HOT BAND (NRB) WINS COLD BATTLE WITH ICE AND SNOW IN PETOSKEY
It’s Saturday, January 9. A major storm warning is in effect throughout Michigan. Normally it would be the normal to stay snuggled up at home. But wait! The New Reformation Band — also known as NRB — is scheduled to perform a much-anticipated first concert at Petoskey’s Crooked Tree Arts Center.
Would the seven extremely grown-up musicians be able to make the trek up the snow-covered lanes of I-75 and then challenge two-lane backroads to the historic auditorium? Could they do so in time for the performance? Will the dedicated jazz fans, and the quizzically curious, brave the elements?
At 7:30 PM the manager of the hall took to the stage to welcome a sold-out crowd – not a single empty seat — and invite from stage left the ‘well-seasoned’ Dave Oppermann, leader of the NRB. Murmurs could be heard as Dave sat at the piano without the six all-most stars. Sighing, he suggested he may have to perform single-handedly. The murmurs got louder, but Dave tried not to listen.
With a modicum of self-assurance, DW indicated he felt the rest of the boys were “in the area” and might be attracted to the stage lured by his emotional version of “Momma Don’t Allow No Jazz Boys Playing Around Here.” The ploy worked. As Dave played, appearing one at a time out of the darkness — to enthusiastic applause — were the six missing rascals.
2-1/2 hours later, the crowd was on its feet pleading for “just one more encore.” Using its usual ‘smoke and mirrors’ gimmickry, the NRB notched another victory on the show business scoreboard.
Days later, the band is still reaping the harvest of its efforts. Sue from Torch Lake emails:
”Dave, I was privileged to enjoy your concert at the Crooked Tree Arts Center last Saturday night. It was a great evening of musicality and humor. Nobody could walk away without a smile. Somehow you’ve managed to slow time, maybe even use it to your advantage. Loved every tune and minute of it. Thanks for a great memory.”
We can assume that there are dozens of similar letters on their way that have not yet been received due to postal slothfulness or misdirected email. But we take comfort knowing that if we are asked to make a valiant return to Petoskey, Sue of Torch Lake may likely be there to welcome us.
Thank you, Sue, and Petoskey.
Dave Oppermann, for the NRB