Saturday, March 04, 2006

High School Talent Show

Last weekend was the "infamous" high school talent show(TS).

Our family has been involved with the TS since 1995. (Gosh, that seems like a long time ago when you actually write '95).

Tommy and his buddy Andy went to the show as sophmores that first year and just watched the "talent". They both had a great time as audience members and decided they should try their luck the next year. That was when we all became involved. Tommy and Andy picked their song, practiced, and attended rehearsals.

There were lots of nerves about that first TS performance for a couple of reasons:
Reason 1: The song selection. They had chosen the country ballad by Keith Whitley-"Don't Close your Eyes". ( Country had never been done at the TS before.)
Reason 2: It was their first time singing as a duet in front of a lot of people. (Even though it is only a high school talent show, this was and still is a BIG event at the school. It is usually a packed house of over a 1000 people all having paid $10 to get in!)
Reason 3: Most of the talent used recorded background music with the usual bands/accompanying singers. Tommy and Andy were going to play their acoustic guitars.
Reason 4: Tommy had fallen off the back of his broken down truck the day of the performance, and dislocated his shoulder. He was is a bit of pain holding his guitar.
Reason 5: Mom and Dad were just plain nervous... Dad because he wanted to make sure all the technical stuff worked and Mom because she is MOM.

Well, there was a slight glitch on stage when the stage crew couldn't get the microphones for the guitars to work for a few minutes. There sat Tommy and Andy, with their cowboy hats and guitars, waiting to start. Tommy couldn't stand the silence and started talking to the audience. He ad libbed for a few minutes (I know those of you that know Tommy can imagine this!)
In the end, all worked out great. The audience was stone silent while they performed and errupted in applause when they were done.
They ended up the TS winners and from then on, the TS was a big deal at our house.

Dad became the stage manager...he couldn't stand the technical parts not working and wanted to reduced the delay time between the acts. He even recruited Uncle Gary to come up every year and help with the show. Uncle Gary really enjoyed the show and commented that the high school in his home town had tried to do a talent show but they didn't have enough attendance...or maybe even enough talent! Over the years, I understand that there was an entertaining side show going on in the head sets between the family stage crew...Gary's comments being the source of many laughs.

Each year it was always a big deal to get a band ready to perform and to decide what song to sing. That next year saw Tommy and Andy recruiting Jeffrey to be in their band playing the bass. They were not that excited at first to use Jeffrey in their high school band but by default and circumstances, Jeffrey became their bass player. Talk about mother nerves that year....I was worried that "Little Jeffrey" ( in the sixth grade at the time) would get nervous and his older brother would never let him hear the end of it if a mistake was made. Actually, I think Jeffrey was pretty nervous about that too, but he came through like a champ! Again, a country song was played and again, they won in the band category!

Because the boys had won two years in a row, the director of the TS asked if they wanted to come back to compete in the "professional" group of the TS that next year. I think the director always enjoyed the boys singing but I think she really didn't want to lose the stage crew of Dad and Uncle Gary!

Tommy, Andy, and Jeffrey asked Uncle Gary (Uncle Santa Claus that year due to his gray beard!) to play the drums for their band. They really rocked the house that night with their BareNaked Ladies's(BNL) song "Brian Wilson." I was a very proud mom that night...they again won in the "professional" category.

When Jeffrey got into high school, he got a band together every year for the TS.
His first band "Silent Groove" played another BNL song,"Hello City" ....and they won too. It was a first for a band to use a stand up bass in the TS. Here's a mother's line coming up: Jeffrey was pretty awesome on that bass and even twirled it during the song. Tommy even thought it was pretty good that Jeff could actually sing and play the bass at the same time... (he informs me that this is pretty hard to do).

Every year the pressure was a little bit more because they were so successful and it became a big deal to not only perform but to win.
When Jeffrey was a junior and senior, his band was made up of his best buddies, (commonly known as the 4 amigos). They definitely had a wide range of musical likes and dislikes... the hardest part was usually deciding what to play! One member stated he would quit before he played Hootie and the Blow Fish! Their band was called "JBC Platter." It was a mystery what that stood for for the longest time... It finally was revealed that the JBC stood for "junior bacon cheeseburger platter"....they all had more than a few JBC meals at Wendy's during their high school years! I think they gave one of the best band performances in any TS their junior year when they played "All for You."
Other memorable performances were when Tommy and Jeffrey played with their high school spanish teacher, Senora Byers. They had been asked to perform while the judges were deliberating who the winners of the talent show should be. The trio came up with the name, "Inspected by 16". This name was decided on when they couldn't think of any other names for their group. Just as they were about to give up on the naming process...Senora Byers pulled a tag out of her pants pocket and it said "Inspected by 16" and thus a new name was agreed on!

This year Jeffrey and his friend Laura, played while the judges were deliberating. They had a good time and I think that this may be our last year with the TS....I have said this every year and am always proved wrong but I think maybe this year really was the last.

Tom as stage manager, Tommy as sound manager, Jeffrey as senior stage crew and Tina & Becky as official talent show audience members are probably retired now! Michal supported the group when his brothers were competing, but he really has stayed pretty clear of the most recent talent shows. We haven't known any of the kids in the talent shows for many years. This year was one of the first years I really noticed how some things never change. The class lip sync competitions are playing the same songs that the boys classes used when they were in high school...Tommy's class played "You gotta fight for your right to party" in their lip sync and not one but 2 classes used that song this year!

I still find it fun to watch... I especially love watching my boys play music!

I always call them my wasted talent in the basement boys...the talent show at least gets them out to play before an audience! I will miss the fun times we had at the TS but will always have fond memories.


neva said...

Wow, you forget how involved high school years are for parents and to continue it long after they are gone is a committment to a way of life. Maybe it will be your last TS but if it's what? It is someplace to go and see how what goes around, comes around.

Mamaw said...

Those "kids" have a lot of talent and I would not call it wasted. After all they've entertained family (I'm with you Tina, that I love to hear them play),and a lot of others over the years, and they love doing it! I'm glad Michal joind in too.

Grumpy Ump said...

Kick on 11, direct on 9,vocal on 5, bass on 3, wireless on 3 and 4, piano on 11, Pull Curtain..

Dad, are u there?
Where did Dad go?

Im' here.. guitar on 7 fell down..

The cord is wrapped around the piano mic-stand.. he won't be able to move.

Oh well that is how it goes..

One female senior Lipsync to stage Boss... "My space is all messed up"

Stage Boss "And your point?"

Tom said...

It was probably that initial sound mixup in 1995 that made me interested in running sound, since I knew if it was me doing it, it would've been a lot better. I had no idea it would come down to us running production in that show for 6+ years. As stressful as it got at times for me(CD player not working, sound system interface showing signs of failure, etc), I'm going to miss involvement in it, and it'll be sad to see it go. I'm pretty sure that if Watkins isn't organizing it, it won't be happening again. I'm glad we got to participate for so long, but I'm kind of sad others in the high school won't get their shot to show their awful as it sometimes was.

And for clarity, we didn't do the Brian Wilson performance with Gary until 2000. Makes sense, it wasn't until Jeff was in high school. There was a drought of 1 or 2 years there where an Owens was NOT in the Osbourn High School Talent Show...1997 and 1998 I think(unless Jeff did something in 1998). For some reason I seem to think there was only 1 year where we weren't involved since 1995, but I may be wrong...

Jeff said...

Just to clarify...
Point 1.) The 4 amigos were Stinton, Pat, Steve, and Myself.... Bryce and Chuck were good friends but not amigos.
Point 2.) I'm pretty sure there was only 1 year from 1995 that we weren't involved. it was Mike's senior year. cause in 1998 we helped but no one performed.
Point 3.) Tom and Andy were having technical issues with the bass player's equipment (Greg Watkins).
Point 4.) I think Byers found the "Inspected by 16" tag on the floor of the basement.

MotherOf3Guys said...

Dear Jeff,
Sorry your mother seems to change facts in her blog. Give me some writer's leeway here....I think I was working on a bit of lack of sleep when I wrote that due to some late night music practicing. (That sounded pretty good for an excuse didn't it?)

Anonymous said...

we totally rocked. I think I have evened out all those JBC's by not having eaten one in about 2 and a half years now!

Sadly, I've been unable to assist Tom in recent years with talent shows, but it was always fun times on the intercom system. Except for the fact that we always stuck poor Pat in the lighting booth with the lighting people... freaks.