Well first and foremost, what an absolutely superb night of strict tempo dancing for the Richardson's big band ball. However, what a trek and a half getting back from there with all that snow.
A repeat booking from Sue and Gary Richardson for their school of dance annual ball at Spennymoor Town Hall, County Durham.
We trekked up in the afternoon with a car heavily laden with 3 bods and a shed load of gear. All good so far and early enough arrival to get everything set up in place. The Kalamazoo Dance Band was once again in pride of place looking superb and ready for the guests.
There were about 100 guests which was probably a few less than they expected but the weather outlook was a bit grim and I think a few folks had better ideas - ie stay in and keep warm.
However, the show must go on and so at 8pm we hit our first note of a programme that was set perfectly in place by Gary featuring cha cha, tango, rhumba, ballroom, all sorts of sequence and some jolly old swing numbers.
The dancers were superb with many of them congratulating us on our recent involvement with The Phantom Thread film (while we were in Kal's Kats set up)
We played a few new ones including Papa loves mambo and Cuban Pete - which we had rehearsed but never played in public until now, and they went down extremely well.
Then we took a break and went outside to check the weather and it looked like we had stepped out of our tent on base camp 1 on the Himalayas with wind blowing down the street and snow blizzards blustering around all over the place - not good. That compounded by the fact that the road was solid sheet of ice, so cars were just sliding if not driving carefully.
Back to set 2 for the rest of the evening and not a single moan or flap from any of the guys - just pure professionalism to the end.
one of the funny moments that tested the band's ability was when Gary asked us to play Mack the Knife and I wanna be like you at 220bpm so they could dance a midnight jive - blimey, that was shifting at a pace:-)
So, all in all, a great night of strict tempo dancing all led by Brian Luke on the drums doing a fantastic job with tempos exactly in line as per Gary's request - Well done Brian, what a great guy and excellent drummer.
And so....... the drive home. Blimey what a challenge, we were 183 miles from home and had to brave some serious weather, the A1 was literally white and powdery to drive on. As long as we stayed steady and continued in a straight line, then all was good except for the fact that apart from a few sections of the road that weren't affected by snow where we could get up to 70, we were otherwise trundling along at 40mph. However, better to be safe than sorry. it seemed like a scene out of the Glenn Miller story where Glenn and the gang were heading to a gig and got snowed up and end up drifting in to the room one at a time and picking up the song as they got on stage - this time it was Kal and the musos of The Kalamazoo Dance Band heading home having played an excellent gig.
The upside is that we have been re booked again for next year and hopefully it will once again be a smooth early spring evening similar to last year. Hats off to you gang - what a great team!! Here is a link to the dancing that took place. https://youtu.be/gakRZAeEg6c