (name taken
from David Kaynor's occasional dances at the Montague Grange, and
philosophy modeled on his and others', such as Lamprey River Band in
Seacoast NH - namely anyone with an instrument is welcome to play, even 3
year olds.) We do not mic any of the musicians, partly for simplicity's
sake in terms of the hassle of setting up sound for a huge band for a 1 hr
dance, and partly to avoid any hierarchy. Works fine since there are
usually more musicians than dancers. Two musicians on our committee anchor
the band each month, giving stability and focus as well as suggesting some
on-the-fly instrumental arrangements, and many of the musicians in a given
night are part of another amateur group which plays regularly throughout
our region (Belfast Bay Fiddlers).
Here's a local filmmaker/tv producer's video of our most recent dance, to
give you a taste of the joyous mayhem that is the Belfast Flying Shoes
All-Comers Band (39 musicians playing, and sometimes singing, for a bunch
of happy dancers, ranging in age from infant to 70s.)
I love open, ad hoc bands for a host of reasons, including the incredible
wall of sound and unpredictability of it all -- am looking forward to
dancing to the NEFFA Festival Orchestra in April, for example.
Organizers mailing list
As you set out for Ithaka, pray that your journey be long, full of
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May there be many summer mornings when, with what pleasure, with what joy,
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