18.3.17 Kirkwood Hospice’s 30th Birthday

My Dad came with me to The Venue in Halifax to be my sound engineer for the evening which is always good fun, for one reason or another.  He put me on this career path and played ‘Manager’ when I was in my teens.  I would rely completely upon him to remember everything that we needed…how times have changed.

Conversation over text message:

Dad: We’ll go in my car
Me: Ok, do you want to pick me up seeing as we’re going in your car?
Dad: Can do, what needs packing from here?
Me: Mixing desk and big green bag, speaker stands, speakers.  I might not need to use the speakers.  Kate said there’s a PA system there.  Best to be safe though.

It wasn’t long before he arrived at my house where we packed up the remainder of what was needed, and off we went…

The Journey

7pm was the time that I needed to be set up for, ready for the guests arriving for tonights event, but I feel so much more relaxed when I have set up and sound checked in the day, so I planned to be there for about 3pm.  I thank my lucky starts that I love to be super early for events, well I thanked them today anyway!

Dad and I went car shopping in the morning to the Audi garage, (he has his eye on the A8…although the Q7 surprisingly caught his eye) and then went to Torr’s in Doncaster for some lunch before we hit the road to head for Halifax.  I love Torr’s, I used to go there with my Mum and eat…well, usually cake *grins*.  It was about 2pm when we were on the way to The Venue straight up the A1.  We were just about at the turning for the M62 when Dad looked at me and said “We didn’t need the green bag did we?”…this was posed as a rhetorical question for some reason.  I paused, looked at him and replied with “Dad, the green bag was on the list I texted you this morning when you asked what needed packing from your house.  Tell me you’re joking!” Nope, he wasn’t joking! He hadn’t put in the speakers or speaker stands either *head in hands*.  So we had to drive all the way back home.

Lesson learned: ALWAYS check the car for what has been packed…or pack it yourself!

Thank god we still had 5 hours before guests began to arrive *wipes brow*.  And that is one very good reason why I like to set up in the day time for corporate events haha.

(I am going to be in so much trouble when my Dad reads this- sorry Dad)

The Arrival

2 years have passed since I last performed at The Venue and wow what a renovation.  It has completely changed! The room is so bright, open and I would say it had a bit of a rustic look and feel to it.

When I arrived the band were sound checking on stage…amazing musicians.  Their sound was incredible, especially to say there were only 3 of them (bass, drums, guitar/vocalist), and Simon (solo singer) arrived shortly after me. Being a drummer and pianist, if ever my Dad see’s either of those instruments he can’t help himself.
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With there being three lots of us performing, it seems sensible to all go through the PA at the venue rather than each set up our own systems (that could have looked messy).  So I hooked up my mixing desk through the venue’s system and did a quick sound check.  That also meant that we didn’t need to cart speakers up a few flights of stairs or get in a scary looking lift *grits teeth* (note: it’s only scary to people who don’t do lifts).

Getting Glam
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I headed to the ladies to get ready (I’m not precious, and I’m certainly not a diva..on stage diva-ness doesn’t count haha) and there was Kate Leadbeater, the organiser, getting ready too.  We had a good girly chin wag whilst we were getting ready.  We shared about our personal lives, talked about weddings and work stuff too…we really put the world to rights haha.  I was offered a room to get ready in but sometimes it’s just easier to get ready in the toilets, and I’m not fussed.  See? My job is super glamorous haha *head in hands*

The Wait
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The trays of champagne circling me with legs of their own were wisely avoided (1. because I was driving…and 2. because drinking champagne, wearing heels, and playing violin on stage don’t mix very well, especially when one isn’t much of a drinker – yes I learnt that lesson in my much younger days).

Dad, Simon, the compere and I all sat on the big brown leather chesterfield suites chatting until the guests were due to arrive.  That was Simons cue to begin singing.  He had a great voice, and was funny too whilst getting really involved with the guests as he was singing, which I though was brilliant.  Hopefully Simon and I will be working together in the future, we had a great chat…you’ll have to wait and see what we’ll be doing though.  It turns out that he’s an english teacher at York St Johns University, sings for weddings/events and he owns another business too called Headshot, to something completely unrelated…cars!  Oh and he knows my Auntie and Cousin haha small world.

The Performance
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I took to the stage for my 40 minute performance (although I usually go over a little bit).  It was a but of a strain to hear the backing but I was just about managing.  One of the guests who was sat right in front of one of the speaker towers asked the DJ if the volume could go down as he was “trying to have a conversation”, so the volume went down and that was it, I couldn’t hear anything from the stage, to such a degree that I played the chorus of that song about 5 times until it ended.  There was no other option that to step off the stage and walk into the middle of the tables and play around them (carefully, as there were waiting staff).  That was a little better for me, and I think it was actually more effective for the guests.

The problem for me was the way that the speakers were set up.  There were no fold back speakers (which is a speaker facing the musician) and then two towers of speakers heading in one direction towards the audience.  So the sound wasn’t spread across the room…it was very loud in in front of the speakers and really quiet everywhere else.  I think that all contributed to there been no clarity in the backing.  It looked a bit like this…are you ready for my drawing?…
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Never the less, I smashed my performance.  Everybody clapped after every song and even though the guests were eating, many of them were turned around on their seats watching me which always feels really nice.

                                                                           The Meal

Now here’s a photo I wished I’d have taken.  The meal looked divine and according to my Dad, both dinners were delicious haha.  Kate kindly offered for both of us to have dinner, and of course my Dad snatched her hand off but sometimes I struggle to eat straight after a performance because I’m at a thousand feet from the adrenaline boost haha.  Two dinners arrived on our table and Dad immediately started tucking it.  It was beef but was more like fillet steak, it looked juicy mmmm.  It came with roast potatoes and long stem broccoli.  I turned around for a second and Dad was tucking into my dinner too *hands over face* haha.  It was lucky though, I forgot to mention that I’m allergic to black pepper, and the meal was seasoned with a decent amount of the stuff (almost a rather large whoops moment).  I never thought I’d be pleased about my Dad eating my dinner haha.

Once the dinners were polished off, I said my goodbyes to everyone and we set off home.

I had a great night.  I’m looking forward to finding out how much Kirkwood Hospice raised.

Much love xx

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