среда, 4 января 2012 г.

Teddy's Tunes

By Lil Blosfield

Follow your passion, and success will follow you.
~Terri Guillemets

My husband, Ted, is a number of years older than I, although I won't say the actual number. As he was nearing retirement age, Ted suddenly decided to do just that -- retire.

Well, actually, he didn't exactly retire... he just quit his job to pursue his muse. Ted had always wanted to be involved in music. I could recognize this passion, having aspired to be a great pianist decades earlier.

Our living room slowly but surely began to resemble a recording studio loaded with mixing boards, computers, speakers, microphones, microphone stands, and various other pieces of equipment that are still mysterious to me. Was I a supportive wife? Definitely not at first, as I watched my home becoming an electronics circus.

Then Ted started getting jobs as a karaoke jockey (KJ). His new business grew as he started building a following of friends and groupies. I even attended a gig or two. Yes, we had to start talking in KJ language, which included "gig." In those early years of his new passion, Ted's song collection grew slowly as he incrementally purchased karaoke discs and even more equipment. We went through reams of paper and cases of ink cartridges as Ted printed his song lists each time new selections were added.

Ted's clear happiness in what seemed to me to be a ton of work for little money (not to mention the expense of the equipment) was contagious. Who was I to deny him the opportunity to be involved in something that he had always dreamed about? I'm not sure a karaoke jockey was exactly what he had anticipated but it did involve music, although certainly some performances were questionable! I found myself encouraging Ted and trying to do what I could to help him.

One night I made up a flyer for an upcoming event. The proprietor of the establishment that had hired Ted was anxious for a large turnout. So I thought that an advertising flyer might help get the word out. Jokingly, I dubbed the event as karaoke by "Teddy's Tunes." I only printed one flyer, thinking that certainly Ted would not go for his new name. Surprisingly, he did and even more surprisingly, the name took off. Calls came in asking for "Teddy's Tunes" and Ted began being recognized out and about as "Teddy's Tunes." Some friends even made up a little jingle about "Teddy's Tunes" to the tune of "Spider Man."

As Teddy's Tunes' followers grew, even more humorously he became known for "Old People Karaoke." There was an abundance of Rat Pack singers and crooners, a few country folks, and even some that preferred to display their musical ability singing old Broadway show tunes. He typically scheduled his gigs in the early evening, to be finished by 10:00 p.m., while most entertainment doesn't even start until then.

Little by little this karaoke cult took on a personality of its own. Egos abounded and there were disputes amongst singers allowed to sing out of order from the original line-up, preferences being made for audience requests and the like. Some of the singers even branched out to create singing groups and requested Ted as their sound man. Ted went back and forth between enjoying his passion for music and his dislike of the drama.

And I, alas, found myself with a second job instead of slowing down toward retirement. I was keeping track of his schedule to coordinate with family events, and tracking the revenue and expenses for taxes. I even acted as a roadie, lugging the heavy equipment in and out of our van at times when some health issue or minor injury prevented Ted from lifting things.

I was also put in charge of what Ted dubbed a "customer appreciation" party annually. Thankfully, this was held as a backyard barbeque over the summer months, but nonetheless, it required quite a bit of cooking, coordination, set-up, clean-up and all the other chores that hosting a large party brings. Thankfully, we always invited our neighbors and they actually loved the "Old People Karaoke!"

Somehow, Ted's semi-retirement became quite a bit of fun for both of us as we occasionally spent an evening together singing in our living room. And our daughter, Elizabeth, has had many a fun-filled get-together with her friends in that same living room, while our other daughter, Amanda, proudly brings her friends to Ted's gigs. We even have managed to make Ted's new career fit with my work with not-for-profits. Ted has provided sound, music and entertainment for a variety of fundraisers that I am involved in. Even Ted's ninety-three-year-old mother comes out to see her son perform.

I continue to clean around Ted's cords, microphone wires, and speaker stands, and I tolerate coming home from work to find a recording session underway in my home.

Would I ask that Ted give all this up? Absolutely not! I'm planning my revenge for the day that I decide to "retire."


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