many of you know that I spent my professional life in theatre–amateur, then pro, and at the same time educational. I’ve have some strange experiences. I remember the first musical I ever directed: The Wizard of Oz, at Wolcott Junior high school–one of the worst schools in America, to be sure, but with a great bunch of little kids. I directed the show and sold it out for three nights, which, at a couple of bucks a ticket, made a whole bunch of money. I did Charlie Brown, Birdie, and some Shakespeare, all on my own, my own time, not getting paid, and putting a whole bunch of $$$ in the coffers of the school system. Anyhow, I got a Master’s in 1973 in Theatre from Illinois, and went back to the school. I asked to be paid for directing, since I now had professional qualifications. The school board–a bunch of real forward thinkers, obviously–told me I could go to the blazes, despite the fact that they’d gotten a bunch of money from my shows and the production would pay for itself. . So I went into a bunch of other theatre groups, and eventually transferred to Forest View High School, then Wheeling, where I directed for the next 28 years.
But I digress. I got into the band scene when I was at Illinois as an undergrad, and the thrill of performance continued. Since I’ve been out of teaching, I’ve had a great time reviewing plays, and now movies and literature for WSPY-tv. Nice to be appreciated, Village of Thornton.
Last night, though, I really returned to my roots. Kelly, who dates a woman in our neighborhood, asked if I’d be interested in joining, or at least auditioning, for his band, a group called Generation Gap. I went to the first rehearsal last night.
My fingers are a bit out of shape, and I don’t play like lightning, but I did keep up, sang a bit (on “Summertime Blues”, e. g. I got to do the tacit voice: ‘Ever’ time I call my baby to try to get a date, the boss says (and now here’s where I came in) “I’m sorry, son, you gotta worka late!”) Great fun. Anyhow I guess I’m going to do vocals while the regular vocalist (Kelly, who invited me) is out of town. Can’t wait. I’ve learned something about how to sing in the years since I last had a regular gig.
I was struck by some irony last night. We played–well, rehearsed–a song that was a big hit in 1967 called The Letter by a group with the enigmatic name of the box tops. As I strummed the chords, I realized that the last time I played that song was at my last gig with my favorite group Mankynd on June 1, 1968: 45 years ago. So have I come full circle? Maybe. In any case, they seemed to like me and my playing. They didn’t storm the stage waving torches and chanting slogans and brandishing a rope. Fun, fun–
Thanks for reading!