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Yes, you can tell it’s that time of year, as there are just far too many musicians appearing around town wearing Santa hats.
Only just last week we played a traditional “office Christmas lunch”. This was traditional in the sense it was held in the seminar room, and we strongly suspect that they were all back at their computers by 4 pm. Certainly no shenanigans with photocopiers at this one – but each to his own.
But now, let’s cast our minds back to October, where we left you last. Sarah had flown off overseas and Spectrum (with Peter) went to the Manly Festival Jazz Festival, where despite continual rain, a good time was had by all. The following week, Spectrum helped celebrate the birthdays of the Levers twins (Mark and Scott – 18 and 21 respectively, and actually about 6 months apart) in grand swinging style.
To fill in the slight lull in FAQ gigs, Peter went and made random appearances at Floriade with Canberra City Band, and In Full Swing. Also, due to no real fault of his own, he found himself in the Queanbeyan Players orchestra pit – delightfully and ironically disguised as a second trombone player in a Gilbert and Sullivan.
Sarah made in back from the States in one piece, with a brand new microphone and sundry suitcases full of earrings and Broadway merchandise. She was just in time to join Spectrum as they played a “concert” for the Yass Musical Society. This was a very successful evening of swing that evoked memories of Gene Krupa’s visit to the region for at least one local.
Early November saw as back at our now ‘regular gig’, the launch of Canberra Repertory’s 2009 season. Theatre buffs would do well to check what Rep has to offer next year.
Sarah then made her debut as vocalist with the Canberra City Band. Choosing a varied yet reliable program of Gershwin, Gershwin, Gershwin and Arlen/Young, she braved the rigours of a 6am bus ride all the way to the Temora, for the annual Air Show. Peter also went for the ride to ensure there was still plenty of Tuba backing for the necessary Dambusters’ March and Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines that always complements Gershwin so nicely at those sorts of events.
Later that week we had the trio back together, and a whole lot more as we played three nights in a row. Thursday was the JaCS (Kings and Queens) Ball, at the Hellenic Club. JACS stands for Justice and Community Safety (the ACT Department thereof) and this was their first effort at a fund raising ball, but hopefully not their last. We kicked off the evening with that well known dinner music combo of Frequently Asked Questions plus Doug Luke on guitar and Mark Levers on drums, and then gave them a couple of solid brackets of the full Spectrum for dancing.
Friday night we were back at the Casino Canberra. Now far be it from us to comment on the diversity of patronage at such a place, but it still remains a mystery as to how some people will see an electric keyboard, automatically assume it is synthesizer, and thus (naturally) request disco music. Despite sporting it out amicably, being forced to use the expression: “Sorry, we are a jazz band” still grates a bit at times.
That night was also the debut of Sarah’s new “Speaker on a Stick’. Now, if you have been to see any live music group play, you may think this is not that big a deal. But we were excited about it, and it now means that everyone gets to carry an amp to the gig.
You might recall Saturday 22 November as being one of the coldest summer afternoons on record in Canberra. We certainly did; as we were in a marquee in Bungendore, braving icy winds and ever threatening rain for a lovely garden wedding reception. Despite the need to brush icicles off instruments it was a very pleasant event and proved the value of playing gigs with decent caterers (we recommend the Rubicon in Griffith).
The following week it really did bucket down, so the new venue for us – the Gold Creek Country Club in Nicholls, had us inside on a Friday evening rather than the preferred spot of out on the terrace over looking the golf course.
The weather was vastly improved for one of the last Spectrum performances for the year, in Garema place (with Sarah on vocals, Peter on Bass). Spectrum has said farewell to band leader Rod Mason, who is moving to Sydney to further his music/army career. Rod did wonders for Spectrum in his time as MD, inspiring us musically and bringing in a host of work. The band now looks forward to working with Steve Carter, from RMC, in the new year.
So with one weekend left before Christmas, you can still catch us at the Folkus Room on Saturday 20th, or else the Repertory Christmas Party on Sunday 21st. After that we all depart for various alternate climates, be it San Diego, Maleny or downtown Cook.
A Merry Christmas to al our readers and see you in the New Year.