For Part 2 of my Live! at Lake Thunderhead 2013 series I’d like to write a little bit about the band.
There is much about the band that shall remain a mystery, as I am not privy to its inner workings. Though I am sort of in the band in that I sing songs with them at the Labor Day Party, I’m not really in the band in that I’m a girl.
See, this band is not a functioning band except for one weekend of the year. They (we) don’t play together except for Labor Day weekend. This year we had two practice sessions (Friday and Saturday), only one of which included all of the band members. The rest of the time they’re just a bunch of brothers, cousins, and friends who like to send each other dirty, crap-talking emails and get together about once a year outside of Labor Day for “band practice.”
Naturally, being a female, I don’t get invited to these “Freegas Weekends,” which once upon a time were supposedly an opportunity during the year for the guys to get together and “practice” but are really just a thinly-veiled cover for a free-for-all guys weekend. They haven’t even bothered to take their musical instruments to these get togethers since 2009.
Please don’t read that to mean I’m bitter about not being invited. It would be weird if I was (invited I mean). I have zero interest in crashing the male bonding time my hubby gets with his best peeps, and I love that they get to do it. I only mention it to illustrate why I’m not really in the-band-that-most-of-the-time-isn’t-actually-a-band but is rather a bunch of middle aged men who like to get together and drink beer and play frisbee golf and um, do other manly stuff.
But I digress. Let me introduce you to the four originals.
My brother-in-law. He obviously plays multiple musical instruments as well as singing. He is a voice of reason among the other guys.
Bass player, vocalist, and sometimes drummer. Performer extraordinaire. He can harmonize like you wouldn’t believe.
The mastermind, he comes up with most of the songs the band will sing each year. He plays every instrument the band uses and has showmanship to spare.
Benois (aka my hubby)
He can play the guitar, though he hasn’t done so at The Party in several years. He has a beautiful voice and is just a total rock star. Plus, he’s hot.
The four of these guys parade around the front of the stage, dancing and singing and playing and putting on a show like you’ve never seen before. They are all talented musicians, but more than that they know how to perform.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, there were two additions to the band in 2004.
An amazing drummer. He is usually in the back of course, but occasionally graces the front of the stage or even the dance floor.
And last but most certainly not least, The Boy Wonder:
He is by far the youngest of the group and was only about 16 when he started playing at the party. He is a crazy good guitar player. Crazy good.
And then there’s one other honorary “band member.” J-Dub:
He does not participate in the musical performance. To my knowledge he has no musical talent whatsoever. He is more like a band manager/chief dirty joke teller/director of pointless banter. He and his wife also cook the wings on Saturday night. And he gets invited to the Freegas Weekends.
Finally, there’s me.
I’m an occasional add-in vocalist. Some years (like this year) I sing a lot, some years not so much. This year I got to do some really fun songs, including Love Shack, We Got the Beat, and my personal favorite of all time, Poker Face.
And I can’t leave out that for the past two years we’ve had another member, The Prodigy:
He plays violin on two songs and trumpet on one. And he’s only 14.
It’s hard to explain in a few words this unusual group of guys who, mostly, are all related. They are wacky and funny and talented and I wish I could adequately describe what happens when they all get up on stage together to perform.
The music is sometimes awesome, sometimes awful, but it doesn’t really even matter because when the wheels start to come off they just crank up the crazy and it all works out. If the crowd isn’t in a dancing frenzy they’re laughing hysterically, like at this year’s performances of “Business Time” and “Lunch Lady Land.”
Most of the time the crowd is dancing and jumping and clapping and singing along.
The guys take themselves just seriously enough that the music is good, but no so seriously that they don’t enjoy themselves even when it’s not. When one of the band members messes up of forgets the lyrics they just make something up or bust out some wicked dance moves. They welcome family members and friends up to the stage to sing along, whether they know the words (or melody) to the songs or not.
These guys work hard to play music for their people. The band plays one show per year, for the reunion of their kin.
It doesn’t get any better than that.
I am so thankful that I can be a part of this. Part of the party. Part of the band. But most of all, part of this funny, hard-working, sometimes-totally-crazy-but-always-loveable family.