ABF Rally report Sept 29-Oct 3...making lemonade out of a lemon!

Crazy. Really crazy.

I drove 12hrs up to Newark, NY for the ABF Rally. I broke the drive up into two days and arrived 4hrs too early to the venue to check in...which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Since I got there around lunchtime, I found a local pub and got some lunch. While wondering what to do with myself I recalled that there were some museums in the area I had been reading about since childhood...

Off to the Glen Curtiss Aviation museum...only an hour's drive South. Loved it!

Upon return, a few hours later, I pulled into the parking lot of the venue to find Mr. Joel Hooks wandering the parking lot with his cell-phone stuck in his ear and a glum face. Joel had found bedbugs in his room.

Well, bedbugs are a disaster for a hotel...disaster for us too. The Rally could not be held there and finding a replacement venue at the last minute just wasn't going to happen. Rally cancelled.

Of course, the early arrival people (Myself, Joel, Drew Frech and Aaron Jonah Lewis) stood around for a while chatting and eventually took off for a local restaurant for dinner. I really enjoyed meeting Joel again (haven't seen him in person since something like 2008) and meeting Drew and Aaron. Nice to sit around the dinner-table, relax and chat.

I was able to find accommodations at another motel about 10 min away and remained in the area the next day visiting the Corning Glass Museum (fascinating) and the National Soaring Museum (a return to my childhood of flying sailplanes).

Another enjoyable aspect of this disaster was that Google Maps sent me thru some of the most beautiful countryside I can remember seeing. This is the "finger-lakes" region of upstate NY and it is crammed with vineyards, wineries (passed one called "Pompous Ass Winery"), picturesque lakes and lovely landscapes. Almost every crest in the road revealed a painting. No wonder artists have long used this area for landscapes.

So, I made Lemonade out of a Lemon. I enjoyed myself, put about 1800mi on the car, got to hang out with banjo friends and visit special museums. Not bad. Not bad at all.

After talking with Joel, Drew and Aaron, I now have a much better idea of what an ABF rally will be like. I hope they can find a new venue for the Spring Rally and I'll be better prepared!

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Thanks for the detailed story, Marc. You made excellent lemonade indeed.  I think a commemorative Banjo Solo needs to be composed. The Bedbug Rag? The Bedbug Waltz? The Bedbug Polka?  Bedbugs and Lemonade? I'm partial to that last title.  How about a collaborate effort in composing. The chances of the end result being a Musical Frankenstein Monster are high— and that might be appropriate.  

ps Bessie Smith sang :

Gals, bed bugs sure is evil, they don't mean me no good
Yeah, bed bug sure is evil, they don't mean me no good
Thinks he's a woodpecker and I'm a chunk of wood

LOL, there was an off-broadway musical-comedy called "Bedbugs!!!" I suppose one could find the music and alter it into something raggy...the Wiki article sez it was rock 'n' roll.

I'm a lousy composer. Lyricas, I can write. Music...nope. I wrote a couple of Jigs once but later found that they were just poorly remembered standards...which turns out to be a fairly common source of new 'traditional' music. I have listened to so much music, anything i put down would probably be plagiarism...

What I had in mind was a collaboration of as many members of this forum and/or ABF who are interested in spending a bit of time on something silly.  

Trapdoor2 said:

LOL, there was an off-broadway musical-comedy called "Bedbugs!!!" I suppose one could find the music and alter it into something raggy...the Wiki article sez it was rock 'n' roll.

I'm a lousy composer. Lyricas, I can write. Music...nope. I wrote a couple of Jigs once but later found that they were just poorly remembered standards...which turns out to be a fairly common source of new 'traditional' music. I have listened to so much music, anything i put down would probably be plagiarism...

I certainly like silly. I'm game. How does one write collaboratively online? I can generate a blank staff to get us started. The Musescore software is free, so anyone who would want to just download the file could do so...

A fun exercise is to take a common work, "Maple Leaf" for instance, and re-pitch all the notes to create a new work. The original is downloaded and all the notes reduced to rests (the original title is removed so it becomes an "unknown"). Then, you start fresh with an existing rhythm basis, all you got to do is toss notes in that are the same value of the rest they replace.

Or, we can just post a few measures at a time here and I can stitch them together as they come in (years in the making...)

Jody Stecher said:

What I had in mind was a collaboration of as many members of this forum and/or ABF who are interested in spending a bit of time on something silly.  

Trapdoor2 said:

LOL, there was an off-broadway musical-comedy called "Bedbugs!!!" I suppose one could find the music and alter it into something raggy...the Wiki article sez it was rock 'n' roll.

I'm a lousy composer. Lyricas, I can write. Music...nope. I wrote a couple of Jigs once but later found that they were just poorly remembered standards...which turns out to be a fairly common source of new 'traditional' music. I have listened to so much music, anything i put down would probably be plagiarism...

Excellent!  Who else is in?  Your idea of taking an existing framework reduced to rests is intriguing. I had envisioned starting from scratch, but this other way is viable.  First we need to decide if it is to be a rag, waltz, cakewalk, march, polka, or what. 

js

Trapdoor2 said:

I certainly like silly. I'm game. How does one write collaboratively online? I can generate a blank staff to get us started. The Musescore software is free, so anyone who would want to just download the file could do so...

A fun exercise is to take a common work, "Maple Leaf" for instance, and re-pitch all the notes to create a new work. The original is downloaded and all the notes reduced to rests (the original title is removed so it becomes an "unknown"). Then, you start fresh with an existing rhythm basis, all you got to do is toss notes in that are the same value of the rest they replace.

Or, we can just post a few measures at a time here and I can stitch them together as they come in (years in the making...)

Jody Stecher said:

What I had in mind was a collaboration of as many members of this forum and/or ABF who are interested in spending a bit of time on something silly.  

Trapdoor2 said:

LOL, there was an off-broadway musical-comedy called "Bedbugs!!!" I suppose one could find the music and alter it into something raggy...the Wiki article sez it was rock 'n' roll.

I'm a lousy composer. Lyricas, I can write. Music...nope. I wrote a couple of Jigs once but later found that they were just poorly remembered standards...which turns out to be a fairly common source of new 'traditional' music. I have listened to so much music, anything i put down would probably be plagiarism...

Yes, ALWASY check your room before you put your stuff in it.  And I mean check every crack and corner!  If you have to keep an eye on your luggage then put it in the bath tub before you check the room.

I have made a habit of this since bed bugs came back to the US again and have prevented any problems.  In this instance I pulled down the headboard and almost could not believe what I saw... I have not seen a live one before this time. 

Sadly the venue has not done well during the last two years and was very run down compared to what it was before. It is sad because the owner was always very good to us. 

I would be surprised if there was not a rag with that title.  They were just part of life before WW2.

A. J. Weidt composed the "Banjo Bugs" but it is about a club by that name.

Yes, "Banjo Bugs March" I've seen reference to that. It doesn't appear in the ABF holdings or on the list of works published in the 5-stringer (old excel spreadsheets). You don't have a copy, do you? I found a free score online but I'd rather have a copy of the original (whoever published it, I suspect Jacobs...but it isn't in the Jacobs collections).

I found an old spreadsheet that says Ray Jones has a copy...I'll see if he has a scan. He still ducks in here occasionally.

There's also "The Banjo Bugs Rag" by Jas. Johnstone...under his own copyright...but it looks like a Clifford Essex (or perhaps BMG) publication. It is here in the library and was published in the 5-stringer in 1999 (issue 183).

Sounds like the beginning of a 'theme' for the next Rally... ;-)



Joel Hooks said:

A. J. Weidt composed the "Banjo Bugs" but it is about a club by that name.

I think I have both, will post tonight if I do.

Don't bother with Johnstone's "Banjo Bugs Rag", it is in the Music Library here at Classic-Banjo Ning. I've already started tab for it...

"Banjo Bugs March" is typical Weidt (assuming I have a correct copy, it is 'free' from somebody on the internet really trying to monitize old sheet music). I'd like a copy of the original so I can verify.

Weidt always amazes me that he can get a nice tuneful rag out of the banjo without really reaching above the 5th fret (although the penultimate and final notes are at the 10th)

Thanks Ray!

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