Monday, July 15, 2013

One More for the Books!

My husband is president of the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society. Each year we have a convention in Nashville. We just got home from there last night after another successful 4 day show!
We're not stressed or anything but the guys were doing some practicing and I guess some neck rubs were necessary as I was doing the work getting all the last minute registration paperwork done!
 Our show involves over 70 performers and groups. The music is on several stages and spills out into the hallways. I normally am at the reg desk the whole time talking to people but there was one show I didn't want to miss. It was the Hot Club  of Nashville which featured Richard Smith, Pat Bergeson and his wife Annie plus a couple of other guys. The music was awesome. Nice jazz tunes for about 45 minutes was a great break for me!
 Then back to the reg desk and my crew that helps me each year. Couldn't do it without them. They come from as far as Canada, Texas and Florida to help me man the desk for the 4 days. Notice the guy on the right hiding behind his wife? That's Harry. He may try to hide but he's a huge part of our convention. He's kind of my bouncer. He's normally sitting on the side behind the table and watching for nametags. We sometimes have people that try to slip in. That's a huge no no. We need their reg fees. So he guides people back to our desk to become legal!
 The grand finale is Saturday evening. That's the only time I actually sit down for a whole show. Mark started it off being accompanied by Jim and John Nichols who are good teachers and wonderful performers.
 Last year we started this and we're continuing this year...Scottie Moore gave us the guitar that he used while he toured with Elvis. He toured with this guitar all over the world. It's been lost, stolen, misplaced but always came back to him. He wanted it played, not in a museum. So we brought it along and asked an upcoming young guitar player to perform a tune at the beginning of the evening on that guitar. When Tanner came into the room before we began and saw that the room had been expanded to seat 1000, I think he took a huge gulp of air. It's his first year at CAAS and he didn't quite know how it all went yet. However, he did a good job playing and we hope that it will inspire him to continue and see what else he learns before next year!
 Alot of music comes from Muhlenberg Co in Kentucky. We usually have a huge contingent of players from there. A bunch of them came up to play a song in tribute to Merle Travis who passed away 30 years ago. There were a couple of pretty young guys in the group.
 Chet's sister Billie Rose was able to come up and participate in a trio with her granddaughter Meagan on the right and Morning Nichols on the left. The song they sang had been written by Billie Rose. It was awesome. Good harmony.
 Nokie Edwards played with the Ventures back in the day. He still tours. In fact, he was in Japan several months ago when he had a heart attack.......and then another one just before he was to fly back to the US. He's back performing with us after just coming back, again, from a trip to Japan. I know he's flying back over there in the next few months. Playing with him was Brooks Robertson who kind of grew up in CAAS and is  a nice guy that plays really well!
 In the audience was a white haired lady weaving a blue suit. That's Margaret Fields who was president of the original Chet Atkins fan club from the 1950s. Her daughter brought her as our guest to the convention. We gave her a plaque to commemorate her achievements as the original club President. It really was Margaret who began the whole organization. It folded in the 60s but when we talked of starting a new one, there were several original members that were available to advise us. Three of them were in the audience Saturday evening.
 Mark was accompanied by Tony McManus and his good friend Zach Bergen while they played Ashokin Farewell, a haunting tune that Billie Rose says Mark will play at her funeral. I hope it's not anytime soon!!
 Again, Meagan playing with Jason Coleman. Meagan is Chet's great niece. Jason is Floyd Cramer's grandson. Of course they played a couple of the old tunes just like they were supposed to be played!!
 Then the grand finale when all the performers come on stage and play. It was kind of wild and there are more guys up there that you can't see but a good time was had by all!!
So it's over for this year. It was our 29th annual. Plans begin now for next year.
I'm not getting a break either. Wednesday I have to be in Asheville setting up for a craft fair. So now I have to go through all the stuff we brought home, pack it up for next year and get that shopping list ready so I just pull the sheet out and go pick up what we need because it's so much easier if I do it now and not have to wonder next June. Then shift gears to pack the car Tuesday evening....
Until next week, taking a breath or two inbetween all this...


Linda said...

Sounds like fun! Was Tommy there?

LA said...

What an event! I'm so glad you took some time to enjoy the music!

Bonnie said...

Get that breath quickly for it too late.