Quinn’s Extraordinary Travel Ramblings:

Kirksville Missouri: SPBGMA Showcase:

The day after we left Branson (Thursday) we spent driving to Kirksville, Missouri. Laura was sick with the stomach flu that day. On the drive we Worked upon our school work. We arrived in Kirksville at 4:00ish; I took the wheel during the last portion of the drive along secondary roads (which would have been scary enough if I had just been on the interstate.) We weren’t exactly sure where we were headed but we got there eventually.

When we drove into the fairgrounds we were greeted by Chuck Steerman, the founder/director of the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA.)

Later Dad and I went into the show room to find out what we needed to know I.e., where we were supposed to set up our CD’s and put our instruments, etc. My mom and Laura started ironing our costumes for what seemed to be the hundredth time for the evening’s performance and Abby brought her rip stick into the show room and rode it around. The floor was a huge and incredibly smooth concrete slab, much like a roller rink and perfect for the rip stick. We then brought our instruments into the showroom and opened up all the cases so as they might acclimate to the temperature of the building. Later we ate a light dinner and put on costumes.

Ours was the first scheduled performance for the evening. I wore my wig for the Walker family, aka the Redhead Express, who were in attendance. After the show I lent my bass to Meghan Walker for the Redhead Express performance which followed ours. We then went back to the table and sold some stuff. Presently Buster, the fan club president of the Redhead Express, approached my dad and told him it would be great for the Alaska String Band and the Redhead Express to join their efforts in a future concert together. I have decided that if we do we should have all of them do the Huki Lau with us.

Over the course of the weekend we enjoyed meeting the other bands and noted that there were some great family bands in the mix such as the Punches and Curreykorn. While I was sitting at the CD table one afternoon wearing my red haired wig I had a roll of Duct Tape and I decided to make something. I did so and I ended up with a curious donkey and an amazing elephant, both which took the name Lisa. That evening a man came up to me and he said, “You know you are a pretty good looking young man but you would make a pretty ugly girl.” I wasn’t sure what to think of that.

On Saturday, the last day of the showcase, we woke up entirely too early and got ready for our show. The Southeast Alaskan Odyssey Show had been requested in addition to our previously scheduled main stage performances. I helped my dad prepare for the show by setting up a DVD player and hanging a large sheet up on the front of the stage to show the pictures on. Before we could hang up the sheet my dad decided we needed to iron the wrinkles out of the sheet so as to produce a smoother picture for the show. So my mom retrieved an iron from the bus and then she and my sister Laura stood around and watched while my dad ironed the sheet on his hands and knees. They were sure to bring to his attention every wrinkle and ensure that he went back over the ones which were not ironed to standard. Pretty soon the M.C., sound engineer and other SPBGMA organizers were standing around watching too as it was all quite entertaining.

The stage by the way warrants a description as it was rather unique. It was the brain child of Mr. Chuck Steerman, director of SPBGMA. Mr. Steerman and his assistants had built the stage on top of a flatbed trailer roughly twenty feet long by eight feet wide. The stage was enclosed on three sides with wood paneled walls, the fourth wall left open for viewers to watch the show through. It was covered with a tin roof. Performers could access the stage from behind in two places via short flights of steps which were positioned behind the doors which opened up off the back wall of the stage. The back wall of the stage hosted a huge SPBGMA red, white and blue insignia. Mr. Steerman told us that the stage is pulled around the country from event to event to host various bluegrass shows.

Before the show started all of Laura’s personal photo’s were being displayed onto the big screen which my dad and I had so expertly set in place. There were several of random faces, feet and mouths. Once we changed it to the actual Alaskan Odyssey photography people started to show up. There was a tremendously positive response from the audience for the show that day.

Late that night after all the main stage performances were over we joined a jam session which included some awesome players and singers from other bands that were in attendance. The Punches Family and The Men of the Week were enthusiastic jammers and inspiring to play with and talk to.