Our show was AMAZING!! Did I say that already?
The adults (me, hubs and my closest friends who all also teach music) loaded into the venue at 10a. We paid $15 000 to hire the auditorium in a major venue, including the floor staff, lighting crew and sound crew.
We spent the first few hours loading in all the gear:
2x drum kits
3 x massive back line amps
1 x bass rig
4 x wireless guitar packs
15 x guitars
and all the extra bits and pieces!
The students arrived at 12pm. I met them at the door of the venue and their parents signed them over to me (30 excited kids, 6 -17, no pressure!) we all had our matching shirts on. It was so exciting! Our shirts with the show name and logo and all the names on the back was a GREAT idea! It was great for security, so we all knew the people in shirts were with us, and great for morale!
Once all the students were there we gave them tours of the dressing rooms and backstage area and did a sound check run through of most of the songs.
Again, the cliche of "a bad rehearsal means a good show" came true! After the run through we were SO SCARED! The harmonies in Bohemian Rhapsody were SO BAD. I cannot even convey to you the badness. I wondered if it was too late to axe the song. Hubs suggested ditching the harmonies and singing is straight up. The students were adamant they could get it, so we let them.
Doors opened at 6.30 and I gave all the children the first call. My job was the backstage performer-wrangler. I had to get kids in costumes and up to the stage door on time. Let me tell you this - skinny teenage rock star boys have no concept of modesty. I saw waaaay too much skinny rockstar flesh (and underwear)!
The show started right on 7pm with a video display on a massive screen, with photos and the name of every performer flashing across the screen. It played to Joan Jett's Bad Reputation. It was MASSIVE. We could hear the audience screaming and cheering from downstairs in the Green Room. We had a direct feed from the video camera into the dressing rooms and green room (again, a surprise to the children) so they could watch the show. They were super excited when it all began.
The show went off without a hitch. Seriously. It was wonderful. Bohemian Rhapsody? Brian May wants our version as his ring tone. This is War? Perfect. My Allstar Guitar boys? Rocked the House. Hubs was SO proud of our boys. They had all the big guitar solo parts and went right up to the tip of the ego ramp. The theatricality that such a big stage and venue brought out in these kids is AMAZING!
Learning an instrument is usually a solitary task. Just you, your piano/guitar/drum kit and the teacher. We fostered such a sense of camaraderie in these performers. They are all friends on Facebook and messaging each other. It is really ...AMAZING!
My highlights were:
- standing in the foyer of the venue meeting the students as they arrived, and seeing the bright eyes and smiling faces of each and every one. Their excitement was palpable.
- walking 30 hungry rockstars to McDonalds, all of us in matching T shirts and feeling SO PROUD to be a part of this group. They were so well behaved...mostly.
- seeing two sweaty 17 year old rival drummers hug as they came off stage after playing in a drum due battle.
- In the encore song (You're the Voice), played by the teachers, when all the performers came on stage to sing with them. I peeked out into the audience and the whole crowd was on their feet! There was not a dry eye in the house! OK, maybe just me...
- at the end of the night getting hugs and kisses from all the kids
- kids saying they will miss me - even though I have roused on them, hustled them, blown my whistle at them etc for months! As head Supervisor I was routinely the bad cop and did everything from chastity policing (13 year olds are not what they were when I was 13...), costume vetos, kicking friends out, rousing on late kids etc etc.
- Seeing the real bond and connection develop between these crazy kids, from different schools, towns, music teachers, lifestyles etc. Seeing them turn into real little rock bands!
I am already planning next year....