Risse has hundreds of road stories that we rehash while traveling. Last night’s engagement can now be included as an amazing “overcoming the odds event”!
Risse played at Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, NC. for the Josh and Jade Goodman seaside wedding and reception. It was awesome! (Check out the video testimonial where Josh and Jade talk about how Risse filled their wedding reception with magic moments to remember).
It was wonderful the way the day ultimately turned out, compared to the way it began. Let me digress for a minute and then get back to the wedding reception.
We have a set time to leave designed to give us plenty of time to deal with whatever challenges we may face on the road and arrive at a specified set up time. Steve Chall, bass player acted as point man, heading to Wilmington an hour ahead of us. He called to say there would be traffic congestion ahead. Fortunately, by the time we reached the highway, travel was fairly smooth in spite of a few intermittent “looky-loo” situations. On to our traditional stop at Smithfield’s Chicken n’ Biscuits to derail our healthy food regimens.
The GPS lady got a little confused by the fact that Landfall has two clubhouses, so we were lost for a minute, first stopping at the “Dye” and then being directed to the “Nicklaus”. Just 2 blocks away from the venue where we were about to arrive exactly on schedule, we drove over something and felt a bump in the tire. Oh No! Not a flat! Not Now! I had visions of carrying the equipment two blocks or perhaps transporting it on golf carts. Victor Stone, my partner pulled over, checked and could see nothing. When we arrived, after closer inspection, there was a huge nail in the tire. Vic said we had to call someone because the tire would be flat by the gig’s end. So I called AAA, to whom I had been paying my member fees promptly to for years. The representative kindly informed me that the 15-passenger van we were driving was considered an RV, and required special membership, that would take 5 days to process. I asked what my options were. She offered to arrange a contractor service for which I would have to pay. Wonderful! Well at least the service man came promptly. He called me to come out to the parking lot, at which time it started to rain! And I had just gotten my hair done!!! Finally the tire was fixed and I had just enough time to get dressed before they would open the doors to the ballroom and seat the guests. I didn’t even get to eat the incredible salmon and pork loin dinner (I heard) they prepared for the band! Then what happened? Dress Fail! Thanks to the ladies who tried to help me pass that little point where your dress zipper won’t budge (I won’t dare admit why). It finally broke, but my intuition paid off. I brought a second change. Whew!
Many times the issue of whether I introduce the wedding party is not decided until I arrive at the venue. I like to have it ahead of time to be sure about the pronunciation of names and have it printed so my matured eyes can read them. I love the challenge of names and more times than not figure them out. Not today! I had fun with the wedding party, verifying the pronunciation of their names. One gentlemen looked at me and said, ”blame my mother”.
Now to the Amazing Evening!
As Jade Goodman remarked later, we were conscious of keeping the music and vocals at a respectable volume during dinner. Our drummer Pat Torain, is excellent with controlling the volume. We played a selection of popular jazz standards and big band. People started dancing as soon as we kicked off. I always notice when our guitarist Mike Johnson begins to sing “The Very Thought of You”, heads turn toward the stage at the sound of his smooth crooning. Of course as usual, the children commanded the dance floor. There was a darling little girl with “Shirley Temple” curls that ruled the night!
I announced the wedding party without a hitch and vocalist Dino Stone did an incredible job of delivering the first dance choice, Marry Me, by Train. I sang “The Way You Look Tonight” for the parent’s dances and that went smoothly as well. In the unique tradition of a Jewish wedding, Risse drove the ceremonial “Hora” dance into a frenzied display of family and friends singing, dancing, heads bobbing. Josh and Jade along with several family members were lifted high in the air sitting in a chair. (See our video of the dance). The guests danced to the “Hora” Hava Nagila, as they moved in a type of circle individually, without partners. Jade personally shared her family’s appreciation for the way we handled the volume from the very beginning.
There are times when the band becomes an even more integral part of keeping the flow and mood of the evening on a higher level.
We were all faced with serious emergency at one point concerning a dear child. I called out for assistance and everyone rallied. The outcome was positive as I announced to the audience, and pumped them up to get the music going again. From that point on it was on “blast” until the bubbles at the very end!!!