A couple of summers ago, I played “Pirates of Penzance” (referred to by my wife as “Pirates In My Pants”) at the Kindleberger Art Festival. This was a cool outdoor venue that took place over a weekend. The Saturday of one of the performances, I also had a rehearsal with Patricia Pettinga earlier in the day. Nothing overlapped, and there was plenty of time for both.
Well, the rehearsal went well, and I came home. Thought I’d be clever by leaving my amp in the car (one less thing to lug around). Traded basses, and took off to the festival. It wasn’t until I pulled into the festival parking lot (a half hour away, I might add) that I realized that the music for the show was still at home, right next to where I left the bass from the rehearsal. There was not enough time to go home and get it. I was screwed.
Luckily, the music director is a close friend, and after shaking off the shock and then the insane laughter, she let me read over her shoulder as we sat around the piano that evening for the show.
However, this situation could’ve had a worse outcome. A music director that wasn’t familiar with my track record (as in, this NEVER happens) or as jovial about it could’ve easily spread the word that I showed up unprepared. And in all honestly, they’d be right. I wasn’t prepared and organized for my day of various gigging and rehearsing.
Especially now with all of my effect pedals, cords, amps and basses that I have, being organized is important. It comes down to knowing where everything is located. For my bLuE daHLia gigs, I have an old toolbox that I carry. This keeps my cords, power cables, a set of tools (wire cutters, screwdrivers), strings, etc.. I try to make sure that the items that are in that box STAY IN THAT BOX. It’s the easiest thing to do. I also keep a cord in each gig bag, to make sure that no matter what bass I take to a gig, I will always have at least a cord with me (very handy).
Secondly, on the days where I have more than one thing going, I try to inventory everything I will need ahead of time, and when I will need it. I had a weekend in March that went like this:
Friday: CD recording at church
Saturday: Musical rehearsal in the morning, afternoon rehearsal with Patricia
Sunday: Church service, CD recording at church, musical rehearsal in evening
This entire run of things required my string bass, my electric, my small amp, a handful of effects, sheet music for the show, and for Patricia. After taking the inventory of everything, I put everything in order of how I would need it. Cords were put in bags, 9volt batteries were put in effects, sheet music was set aside. After each thing, I carefully made sure to take stock – again – of where everything was, if anything needed to be fixed (do strings need to be changed? Batteries replaced?), and put it back in line for the next gig.
That weekend, while hectic, went off without a hitch. By staying organized and keeping a tally of what I needed to bring to each session, I was able to stay prepared and ready to go, ultimately saving everyone a lot of time and hassle. It also saved me a lot of headache, allowing me to fully enjoy the craziness of the weekend and the joy of being able to play so much music in one weekend.