I had the opportunity to put together an Irish band for St. Patty’s Day at, of all places, the Sands Casino in Bethlehem at the St. James’ Gate Pub. We were booked for a 12 noon til 4 pm session, so we did 4 sets of music.
I leaned on my friends of Piper’s Request: Terry Hartzell, Rick Weaver and Fred Gilmartin, the main cogs in Godfrey’s Irish Seisiun, a monthly Celtic jam. They have lots of good medleys of tunes and songs to which I added my repertoire. It was a good match. Terry plays uillean pipes, whistles, Rick plays guitar and octave mandolin and Fred plays tenor, guitar and mandolin. I added mando and guitar so we had a nice, fat sound.
We had a couple of practices to field some of the material and it worked out well. I’m not familiar with lots of the tunes but have a good ear to pick up the changes on the fly (thank god they repeat…) so I was able to negotiate the medleys on chunka chunka mandolin.
The Sands’ sound man Ed didn’t want a big set up, thinking that no one would be there, but we insisted on vocal AND instrument mikes. It was a good thing because the place filled up with folks, even on a Monday afternoon. The time went quickly, especially for a four hour gig, and we sounded good.
Done at 4 pm. Fat check in the mail.