Double bassist Doug Johnson has a great gig story that I’d like to share with blog readers. Doug is an active double bassist in the Chicago area, and he performs with ensembles raging from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to the excellent bass and percussion band Gunnelpumpers.
Here’s Doug’s story. Enjoy!
A pianist, violinist and myself were hired to play at a Jewish wedding at a small synagogue on Chicago ‘s north side. The couple to be wed were fond of the Beatles, Billy Joel and others, so our plan was for our trio to play some simple arrangements of these songs. We had rehearsed the previous day, decided the song order, and that Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are” would be the processional at the beginning of the ceremony.
On the way to the synagogue for the wedding, it so happened that Chicago ’s Gay Pride Parade was taking place along the route I intended on using. After being turned back several times by police and fringy floats, I finally circumnavigated the affair and made it to the synagogue on time. Fortunately I had left home early. Not so for the pianist.
Now, wedding processionals are usually rather solemn affairs. Not this time. Grandma and Grandpa were laughing down the aisles, the congregation started chuckling, and throughout the wedding, the nervous soon-to-be newlyweds kept giggling. In fact, giggling kept happening everywhere during the entire wedding: the rabbi, the parents, others in attendance. It turned out to be a rather buoyant affair. Afterwards, the father of the bride said he enjoyed our musical choices, and then started laughing.
If anything, I would like to think that couple will have a wonderfully happy marriage. If any sort of argument breaks out, just one of them has to start humming “Eight Days a Week” and the laughter will surely begin.
The Gunnelpumpers will be featured this week on the Contrabass Conversations podcast, so be sure to tune in for that. In the meantime, check out Doug and the Gunnelpumpers at their MySpace pages: