Saturday, December 22, 2012

Why the Holidays sea

First I must preface this entry by saying that this is simply a rant.  Something I needed to get off my chest because of the day I had.  With that said, I know I will fell better tomorrow, and as Dad says..."Sleep on it.  You'll feel better in the morning."  I know his words are true.  I'll let you know.

People take Christmas cruises for three different reasons.  First, because they want to GET AWAY for the holidays.  Second, because they are being SENT AWAY for the holidays by folks who don't necessarily want them around.  Third, because the cruises are SO CHEAP, they are too good to turn down.  Which makes the clientele unique during the holidays.  

Which in a nutshell, means that this crowd is interesting.  They are so amazingly quiet during the shows that we wonder if the zombie apocalypse has begun, but at the end of the show they are screaming for more.  Go figure.  Unfortunately there is one young man who sits down front who looks like he is having his toenails removed one by one with no anesthetic.  Most of the unhappy people sit down front where we can see them.  Why is that? 

Okay.  So we were in Akaroa today.  The day was beautiful.  I spent the morning with Brandi, taking headshots and photos of the roses and different flowers blooming there.  I love Akaroa.

Had lunch at a fish and chips, not my favorite one that burned down... but that one IS getting ready to reopen on Boxing Day.  It was good.  The french fries were good.

Got back on board around 2:30pm in time to get in a quick nap before the rehearsal for the Christmas show.  That was set for 4pm.  A quick note about the Christmas show:  Our Company Manager, Darian, Myself, the Cruise Director, and the Music Manager/Bandmaster all got together a few days ago to talk about the show we were going to do on Christmas Day.  The Cruise Director wanted something upbeat and basic, so Darian and myself came up with a few songs to do... each of us would do a duet with each other, and a solo number as well. The Dancers would be doing a number, and one of the Guest Ents coming on would do a ten minute set as well.  Din, Dan, Done.  Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy.  You get the drift?  The music manager had said that he had a bunch of charts of Christmas Carols and holiday song that we could choose from.   Darian and Myself decided on "Do You Hear What I Hear" and "Let it Snow/Winter Wonderland" as our duets, and Darian would sing "Ave Maria" and I would be doing a number called "Thank You".  Of course, there are no charts per se for these songs, and the bandmaster knew this going into it.  He didn't seem worried if we only had lead sheets.  So off I go to find lead sheets.

Finding lead sheets was fairly easy, thanks to friends on Facebook.  I used a music writing program called Sibelius to mash together Let it Snow and Winter Wonderland.  I managed to give it a dance break for the dancers and a couple of key changes to make it less tedious.  I thought I did a pretty good job.  As for the other two, I found a copy of some charts for the Whitney Houston version of Do You Hear... and so I tried to do a chart for it, but after ten hours of frustration, I gave up and did a simple melody with the chords written in.  "Thank You" was another story.  I got the music, but it was only the melody written out, no chords, no piano accompaniment, no nothing.  Okay.  I can deal.  I found the chords, and started to write out some of what i could get off the recording of the original.  I thought I did a pretty good job, considering there was nothing before.  I now had something that could at least give the band an idea of what the songs should sound like.

Apparently band members and musicians... okay, SOME band members and musicians (I won't lump them all together, because so many friends of mine are musicians)  so, SOME band members apparently need to be fed by hand every single note that they are to play.  I find this hard to believe because our band uses lead sheets that are ONLY chords to do their big band sets and their jazz sets. 

So rehearsal comes.  The band master goes off about how there are no charts for the songs and how he "never in his professional career" has he ever had to do anything like this before.  He starts throwing around the "F" word at least a dozen times in a single sentence.  I finally broke.  I said to him "Be thankful you got any music at all.  What would you have done if I had not given you anything?"  of course, that set him off even more.  He then went on to say he was just depressed and wanted to toss his trumpet in the sea and throw himself to be eaten by the sharks... and of course some more "F" this and "F" that's for good measure.

Did I mention that the rest of the cast and the crew and the cruise director were watching this happen?

I guess I also should mention that I was recording the entire thing as well, on my little digital recorder so i could practice without the band.  Needless to say, I took the entire thing VERY personally.  I know that the charts are not up to par.  I know that.  You don't need to rub it in.  I have never written out parts before.  Did he call me to talk about what could be done?  No.

Did I call him?  No.  So I admit that we are both at fault.  But enough is enough.  We all have a show to do.  We are all a little depressed at this time of year because we are away from our loved ones.  It's not my fault.

Oy.  So then I had to do a show tonight with the band, and act as if everything was cool.  It was actually one of our better shows.  The band master did come up to me after the show and apologize, which I have to give him credit for, but I wanted to say "Really?  Are you F'ing kidding me?"  But I didn't.  I held my tongue and thanked him for his apology and let him know that I accepted it.  Grrrrrrrr.

So I am trying not to go to bed angry.  We are going to be in Wellington tomorrow, which I enjoy.  I will be spending money.  Sorry, Dad.  I have to get some gifts for the cast, and I still have to do some other Christmas shopping as well.  I would like to get the new recording of Les Miserables, which was released on itunes today.

As I said before, this was a rant.  I will get off my soap box now.  I will try to upload some of the pictures I took in Akaroa.  It makes me calm knowing that the world did not end, and that there is still beauty in nature.  Norm, if you read this, please know that is why I have not gotten back to you yet.

Happy Holidays, and as our band master said... Merry F'ing Christmas!

ps...I have tried to upload some pictures and it keeps crashing my computer... that's a whole other story.  Maybe Santa will send me a new computer for Christmas.  An iPad!!

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