We (Acappella Classic) had a reunion concert in Amarillo last week. It was a wonderful time, and more events like this are planned. Most people probably don’t realize that these concerts are much more fun for us than for the crowd. Or, at least, that’s what we think.
When we get together, old stories and habits start popping up quickly. Most of the habits and antics would be senseless to you, as they are the product of so many years together on the road. Many of them are just plain stupid, but they made us laugh.
But the stories… there are countless stories to remember and share. For instance, one former member (who shall remain nameless in this entry) shared his approach for the ride home with the people who would be hosting us.
Some explanation is probably required. For the first few years of Acappella’s existence, we stayed almost exclusively in homes, usually members of the church where we sang. This continued from the beginning (1984) until somewhere around 1992. At that point we slowly started adding in hotels, until it became nothing but hotels a few years later.
Staying in homes was usually a great experience and I firmly believe that is one of the reasons we enjoyed such success early on. Some of those hosts have become lifelong friends. Still, it was tough in ways you wouldn’t expect unless you’ve experienced it. Every host home fed us like it was our last meal. I would wager I gained 200 pounds and lost 170 over my time with the group, due in large part to the fabulous food our host families offered us. Along with this, every host would want to talk to us until late into the evening, long after the concert was done and most sane people were long since sleeping. Between the lack of sleep and the food, we had to make some changes which is why the hotels started coming into play more often.
But I digress. Let me share about the “ride home.” This would vary somewhat, depending on whether or not the host knew who we were (oh yes, there were a good number who thought we were college kids or who didn’t come to the concert and had no clue). In general, the person who sat in the front seat took the brunt of all the questions. We would take turns being in the front – the seat of questioning. The guys in the back would relax and snicker at the Inquisition happening up front.
What amazed us was that you could always expect the same questions from town to town. Even more, when asked about their own city, the answers we’re always the same. Always. Our nameless member became very good at turning the tables.
There are three things that invariably came up in our conversations. This singer would intentionally take the front seat (what a selfless guy) and “innocently” go on the offensive.
Question 1: “I hear your city is growing pretty quickly.” This was a great lead off. The answer was almost always in the positive. The city is growing like crazy. Why, just last month they opened a new subdivision south of town. That new Walmart is always full, etc. etc. This was good for at least 5 minutes.
When the conversation started to taper off, he would follow up with Question 2: “Someone said your economy was hurting?” This was always good for 10 minutes of listening. The economy has slowed down terribly. Jobs are scarce. Prices are high, etc, etc. I could never figure out how the city was growing so fast with such a bad economy… but no matter.
I bet you know the answer to Question 3: “ What’s the weather like around here?” Does this sound familiar? Oh, it’s nice most of the time, but if you don’t like it, wait 10 minutes and it’ll change. We have the craziest weather. You can never trust what those weathermen say. Why, just last week we had a hailstorm followed by snow, etc, etc.
These three questions would generally get us home with the host carrying most of the conversation. Now, of course, I never did this. I am merely sharing the technique of one nameless member of the group. I would never do this.
Um… if there are any of my former hosts out there reading this, I certainly hope this doesn’t sound too familiar. If so, I apologize. <grin>