So the Cup goes to Pittsburgh, one of the few teams in the NHL I follow. Back to the 70′s, when after listening to my favorite team finish up, I would scan the AM broadcast band on my vacuum-tube radio for other hockey games. The St Louis Blues on KMOX had the clearest signal. Sometimes I would hang a makeshift wire antenna out the bedroom window to improve the signal–usually that wasn’t necessary. The Pens were quite accessible on KDKA. Chicago and Boston were very faint. I could listen to Montreal play-by-play in French on occasion. Detroit and Buffalo, hardly any signal to be found. So in those days I rooted for teams I could hear on the radio (sorry, Dale).
I missed all but the final three minutes of last night’s game seven. The young miss was even a little excited about it. But they watched Star Trek instead, as I found out when I texted her about 7:30 last night to get a score.
It’s a staple of my modern life that I’m not home often for evening and weekend sporting events. That’s fine. I’m not as sports-crazy as I once was. It comes in surges for me. In high school and college, I listened a lot on the radio. Then in the 80′s, I might have seen one hockey and one baseball game in the whole decade. In the 90′s, going to minor-league hockey and baseball games was a hobby, supplemented by an annual twenty, twenty-five home games of my then-favorite home team. (I see another Pennsylvania team, one I visited three times in the 90′s, won its own hockey hardware last night.) The past nine years, there has not been so much live sports for me. I find sports tv doesn’t have any sort of allure, either. And being married with a daughter doesn’t give me the same opportunities as when I was single and could hop in the car and even catch a road game in hockey-rich Michigan or baseball-rich Virginia.
I had planned to watch the Pens-Wings game, but a friend asked me to play with his P&W band, SoundTrack, for a gig at the Grotto of the Redemption tomorrow. Rehearsal was last night, my first time playing with the whole group, though I know some of the people from the combined Confirmation Mass of our two Ames parishes.
It was nice to play with an accomplished group. I was pleased to discover that hammer dulcimer fits in with about two-thirds of their repertoire, and they seemed pleased that I could add something distinctive to their overall sound. I don’t know how many of them realize that one famous P&W artist was quite skilled on the instrument.
My friend Tim, the bandleader, gave me an advance copy of his group’s cd, which my wife (a bit to my surprise, because she doesn’t care much for the P&W genre) liked very much. About half are from OCP’s Spirit & Song collection, and the other half are a mix of traditional tunes like “I’ll Fly Away” and evangelical P&W pieces like “Light of the World,” which is my favorite of the band’s repertoire. Even though it was just a practice last night, I like my new friends’ live sound better. Tim is an excellent singer and his voice and style are well-suited to the genre, but the woman who does the other half of the lead vocals is just wonderful. The disk brings the lead singers to the fore–part of the mixing and the style of the music. But the vocal blend between the leads and back-up singers is really great. It’s not often you can find great singers who can pull off pop stylings on one song, then pull back to be part of a small chorus of singers
I had a blast with these people. It was nice to just sit in and play, and not worry about directing, suggesting, or congregational singing. I find I can easily set aside my critical sensibility–what I might do differently–and go with someone else’s vision of the music. P&W is also something of a foreign experience to me, so it’s equally good I get out of my element.
So if any readers are in the neighborhood of West Bend, Iowa, tomorrow from 4 till 7, come to the Grotto. The KC’s are cooking up a barbecue; bring your lawn chairs and blankets and all.