Wednesday, July 14, 2010

You Came, You Saw, You Rocked Out

My feet still aren't touching the earth. That's because the Library's Community Preview Party was such a success. Especially the music portion. From Pete Peltier and Paul Gaughan's sweet acoustic renditions of classic rock songs to The School of Rock's amazing energy and talent to The MyDols' super fun, punky set for kids to The Pop Project's great harmonies and witty lyrics to The High Strung's quirky set perfect for a library, the music was great. This is a personal thank you from me to all of the musicians who worked with a library for the first or 200th(!) time.

Let me get some (more) gushing out of the way. Having The Pop Project and The High Strung in my library at my "request" was a dream come true. Maybe that's cheesy, but I don't care. The Pop Project were one of the first local bands I really got into. In fact, I can remember driving home from a show with my best friend, working out the words to "Hearts and Flowers". It was the first time we'd ever heard it. How's that for catchy? As for The High Strung, as soon as I heard the This American Life about these guys playing public libraries all over the state (and later the country), I began dreaming of having them play my library.

Saturday's shindig had been a source of stress for me for at least two months. It's just in my nature to worry. And believe me, as time went on, there was plenty to worry about. Frankly, the only thing I didn't worry about was the music. As the day got closer, people from all directions came together to make our party happen, no matter what, and it was this solidarity that finally calmed (as much as this is possible, I mean, think who we're talking about, here) me down.

The day's music started shortly after a lovely dedication ceremony with Pete Peltier and Paul Gaughan. They played classic rock tunes expertly to a quickly growing, very diverse audience in our Multipurpose Room.

A word about our Multipurpose Room. First, the space is gorgeous. It looks out onto Nine Mile, but everything is so well-insulated that you only hear the loudest of trucks as they pass. Secondly, the design includes a very high ceiling with plexiglass way up high. This seemed (though I think I'll have to consult one of the acoustic design books I bought with The Dance Grant) to channel the sound in the room in all the right directions. The bottom line here is that I am really psyched about bringing musicians of all sorts into this space.

After a short break, The School of Rock house band filed in and began setting up. At first glance, your average library attendee might have been puzzled by the age of the musicians. But after a few minutes, I don't think anyone noticed that the kids playing Zeppelin, The Who and Beck weren't old enough to drive. These kids really ROCK. And with a teacher like Troy Gregory, it's no surprise.

Now the tricky part. Moving the PA from the Multipurpose Room to the Children's Library. Successfully executed. The MyDols engaged and involved the kids and parents in the kids area. I had people of all ages tell me how much they enjoyed the set.

The programmed lull here had me worried a bit. See, when the party was a Grand Opening, this is where the library would have been closed for services. But since things had changed, we'd decided to keep the whole place open the whole time. Dinner time can be a bit dodgy for shows, so the worry-o-meter was running a bit high. Soon, though, as a whole new crowd began to come in, I relaxed, and finally took off my debilitating shoes, and enjoyed the music and the company of friends, colleagues, and fellow library supporters.

The Pop Project played a fantastic set filled with their classics and a bunch of new songs that I wish I had a good enough memory (or have had the sense to record the show) to remember them all. I can vaguely describe a mostly acoustic song built around a sound. I mean, I guess I just did. It was all harmony and beauty and everything I love about this band. An older woman, who apparently remembers the 60s and 70s said to me as she left with her grandchild, "They're great! Reminds me of listening to Hendrix and the Beatles". I mean. That's pretty great, right? Kids really liked dancing to The Pop Project and their parents thought this band was awesome.

The High Strung are library veterans. They've played some 200 library shows. They really know how to play a diverse audience. Everyone around me enjoyed their crazy, fun, quirky set. My dad and oldest brother included. I only wish we had dispensed with the chairs and encouraged more dancing. Because I think some groovin' would have broken out. Lesson learned. Less chairs.

So I'm recharged. I can't wait to plan a SCHEDULE of bands at the NEW Ferndale Public Library. Hit me up with emails at and let me know if you're interested.
Here's some poorly executed photographs:

The Pop Project

The High Strung

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