Sunday, January 9, 2011

Serangoon Swing..part 4, Minstrels Getting Ready!

How was the weather that afternoon?
Well as had happened the previous few days..the sky was ominous with swirling black clouds laden with water. It started to pour at about 1.30 pm. By about 4 pm the weather gods were kind and allowed the sun to shine through. So, the organisers must have heaved sighs of heavy relief! In fact, it was almost perfect weather after that heavy downpour. Everyone put away their umbrellas and brought out their big smiles.
The whole area was very carefully marked out and separated by metal swing barriers manned by SWING volunteers in their official yellow T-shirt and augmented by police, AETOs and other security personnel. Two channels were for the general public and the other for all approved persons leading to the main performing stage and VIP stand.
Security was very tight.
All performers and entertainers had to go through a bag and full body scan after which they were kept in a holding area before their stage appearance.
No one complained knowing that these measures are now part and parcel of our life since 9/11 and in the light of the new age of terrorism.

[The 4 musicians: Me, Richard Chee, Chong H B, Edmond Tan ]
My minstrels and I were asked if we wanted to have a "final" open rehearsal on the main stage. Apparently some other performing groups took up the offer and actually went through their routines despite knowing that the crowds were already present.
However, I declined the offer to rehearse but asked for a few minutes to prepare and install our equipment/music instrument set up on stage.

Matthew and the Mandarins were also on the stage doing a pre-performance check on their set up. We waited until they had completed before doing so ourselves.

My Minstrels and I had a total of 3 ukuleles and a guitar. Only my Concert Ukulele had a plug in line to the amplifier system. Edmond was using a guitar with no plug in line. The other 2 ukuleles are similar.

Here I was doing the attachment and testing out the amplified sounds. It did not sound ok to my practised ear. No, not the ukulele...nothing wrong with that but more the sound system. I asked one of the technicians to come over and explained to him and he replied it'll be ok they have not gone full volume yet. I was taken aback by such a reply. It's either you are ready or you are not as far as I was concerned since the actual performance was imminent. That 'sound' chap simply told me to leave the plug in line there and he would do the rest later.
As a matter of fact, when we actually began performing our 1st ukulele was attached but the converting control box was not "turned on"! So much for their competence! More of that later....

After preparing our set up on stage, we went to the Food Centre to relax. We had about over an hour to have our dinner at Pow Sing chicken rice restaurant with coupons provided. The service was fast, good and food was as usual excellent.
The 1st major group to entertain the early crowd of people was Matthew and his Mandarins. They are a definite crowd-puller with their ever popular country beat and twangs.
Matthew as always is lovely for the ears of country music folks.

[ Matthew and the Mandarins ]

[ Dick Yip and the Garden Minstrels ]

The crowded scene just before we went on stage.

These barriers prevented the crowd from getting to close to the stage.

The crowds waiting for us to make our appearance.

We were up on stage and being introduced by the 2 emcees.


Thimbuktu said...

Congrats Unk Dicko. The Serangoon Swing 2011 was a great rock party with everybody young and old. The "Unk Dicko and the Minstrels" with your ukulele and the professional bands, musicians, dancers and stage performance was wonderful. Memorable Happy New Year 2011 for the happiness and joy of everyone. Keep up the blogging, ukelele and the Minstrels for our enjoyment. Cheers!

unk Dicko said...

Thanks James for your warm encouragement!
The love of Music translated by action to singing, playing and performing/entertaining..will add life to years and hopefully years to life too.
If you know of any senior who has a good voice and dying to him or her to me.

Thimbuktu said...

"The love of Music translated by action to singing, playing and performing/entertaining..will add life to years and hopefully years to life too".

Love that, Unk Dicko.

Sure will sound out my transform them "from the bathroom singers to the rock concert stars" with the help and training of Uncle Yip and the Minstrels. Cheers!