[Dixielandjazz] Strange Gigs
Mon, 12 Aug 2002 11:09:25 -0400
Did a spring "blessing of the boats" ceremony several years ago in
harbor of Tom's River on the New Jersey shore. Boats all parade in
around harbor as they are blessed by local reverends.
Full band to play on stern of 55 foot cabin cruiser, and go up and down
the line. Tuba player is late and so we board the boat without him and
head out. Then spot tuba player on shore. Boat captain radios a buddy on
dock and says bring tuba player out on outboard motor equipped 8 foot
pram. (Tuba player is fairly heavy).
He boards front of pram and stands up and starts to play "By The Sea, By
the Sea, By The Beautiful Sea." Pram driver revs up outboard in the
initial power surge puts the bow under. Tuba player slowly loses his
balance and gracefully pirouettes (like a dancing elephant in Disney's
Fantasia) into the water with tuba.
Luckily, the water was only about 4 feet deep there so both muso and
tuba are saved. He finally gets a more stable ride out to us. Rests the
tuba upside down to get salt water out, flushes tuba with fresh water
aboard the cabin cruiser and borrows oil from the trombone and trumpet
players, for valves.
We spent several hours on the stern of that 55 footer celebrating tuba
player's good fortune with a free flowing supply of liquid refreshments,
laughing and serenading the other boats. With a complete rendition of
"By The Sea" plus "Coney Island Washboard Blues", "Avalon", "On The Way
To Cape May", "Up The Lazy River", "Float Me Down That Old Green River",
"Over The Waves", and other water songs, along with the usual Dixieland
Steve (The Show Must Go On) Barbone