Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"When Swing Was King" -- Back to Back

Yesterday afternoon was a particularly intense (and fun) one for Claire and I as we jammed in two "When Swing Was King" presentations in just three hours. Wow.

Our regular schedule had us going to the theater room of Heritage Point at 2 o'clock to show the newest volume and we had been hustling all morning to be ready. I'd had an early morning meeting and worked on a proposal to resurrect the Omaha Chesterton Society while Claire got the November LifeSharer letter printed up. (She had printed up the return envelopes the day before.) Then we met back at the house to get it folded, stuffed, stamped and sent out, listening to old radio broadcasts of Dragnet that we have on CD as we worked. (As usual, the project was a 3-program affair. Thus, we were able to listen to Joe Friday and Frank Smith catch a crook, solve a murder, and bust up a dope ring -- all in one sitting!)

We barely finished in time for our afternoon presentation and were in the process of packing our equipment when a call came in from the activities director at Brookstone down in Millard, another one of the assisted living facilities that is on our monthly schedule. "Our music act just cancelled and everyone is set up for a big 4 o'clock party. Is there any way you guys could come?" Claire asked, "You mean instead of our regular day?" The AD responded, "Well, I know I'm asking a lot but we'd love you to come that day too!"

Claire yelled out and told me about the request (Janey was still on the phone) and I almost said no. After all, I didn't want to be so hurried that we wouldn't be able to spend the normal amount of time visiting with the residents at Heritage Point after the program. Then I remembered that the time necessary to set up over at Brookstone is minimal -- they set up the room for us and we use their screen and projection system. That made the difference. "Tell her okay. I think we can do it."

And we did.

We had a terrific time at Heritage Point with the room packed and wonderful visiting before and after. One young woman had come to take her mom out for a hamburger but mom wasn't about to miss "When Swing Was King." So, the daughter stayed and they watched and listened to the presentation together and, from where we were sitting, it seemed that the daughter was swaying to the music almost as much as her mom! After the show, the daughter told us how much her mother loves our program and looks forward to it every month. She wanted to take our picture so that other family members would know who her mom was talking about when she talked about "When Swing Was King."

We also got a kick out of the daughter's complements about my narration in the show. "You know so much history and your voice is like listening to someone on the radio." We just laughed and said thank you. But Claire later teased me, "Interesting. Take that love of music that you've had since you were little, add to it a Master's degree is history, and then add all those years on KGBI and what do you get? "When Swing Was King!"

Maybe so.

Anyhow, we did make it to Brookstone and we had a great time there too. The activities staff is one of the best around (Janey, Lynn, Kim, and the rest) and they were deeply grateful for our willingness to fill in. We visited with some of our regular pals (sadly, two of those regular pals have died in recent weeks) but we made a couple of new friendships too. One of them was with a spirited Benson High grad who went to sing with the Metropolitan Opera in the 40s and ended up singing with people like Danny Kaye and Desi Arnaz. Cool, huh? We're really looking forward to hearing a lot more from this gal.

So, it was a splendid afternoon of music, memories and warmhearted fellowship. In short, it was another afternoon of"When Swing Was King." And remember, these were only presentations 2 and 3 out of 5 this week!

Please remember too that this outreach is given free of charge to the residents of 13 different nursing homes and senior living facilities every month. And so your financial contributions to Vital Signs Ministries (as well as your prayers) are really important to help us keep this wonderful ministry going strong. Thanks.

By the way, here is the current playlist for this edition of "When Swing Was King."

1) Glenn Miller Orchestra (vocals by Ray Eberle)
"Moonlight Cocktail"

2) Artie Shaw Orchestra
"I Cover the Waterfront"

3) Count Basie Orchestra (vocals by Jimmy Rushing)
"I'm Gonna' Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter"

4) The Mills Brothers
"You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You"

5) Benny Goodman Orchestra (vocals by Helen Ward)
"These Foolish Things"

6) Ray Anthony Orchestra
"This Love of Mine"

7) Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (vocals by Frank Sinatra & the Pied Pipers)
"There Are Such Things"

8) Hal Kemp Orchestra
"42nd Street"

9) Harry James Orchestra (vocals by Buddy DeVito)
"If I Loved You"

10) Guy Lombardo Orchestra
"How Deep Is the Ocean"

11) Bing Crosby
"Sunday, Monday or Always"

12) Vaughn Monroe Orchestra
"Ghost Riders in the Sky"

13) The Andrews Sisters
"Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy"