A friend of mine posted over on the Book of Faces a few days ago (remember, I’m queuing these up in advance) about serving as a chaparone on an LDS Youth Conference. These are events held by the church for young people that include lectures, scriptural devotionals, dances and other activities. It reminded me that the first dance I ever attended was at one of those youth conferences. The band was…truly awful. Extremely limited repertoire which included maybe three “slow dance” songs.
And this dance then set the pattern for every such event I attended ever since–in terms of my personal issues, not the music–most events I attended had much better music at least’
A couple of years later, when I was in Phoenix a dance held by the local church ward (it would be some years yet before I drifted away from the church) had a band that was at least somewhat better than that first one but they really, really needed a sound engineer. Vocals would get swamped by the instruments. Drums would overpower guitar (or vice versa). Somebody who could sit at the mixer board and adjust the various levels as needed for particular songs would have really put some professionalism into their performance. Setting it once at the start of the performance just didn’t work, and I’m not sure if they even knew how to set it in the first place.
I wonder, sometimes, if things might have gone differently had I approached them about that idea and offered to work in that capacity.
There’s a bit of a story behind that trip to Phoenix. A friend of mine’s family had moved out to Phoenix the year before and I had saved up money from a summer job (my first) to go visit. Since I had turned 18 the year before, I derived the cunning plan of trying to find a job in Phoenix and stay there–get out of the backwoods of Cambridge Ohio (which, really was the ass end of nowhere so far as I was concerned). I got myself enrolled in the local high school for my senior year: Thunderbird High School to be exact. I had lodging that was willing to put me up for a while while I was looking for work. In the end, however, I wasn’t able to find work that fit with a school schedule and had to return to Ohio. In the interim, my mother had moved from Cambridge to Byesville. If I had thought Cambridge was the ass end of nowhere, I was to be proven oh, so wrong. I ended up graduating not from Cambridge High School but from Meadowbrook High School.
At least I was able to find work after graduating–mid-shift dishwashing at a restaurant that was only about a two mile walk from where we lived. And when I was rejected by the college to which I applied (yeah, stupid to apply to only one college–I applied to Brigham Young University and was not expecting the local Branch President, the local religious leader, to veto my application on the grounds that I was then wearing my hair a bit longer than BYU’s dress code permitted) going into the military was my next best choice.