5 years ago, Hanson and I drove 6 hours from a difficult gig we played (that we agreed we would never bring up again) to answer an open audition at the newly renovated Strathmore Institute for the Performing Arts. We arrived late as we spent an hour and a half longer on the DC Beltway than we had expected, but were still able to get an audition spot.
Although sleep deprived, road weary, hungry, and probably dirty (and nursing a cold myself to boot), we were still able to play a couple of songs in front of a panel of judges who seemed to enjoy what we had to offer. Discussing the matter afterwards over a couple of cold ones, old Hanson and I thought the audition went rather well considering our pathetic circumstances. That was, until, we didn’t hear from them…
For the next four months, we tried to follow up through electronic mails and phone calls. We even received a letter from the Strathmore in the mail thanking us for auditioning, yet were unable to book anything with them. Eventually, we just kinda wrote them off and never brought it up again (much like the aforementioned gig that has now been brought up twice here alone).
Continuing on our merry way for the next 3 years cutting swaths of Acoustic Destruction around the nation, we eventually are contacted by the Strathmore and are requested to meet. Befuddled, wary, and a bit threatened, old Hanson and I arm ourselves to the gills and head over to the meeting. If I thought we were befuddled before, the actual discussion with the Strathmore left me even more confused than ever. I know, I know…that’s not saying much…
The discussion with the Strathmore (and, yes, the Strathmore is a living breathing sentient being) was an invitation for us to join its Artist in Residency program. After a few questions, a little bit of coffee, and a whole lot of anxious leg fidgeting, we gathered this general information from the Strathmore: They wanted to generously pool their resources with their extensive ties in the music business to educate, support, and ween us in our pursuit of music conveyance; allotting us a month where we are required to perform and educate others while they focus on honing our techniques in performance and assist in marketing us to a larger fan base of support. Oh! And it wouldn’t cost us a dime. In fact, we would make a little scratch from it.
I remember feeling glad that I was armed to the gills…
Just over a year later, our residency began and a whole team of wonderful Strathmore employees and consultants are milling about teaching us about the business, washing our hair, taking our pictures, giving us tips, feeding us, and overall pampering us. We were able to meet the other residents and bang around ideas and speak intimately (smooch!) with a bunch of people who have been working in this business for decades; gleaning what ever we could from them, asking questions, and getting ESS-EM-AY-ARE-TEE.
And now, our allotted month is upon us and we are eagerly awaiting our first performance of the month come this wednesday night at the Strathmore Mansion. This is a great room designed for the performance of music and will be a wonderful change of pace from the smokey bars we are akin to playing in. Imagine, a Herb & Hanson show without loud bar conversations, that weird deep-fryer stench, and that creepy townie breathing down your neck trying to ask you out. Well, actually, I think he’s coming…but still! 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.
You all can follow this LINK for tickets.
There’s only gonna be a 100 seats, and 45 of them are already going to some of my chimpanzee pals from back in college. So, I’d get them tickets soon.
Hope to see you all there on wednesday! Mainly because I miss you guys and am very lonely right now.