After a “sedate” but late Saturday evening, Sunday morning saw the Gathering crowd back in the main hall for 2 hours of open mic (I shared what photos I have from that on the earlier Open Mic blog). During the second hour, many of the group split off to find separate classrooms for the 3 workshops this year, led by features Dave Powell, Pete Bradshaw and Muriel Anderson (sorry, no pics). The students were apparently having too much fun; it was like herding cats to get everyone back for our final presentation of the weekend: the New Arrangement presentation.
Two years ago, we did this as an on-the-spot arranging challenge. This year, we gave the four victims, er, participants, five months to prepare. The tune was known only to the four and myself. Inspired after my then-recent trip to Paris, I had chosen the song “Sous Le Ciel De Paris” (Under the Skies of Paris). It’s a beautiful tune that not all the participants had heard. You can hear one of my favorite versions here. The audience heard this same version, then we quizzed the panel on their reaction to the tune. Finally, each played what they had come up with!
The “contestants” (who, sadly, won nothing), in order of appearance:
Stephen Bennett, whose arrangement was as beautiful and CD-worthy as expected.
Quebecois Claude Laflamme pretended to hate my choice of the French classic, but then turned it into a spectacular Brazilian-flavored variation. He said he plans to put it on his next CD, so I won’t spoil the end tag gag surprise that had us all on the floor. Brilliant!
Muriel Anderson claimed she had zero time to tackle it, and just figured it out that weekend. One never knows, with her talent. But since she sang the whole song (in French), she obviously found some time! (word was that she sang it for 7-hours on her last drive).
Andy Wahlberg, who played it 3 or 4 completely different ways, in tribute to guest artist Andy McKee, SB, and I forget who else.
Each described the different approaches to their individual arrangements…and a great time was had by all!