We are trying out a new concept, that we are calling REMIX. It is not really new, it’s really kind of an old concept, updated to fit the group we are now. So, I’m going to stick with NEW as the description for this style of performance we are currently striving toward.
Back in 2004 when Sande Strings started this tradition, the playing of Christmas Carols and Hanukkah Songs by the elite members of the group. That first painful year, we MEMORIZED our entire short playlist. And in quick sucession, these songs were performed for our audience. All without music stands and music. Usually, in the span of a few short minutes. For the most part, we performed outside, in direct sunlight. Picture us wearing long sleeve black turtlenecks in the typical 80 plus degree heat of Southern California and you know why my recollections of those early days, are somewhat painful. We learned a lot that season, and each season thereafter. And the lesson learned from that year was a playlist that only contained a mere six to eight songs wasn’t really good enough.
Since then, we graduated to playing between 20 and 30 songs per holiday concert, working to prepare as much as might be needed at a performance venue. Adding newer, updated, or more elaoborate versions of holiday classics we now know (dare I declare we could play most of them backwards) all the while, working hard to find a new way to perform THESE songs that we know so well, and have played year, after year, after year.
One problem we’ve struggled with is that our most devoted followers are parents who, by the nature of being a family, devotedly drive their kids and watch performance, after performance, AFTER performance. We love having them there. They are our built in audience, and at first they too love being there. But like a movie you’ve seen over and over, naturally they begin to look for other things to do, while we play on and on again.
And while we try to save a few new twists to things and change things up, what we change isn’t always that evident and, for the most part, many students playing a long awaited solo look out to a parent happily texting, reading or perhaps chatting with a friend, and the moment is missed.
Our attempts to update things its pretty hard to make it seem fresh after a few concerts.
So, this year’s REMIX is born. We are taking our most familiar tunes, memorizing and tweaking them. Working to simplifying where necessary and overworking to new and hopefully exciting presentation fresh way of doing things.
We can’t wait to show you all the fruit of this endeavor (although we are in the awkward and gawky phase, each week we make leaps and bounds) towards a really NEW WAY to play our songs. Hope to see you all at our November 18th debut of this new performance style we call REMIX!