April in New York!
The Adventures of Orleans in HomeTownLand!
(Part 1 of a story in two parts) (Jump to Part 2)
The preamble: Lance’s interview by Lise Avery
Who said “you can’t go home”?
Whoever that is wasn’t referring to US … that’s for sure! Early April found us not only in Bay Shore/Brentwood, Long Island, NY … the home town of the Hoppen brothers … but also in Bearsville/Woodstock, NY … the home town of Orleans!
TWO Homecomings in ONE weekend!
Friday, April 4th found us at The Boulton Center for the Performing Arts, Bay Shore NY.
This was a return engagement … the first appearance occurring last fall. You can read all about that original “HomeBoys Return to HomeTurf” saga here … it’s probably worth the few minutes to get the context for this story.
Basically, last time was the first time we Hoppens had been back to our homestead in many, many years … and the first time Orleans had ever played there. Those factors alone were enough to set the stage for a great time for all. But THIS time ’round had a completely different highlight to it!
In September, we reconnected with many people we had not seen nor heard from in decades. One of those people was my former High School history/social studies teacher, Steve Rochester. Funny how, when I was 18, “Mr. Rochester” was a “grownup” to my teenager. Now he’s got just a few years on me and the “Mr” has gone out the window. 🙂
Anyway, Steve is still connected to Brentwood High School (Larry, Lane and my alma mater) and suggested that we speak to the music students there about “our story” … how we made careers out of our passion for music. He hooked us up with the current Director of Music, Joel Ratner, and we worked out the details.
Flying in to Newark, NJ, we hopped in the rental van and hightailed it to the hotel in Brentwood. After a quick clean-up, we headed straight over to the High School to catch their last period of the day.
Brentwood always had a robust arts department, but we were pleasantly surprised to find that there is now a whole new WING dedicated to music in the school. This is in sharp contrast to what’s going on in most school systems across the US. With ever-tightening budgets, it seems that Arts Programs are usually the first to go (while sports programs expand — what’s up with that?).
Naturally, we are ardent supporters of Arts Programs in public schools and urge each of you to support them as well. We commend Brentwood Schools for seeing their value and providing the necessary funding to keep them alive and well!
Later that evening at the gig …
Unbeknownst to Fly, our SWAG Master, John Guertin, arrived with the perfect supplemental haberdashery in hand for the night’s rendition of “Mall Cop”.
At the start of the first chorus, Larry suddenly plopped it on Fly’s head. Initially, Fly was like a wild stallion who had just been saddled but, after a few moments, got used to … and even IN TO … the new prop.
If you still haven’t experienced “Mall Cop”, you can fill in that blank here. The Blues were never this funny!