It’s Monday morning here in Huntsville. The last concert for this leg is this evening. Thursday & Friday saw us in Savannah & Augusta respectively. In Savannah we played historic Christ Church. Check out their website. Names like George Washington, John Wesley, Juliet Gordon Lowe are prominent in their history. It’s always intimidating bringing a modern, amplified concert to such an historic space. All the more so at Christ Church where the stairs presented a formiddable obstacle. Nevertheless we had a good concert (on of the best sounding to my ears) and I believe we left the church none the worse for the wear.
In Augusta we played St. Joeseph’s church where Father John & a terrific crew from the Alleluia community welcomed us. It was a pretty full house and an enthusiastic audience. We had an unusual problem in that a brand new circuit breaker was defective straight out of the box. Neither the church’s electrician or I had ever had quite this problem before. But, a new breaker was procured, and Joe & I enjoyed some Wendy’s takeout while we waited. Speaking of Joe…..he & John Martin took a quick day trip up to Joe’s studio in Nashville over the weekend to record a new song. This is the song that came when Joe purchased a previously loved guitar earlier in the tour. We all look forward to hearing the result.
Tonight’s concert here in Huntsville includes a choir with members from about ten churches. Should be a good time for all. Check back for a report on that and any wrap up info I can think of before I give it a rest for lent.
You’ll notice some red & blue in the background in these. I’ve been adding some improvised backlight at some concerts. It’s tough, partly because there’s only so much time in the day to get such things done. But, there’s also a fine line between adding a tasteful, appropriate design element to the concert or getting carried away with the idolatry of a flash & trash Rock-N-Roll show.
We travel a lot, so people often comment about how great it must be to see so many different places. The truth is we don’t often see much. We meet great people all over, but mostly we see the bus, the hotel & the church. There are exceptions though. We spent a few days in St. Augustine. The town is a bit overrun by tourists but there is much to reccomend it and a few things to make you think. It’s the oldest city in the United States. The Cathedral is on the site where Mass was first said in 1565.
The Hilton hotel sits on the site of the Monson Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested in 1964. Each of us has a different background, a different set of interests which informs our view. But there is something there for each of us to take away…when we have the time to look.
Last night in St. Augustine we had a great crew of students from Flagler College. Joe had a chance to go out and spend some time with them after the concert and they sent a real nice thank you note by email. One of the biggest challenges of touring in non traditional venues is getting enough help. It doesn’t need to be professional stage hands, just a bunch of reasonably able, attentive people willing to give a bunch of time & sweat. It’s really a blessing for us to get a good group. So my thanks and that of the whole tour go to our St.Augustine crew:
We had a great concert in Winter Park last night. The concert was sponsored by the San Pedro retreat center and they did a great job. Probably the hardest thing all day was getting the truck & bus to the church without incuring too much tree damage. It was a pretty full house of around 900 enthusiastic people. I was just listening to the archive recording and am still surprised by the crowd response. If you were there, thanks for coming. If you had any trouble hearing, I apologize. St. Margaret Mary is a beautiful contemporary church, but it’s a cavernous acoustically challenged space. I can only assume from the crowd reaction, and hearing people sing along, that most people were able to hear well enough.
Tom’s friend Chris Gunty from the Florida Catholic paper came out to visit and took some great pictures. Chris was kind enough to share the pictures with us and I’ve included a couple here.
We’ve moved on to St. Augustine now where we have a bit of time to rest before a concert at the Cathedral Tuesday evening. I had dinner tonight at a place called Son of a Fish on Aviles street. A small, non touristy, place that seemed to be respected by locals. It looks like there’s much to see and do here but it’s quite crowded. I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be a nice place to visit a bit off season.
We’ve still got a few more concerts in this leg so please try to come out and see us if you can. Pray for us too as we move on. The road can wear you down. Terry and Viola have both been feeling ill this week and could use your prayers.
Don’t forget to leave a comment to say hi and be sure to tell your friends about the tour and the blog.
Well, I’ve been terribly remiss and am way behind in posting this trip. Frankly, I’m just feelin’ worn out. I’ve no reason since we’ve only done two concerts so far but c’est la vie.
A couple days of driving got us safely from Little Portion to the Tampa area. Despite some difficulties (read Joe’s post below) we had a great, well attended concert in Lutz. Joe & I managed to get a bit turned around on the journey back to the hotel but I still made it to the bus to see the second running of Battlestar Galactica on SciFi.
Special thanks and prayers go to Sacred Heart parish in Pinellas Park where Tom & I went to Mass Sunday. Not knowing that we were there the music ministry was using mostly Mass parts that Tom wrote. Tom was tickled. They also had their first LifeTeen Mass that evening so we wish them every blessing & success.
The second concert in St. Petersburg was as well or even better attended than the first. The crowd was truly responsive and the parish supportive. Volunteer help started to thin out during the load out though so we finished with a bit less help than we could of used.
Next concert is tomorrow here in Boca Raton. Hopefully I’ll get some pictures to share. Please drop us a line and let us know you’ve seen the blog, the tour, or both.
welcome to St. Petersburg, FL. Palm trees are swaying outside my window. We had a really long travel day today from Tampa…
but with our detours to various guitar stores and of course, WALMART, it took about 3 hours.
While John Michael showed INCREDIBLE restraint, Tom Booth did some damage. A 1960 Gibson Melody Maker. He was tearin’ it up at the Guitar Center there. Got a great deal on it too.
I practically stole a lovely epiphone acoustic guitar from Legend’s Guitar shop. $145 WITH a case. It’s got a few marks on it, but I prefer buying instruments “pre-dinged”. This way I don’t have to worry about it when I bash it up.
John Michael says when you buy a new instrument, new songs come out of the instrument. Well, that’s true. I wrote one this afternoon.
We had a great concert last night in Lutz (pronounced LOOTZ), just north of Tampa. about 750 people came out, and it was a nice evening, all things considered.
When we showed up, only 3 people were there to help unload the truck (we require at least 8 people).
Then, once we got into the church, and started to set up, we had no power. The electrician (another requirement) was a no show, so we had no way to patch our electrical panel into the breaker box.
So by the time they found another electrician, it was close to concert time, and we didn’t start sound checking until 6PM. Doors opened at 6:30.
But JC saved the day. Not THAT JC, our OTHER JC. the sound master, JOHN COTTON. He did the classic soundman “all-odds-against-yet-somehow-pulls-off-a-great-sounding-show”.
Voices sounded good, guitars sounded good. Great night of music and ministry.
Tomorrow night we’re in St. Pete, and we’ll have a choir with us. Should be alot of fun.
well, that’s it. I shall live to write another day, Epiphone in HAND, so to speak…
February 11, 2006
Sister and Brothers,
I am in the Ozark – mountains, that is. My cell has never worked here
(T-Mobile), it still doesn’t. We are rehearsing today and tomorrow,
then driving for 2 days in a bus to Florida for the 1st gig. Life “on
the road” is alot of things, but glorious is NOT one of them. By the
way, what are the NEWEST BLOGGING INSTRUCTION available. I am a
repentant non-blogger. I am trying to change my ways. Pray for me. I am
wearing a “non-blogger patch” – I hope it helps. I am keeping candy
nearby, so when I think of NOT blogging I can grab a candy bar -
substituting candy for the harmful non-blogging habit that I have
developed. I started in High School just to be cool. My friends are
considering sending me to the “Betty Ford Non-Blogger Clinic”. Change
Well we’re all here at Little Portion. Only one left to arrive is our bus driver David. The guys have one more day of rehearsal. I’ve got one more day of gear maintenance. Then, we’re on our way. Please pray for us as we go and keep an eye on the blog for more updates from me and the guys.