We were picked up promptly at 12:30 pm to head to NJPAC. We practiced our songs a ton in our dressing room and we were feeling confident. We got a bottle of Jim Beam, which Jon (our guitarist) claims he risked his life for (Newark's a tough town) to calm our last remaining nerves before showtime. During rehearsal Garrison had this idea that he wanted to do a "round robin" where each band jumps into a theme that's carried by Vince and the Nighthawks (house band: amazing) where he reintroduces each band right before voting. The way Garrison Keillor works is really interesting to me. His wheels are turning the whole time. He introduces new ideas constantly and he knows exactly what he wants. He also knows right away if somethings not going to work. So we rehearse this "round robin" for a while and we drop right in with "Dream Baby" by Roy Orbison. It works perfectly and I felt great about it.
So at 3 pm the actors show up, get the script for the show and do one rehearsal. That's it for them. I eavesdropped on them a little bit and it was pretty incredible. These people are really good at what they do. There was a moment on Friday when I walked towards the stage through the side door and was stopped dead in my tracks. Richard - the band leader and piano player for the show and Garrison were the only ones in the auditorium. Friday is music day and they were working out the songs for the show. I don't know what they were playing but Mr. Keillor was singing. Not talk-singing like he usually does but really into the song and singing, it was a beautiful song. I stood there for several minutes quiet, listening. They had no idea i was there and it was really beautiful. Suddenly I was snapped back to reality when i heard a bunch of voices coming at me quickly and it was all over. Back to the dressing room for band huddle.
It happened really fast. The warm-up started, where Mr. Keillor explained the show to the audience and sang, "Save the Last Dance for Me" and before I knew it we were sitting in the wings, waiting to go on. The show went live, we danced on stage for first band, we played our songs, did the "round robin", waited nervously for the results and were announced as the number one pick from the cast and crew of A Prairie Home Companion. It was over, an amazing experience, an honor. We partied back at the hotel with everyone's parents and family who made it out to the show, closing up the bar across the street and ready for sleep and a quick day in Manhattan before we flew home. Now back to normal life.
Listen to the show!
A Prairie Home Companion