If The Big-Girl Panties Fit…

It’s concert time again.

A quick retrospective:

2011, Chicken Biscuit: “Which end of the mic do I sing into?”

2012, Gretchen Wing & Chicken Biscuit: “Oh, I get to sing a couple of my songs too? OK…but YOU introduce ’em, I don’t want to talk.”

2013, Gretchen Wing & Chicken Biscuit: “What do you mean, Bill’s going out of town? Who’s going to be emcee? I don’t know any jokes! Oh, s–t…”

2014, Gretchen Wing & Friends: “OK, everyone. At tonight’s rehearsal, I’d like the musicians to be there at 6 so they can get all their stuff ready. Singers, come whenever you need to in order to be ready to start right at 6:30…”

Ah, if only it were that simple. Yes, my “career” as local singer-songwriter-performer has evolved to the point where I think of this weekend’s show as “my” concert. Yes, I am in charge of the set list and the rehearsal schedule. Yes, my face is the only one on the poster.


But oh my, do I have a long way to go before I can be said to be “putting on” a concert! Here’s my To Do list for 2015…just in case I do this again:

1. Start rehearsals in June instead of August.

2. On second thought, start rehearsals in July, but schedule the darn concert for November when there aren’t gazillion other things going on around here.

3. Find the “sound man” with the best reputation in the community, and secure his services several months in advance. Bribe him with pie.

4. Provide binders for all musicians so they can keep track of their music and notes.

5. Fill the freezer with treats for rehearsals, so I can grab ’em and go. (No, I will never let go of my need to feed people.)

I have other resolutions, but I won’t bore you with them. This is just my way of saying: Yes. OK. I get it. If you’re new at something, you can enjoy being helpless and having everyone do stuff for you…once. Once you get halfway good at something and want to run it yourself, be ready to RUN it. No whining.

(Courtesy someecards.com)

(Courtesy someecards.com)

Don’t get me wrong–I am totally looking forward to, and totally humbled by, this chance to share my music with my community. I will be one happy woman on concert night. But for now–I gotta go bake cookies. And I still need to find another joke. And does anyone have any extra binders?

I would love to hear your stories of transition from bystander to administrator of…anything. What lessons did YOU learn? Anything I can steal?

Playing That Funky Music Is Harder Than It Looks

“Uh-huh, uh-huh, I LIKE it, uh-huh, uh-huh, THAT’s the way…”

Except now that I KNOW that’s the way, I like it a little less. Uh-huh. 

A couple of years ago, my guitar teacher, Bill, who’s really a frustrated jazz/blues star masquerading as a guy who works in a lumber yard, heard a friend say this about a piece of siding: “That’s got a super wide groove.” He decided that was WAY too good a name to pass up. So he bought the domain name, created a website, designed a poster, and started a band. In that order. And Super Wide Groove was born.

They played a 60s/70s funk/soul dance party a couple of years ago at our community center. Huge hit. Last year they did it even bigger and better, inviting a whole scad of singers and musicians to join in. Including me. I got to belt out “Heat Wave” and croon “Ooh Baby Baby” wearing a little black dress. Fun! But all those rehearsals? All that fiddling with equipment? It took HOURS.

But the result? Here’s what I’m talking about. No, that’s not me in that wig, it’s diva Lia Geever, the daughter of SWG’s ace keyboardist, Beth.

So when Bill decided to make Super Wide Groove super tight, with a dedicated core of singers and musicians, I passed on the offer. Two songs? Sure. But I didn’t want to make the band my musical focus. I like funk, but I don’t love it enough to give up two nights a week for NEARLY SIX MONTHS.

I know, right? Turns out playing that funky music is HARD WORK. 

The band is getting ready for its biggest performance ever this weekend. I’m still doing my two songs, along with a couple of other “guest musicians.” The rest of the band? They should be EXHAUSTED…I sure would be! But every time I breeze into my little bitty piece of rehearsal, they are more pumped than the time before. I am filled with admiration.

You know when people tell you to follow your bliss? It’s a beautiful thing to see. 

This weekend, I’ll be belting and crooning again, but mostly I will be grooving in complete awe and joy for my friends who are willing to work so hard for music’s sake. We will all “Get Down Tonight,” but no matter how much Funk everyone Gets, they’ll have nothin’ on those Groovers.

OK…here’s me. I’m not proud. 🙂



When was the last time you laid it all on the line for something artistic? Writing? Music? Paint? Did you have to force yourself to work hard, or did the discipline just arise? Either way: kudos. And…keep it up!