Woo-wee! I am still reeling a bit from all the fun I had at one of my biggest Swing or Nothing! gigs to date: Bay Splash Blues!
Bay Splash Blues was a fund raising event and party to benefit Bay High School in the Presidio. The party had a blues and boogie-woogie theme, and included dinner, live music, dancing, a silent auction and a live auction hosted by news anchor Jan Yanahiro. Wow, you wouldn’t believe how much money they raised!
Alison Matoon, the co-chair of the event, contacted me about the gig back in January. She and her husband had taken a single private dance lesson with me about a year ago, completely on a whim, and so she had me in mind to help provide live music and dance entertainment for the event.
Hearing the Blues & Boogie Woogie theme, I knew that one of my favorite bands — the Jelly Roll Souls — would be perfect for the gig. Alison and her co-chair soon agreed after coming to hear the band play one week at Cat’s Corner. I also recommended that we have 3 couples worth of “atmosphere” dancers to social dance and help set the mood.
It was great to step into Herbst International Exhibition Hall on the evening of the performance and and see the stage, lighting and elegant dinner tables being set up. My right-hand-man and all-round awesome sound guy, Gary Hobish, was already there making sure that the band’s tech requirements were met. With that going on, I was free to worry about the status of my dancers. Once they had trickled in, we went over the schedule for the evening and our role in the show.
We all enjoyed a quick dinner service back stage and then changed into our costumes. I think we all looked sharp and sexy in our semi-formal black & solid color costumes…but you can see for yourself.
The idea was for the guys to wear black suits with solid colored shirts and for the ladies to wear black skirts with colored tops to match the guys. Our couples were:
Dave & Shirley (the RED couple)
Mara & Riccardo (the BLUE couple)
Me (Nathan) & Yon (the Orange Couple)
The Jelly Roll Souls have always had a knock-out and dance-irresistible sound, and this night was no exception. There was a small wooden dance floor set up in front of the band stand, with two round tables and chairs in the corners of the floor. Awash in red & blue lighting, the idea was to recreate a smoky blues club atmosphere.
I had so much fun dancing! I pretty much forgot that I was “working” a gig…and that is a great feeling. I mean, I think there is a certain enjoyment that one gets at the end of the performance, to have completed a major goal or task you’ve worked toward…but then there is also another whole different feeling to actually be enjoying the gig in the moment, to be able to sort of step back within your own mind, and see yourself smiling so big and glowing so heartfelt, because you’re truly and unequivocally enjoying what you’re doing. That’s what it was like on Saturday.
I think the energy of the band and dancers reverberated throughout the auditorium. Were every gig like this one, I would surely be a happy man.
Cheers and HUGE THANKS to all who made this gig possible!