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I’m with the Band!

I love the nightlife.  I like to boogie.

Okay, not really.  But if I did, I figured I’d be out of luck in Fredericksburg.  I mean, we don’t get a lot of action around here.  This isn’t New York City, after all; we roll up our streets at 10pm.  But it used to be eight, so there’s progress for ya.

Wasn’t I just reminiscing and mooning over the lost simplicity of my little old home town?  Wasn’t I just waxing nostalgic for the way it was?  Some people are just never satisfied.

Sure we have ten times more restaurants and shopping centers than we did when I was a kid.    But I perceive our growth as sprawl: getting ever wider, without moving up.  Despite all the development, it’s still so…mundane.  Where’s the vibrancy?  Where’s the fun?  *sigh*  This town is so boring.

What’s that?  No.  Um…  No.  Well…

So I’ve only visited one of the umpteen historical buildings slash museums.  I just got that multi-pass a couple of weeks ago and there’s no expiration date, so…  No.  No, I’ve never done the Candelight tour at Christmas.  It’s just so expensive…okay, no, I’ve never gone to any of the free First Friday art events. But I don’t know anyone who’d want to go with me.  Nope, I’ve never sat in a lawn chair and watched a movie projected all giant-like on the side of a building.  Antiquing?  I did that so five years ago.  Tour the Civil War Battlefields?  Not really my thing.  Take an inner tube down the river, join a theater group, paint some pottery, see a play, take a walk, go dunk your head in the Rappahannock….

Al-right.  So maybe this town isn’t that boring.  Maybe it’s just me.  (I anxiously await your comments below, in which you repeatedly insist that I am sooo not boring but decidedly fascinating and also would I please be your Facebook friend.)  Anyway, if you read this post, then you already know that I am trying to get to know my hometown a little better.  And to my surprise, Friday before last my nephew inadvertently helped me out with that.

My nephew, Peyton. (the blonde with the grin)

So what on earth does this have to do with the band?  Well, my nephew’s in the band.  How cool am I is that?  I missed their last concert because, being old, I was unaware that invitations are now only issued as Facebook status updates.  My mother, being older still, is well aware of this new protocol (like everything else, it skips a generation), so that’s how I found out about this one.  And I was super excited to get to see them play.

Let me ask you this: if you’re a part of the audience, but you know someone in the band, is it acceptable to tell other people you’re ‘with the band’?  If no one stops you from saying “I’m with the band”, is that like getting permission?

You may have noticed already that there are books in these pictures.  I noticed that right away too.

When Logan described the location, he said they were set up in a back room and there was a bookstore up front.  So I really didn’t know what to expect.  Turns out they were in a place called Read All Over – they had booked a booking in a book store (I had to say it, will you forgive me?).  Read All Over sells used books in what feels like a re-purposed house, complete with a kitchen sink next to the stage.  It’s lined up with all the other businesses in all the other used to be houses that populate William Street.  It was perfect.

Perfectly downtown.  Perfectly small town urban.  Perfectly Fredericksburg.

And I had a perfectly wonderful time.

To begin with, I saw a side of Fredericksburg that I hadn’t experienced before, and that is Downtown on Friday Night.  Where have I been?  At home, I guess.  I’ve seen the relative crowds of locals and tourists in the daytime, shopping and eating and touristing.  But I had no idea that our downtown drew such a crowd of people in the evening.  They were everywhere.   The outdoor tables, empty every time I’ve driven past by day, were at full capacity.  If there was a chair outside of a store, then there was a butt sitting in it. Families and couples and groups of friends walked the sidewalks and met in their little groups here and there.  It was a bustling crowd.  It was summertime in the city.  It was…exciting.

Ben and Peyton

My senses were buzzing and I couldn’t decide where I thought I could be.  With all the lights and the crowds, it kind of felt like a bigger city; I could have been in Georgetown or Richmond.  There were young people reminding me that this is indeed a college town (and has been since 1908).   Perhaps because I grew up here, I have long been somewhat oblivious to “the college” – it was just there, it felt fully contained on its campus.  And though I’ve been to concerts and plays and even an opera there, I have not considered the impact that UMW must have on Fredericksburg’s culture.  And even as these thoughts were going through my head, I was taking in the historic buildings all around me, the old bricks and the past.

Maybe there’s just something about night-time in a city, in the summer.  It could be the way the still warm breezes wrap around you like a silk cocoon.  Or it could be the way artificial light has of softening the curves and angles, how the shadows blend and fade away in that light.  But I think it’s the lights themselves, how they outline a place somehow.  And all the lights in all the buildings shine out and remind you just how big the city is and how many people are out there in it.  These are the lights of possibility.  It’s just…romantic…on a grand scale.  They make you want to be more than you are – to bust out of your skin and be bigger somehow.  They make you want to move to a highrise  or start your own business or become an opera singer or a baseball player or something like that.  They make you want to do something.  They make you want to dream big.

Which brings us right back to the band, and I’m so excited about the band.  I had really forgotten how great it is to sit and listen to live music!  It jumps in your blood and makes you want to dance.  Or at least sing along at the top of your lungs.  I was sorely tempted during their Beatles set (which were the only songs I knew – did I mention that I’m old?), but I didn’t.  You can thank me later, if you watch the video.

The House Of Burgess

This is Mr. Burgess.  Hence the name of the band ;).

What’s exciting to me is…well all of it.  They wanted to start a band.  And so they did.  How cool is that?  I’m fairly well in awe of anyone who can play a musical instrument (Ben played at least 3 different instruments that night), much less the time it takes learn and practice enough music to put together a few sets.   Well done, I applaud you.  Again.

And thanks for reminding me that this is in no way a boring little burg.  You just never know what you might find in the back of a used book store, at night, in the summer, in the city.

♦ ♦ ♦

So, a note on the video: this was a last minute thing, so I feel that I need to apologize for the quality.  I took a bit of video with my camera and my mom took a bit with hers.  That’s the reason for the different angles, which is good, and the weird changes in sound quality, which is not good.  I just had enough video between the two cameras to hobble together a kind of incomplete synopsis of the show.  I did what I could to keep the volume relatively level, but you’ll hear obvious changes relating to the different cameras, where we were standing, noise level of the crowd, etc.  But I hope you can still enjoy it!

The House of Burgess

29 Comments Post a comment
  1. Love hearing that big dreams are still possible even hidden away in small towns. Cool show.

    July 9, 2011
    • Hi Patti! It really was a cool show, the video doesn’t do it justice. I can tell you that I’ve been hearing the Beatles in my head for a week! Not only that, but I’ve been humming the songs that I didn’t know. It was fun! And it certainly makes me wonder what other cool things I’ve been missing out on all these years.

      July 9, 2011
  2. Nice write-up and cool little video you put together! Thanks so much for coming out to see and hear us all play. We’ll be doing this again this Fall.

    July 9, 2011
    • I know it wasn’t very band intensive, but I got the “are you going to the thing Friday night?” asked on Thursday brand of invite 🙂 . So I wasn’t very prepared. I feel bad that the video isn’t polished, but I couldn’t stop myself from putting some of the show on there.

      Maybe next time I can do a real video for you guys. When I write about that one, I can call it “I’m In The Band!” Do you think anyone will buy that?

      July 9, 2011
  3. Beverly Wood #

    This was a great blog and I loved the video —- especially since I knew folks ‘in the band’! lol We can’t wait to get an invite to come listen to them play. Maybe we will keep a closer eye on the facebook status and try to catch up with today’s form of communication!!! lol Loved what you put together though. Great to see them involved too!

    July 9, 2011
    • Thanks Beverly! It was fun. I basically find out about everything from my mom, usually the day of, or if I’m lucky, the day before. But if I get better notice next time, I’ll let you know! We can wave our lighters together. Oh, wait, they even use their cell phones for that now…

      July 9, 2011
  4. Bill Wood #

    With the band, yeah right. Never though you would be a groupie, but as I live I learn. I enjoyed the video very much. I don’t understand the invite thing though, heck I can’t even get to your blogs unless Beverly tells me how to or by some strange twist of fate I happen upon them. Night life in the Burg, what a suprize. I could probably relate a few tales if I could remember them. If I have any flashbacks I’ll write em down so next time I get to one of your blogs I can share. Kisses.

    July 9, 2011
    • I almost wrote that, because I’ve never thought it before! I never cared about any band enough to be a groupie.

      And I’m sure you could tell me some stories that would make my toes curl. I can’t wait to hear them.

      As for the blog, it sounds to me like you need to subscribe! Every time I do a new post, it goes to your email, all nice and crisp and new. It’s all the rage. You do know how to do email, right? I only ask because neither of you has answered a Query yet – you’re overdue!

      July 9, 2011
  5. changingmoods #

    I liked the video! It was a nice montage of awesome music.

    July 9, 2011
  6. Jacque M #

    Great piece! I can hardly wait until next time. We need to do a night on the town, just a bunch of us getting together and mingling with the crowds on the street!!! Before the summer is over. Let me know – we could do it when Bill and Beverly come up the next time. Eat dinner downtown somewhere and mix and mingle, what do you think?

    July 10, 2011
    • I think yes! I like the night life, I like to boogie…oh wait, no I don’t…

      But I do like to eat and I’m beginning to enjoy the mingling, too!

      July 10, 2011
  7. Ahem, if I may say so, you are “sooo not boring but decidedly fascinating and also would [you] please be [my] Facebook friend.”

    A few things: every time you say “Fredericksburg,” I think of Fredericksburg, Texas, a place settled by Germans (believe it or not), turned into a mega-historic tourist town in the Texas Hill Country. You describe your Fredericksburg very well and I can visualize it perfectly. This other Texas Fredericksburg keeps butting into my visualizations. In some ways they actually sound somewhat similar.

    As for the question of whether it’s OK to say you’re with the band… Well, I have a funny story. One of my good friends married a rapper. Well, he’s a lawyer. Well, when she met him he was a guy in law school who didn’t like law school but didn’t know what else to do (having tried other things with his English degree) who really wanted to rap. He’s short. In some ways he looks like a tall hobbit. Anyway, now he’s a lawyer and he still raps. About what, you may ask. About Star Trek and other nerdy things. And people in Dallas and Ft. Worth go to see him and his group, not just friends (though in the beginning, yes, it was mostly friends). My friend became one of his groupies (after the relationship started, not before, though she tells me that his rapping was a real turn on). She told me always to say I was with the band.

    I loved several of your descriptions, but for brevity’s sake I’m going to highlight just this one: “It could be the way the still warm breezes wrap around you like a silk cocoon.” Love it!

    July 10, 2011
    • Finally! The validation I was clearly begging for! Interesting that none of my family managed to feed my ego, not one tiny crumb. So, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart, and you are right of course and yes I will be your Facebook friend. I just may have to think about unfriending a few other people, though. No, wait…that’s how they get to this blog. Nevermind.

      I’ve always been curious about the Texas Fredericksburg, because I have to remember to add the Virginia every time I try to Google something for here. Even so, half of what pops up is in Texas. Probably the only thing we have that they don’t is all the Civil War battlefields. I’ve never been much into that, but as I’ve started really taking a look at where I live, it’s starting to grow on me. There is a lot of interesting history here.

      I’m never been a big fan of rap, just not my thing. But I think I could get into some Star Trek rap! That makes all the difference.

      I almost left that sentence out, but I couldn’t. Isn’t it just a lovely feeling, that soft breeze?

      Off topic, but I was stressed out driving to work today, already dreading what was to come. And I couldn’t help thinking about your hiccup and I told myself to “stop being such a baby and be thankful you have a job”. I know everything will work out in the end, but I’m thinking good thoughts for you in the meantime.

      July 10, 2011
      • Oh, don’t feel bad at all about being stressed about work. I don’t know… everyone’s different, but I think most of us are going to stress one way or another. To some degree we can choose how we stress, but not so easily whether we stress. I mean, work really is stressful sometimes, maybe most of the time. Sometimes I hate my job (when I’ve had it–which has been always, until now!!! But I’m not in the situation of an someone who is genuinely unemployed–yet). Sometimes I love it. It’s almost always stressful, though, and it doesn’t matter that someone’s doing something far more difficult in a million different places. I wish that fact did more than give me perspective… I wish it kept me from stressing or hurting at all, but it only helps so much.

        July 10, 2011
        • Oh, and I think there’s a link to my facebook in my “Gravatar” or in my “about.” I have to check.

          July 10, 2011
        • That’s the thing, I mean my job isn’t necessarily difficult. What stresses me is not having the resources, whether it’s time or employees or whatever (mostly time). But thinking about all of the people out there that have no job, like changingmoods for one, at least makes me appreciate the income, if not the actual work. And that helps me focus on the fact that they are paying me to be there, so I need to give it my all. And you’re right, I can’t change that it’s stressful, but I can change how I react to the stress, how I manage it. I guess it’s where I choose to put my energies, toward fixating on the stress or toward working through it.

          I think that perspective you were talking about is hard to hold onto or even get to, like you said. The fact is that we are living our own lives every day, so that is what will consume our thoughts and rule our feelings. Not that someone we don’t know has it worse than us.

          I used to work at a daycare, for 3 and a half years, and that was enough for me with the kids. I love children, but not so much (anymore) in a group that I’m in charge of. It would be overwhelming for me. My friend is a teacher and I admire you two. Most of us couldn’t do it.

          July 10, 2011
          • Thank you. That means a lot to me. The message in the media is quite the opposite… I’ve only been in education for about ten years (including preparation, student teaching, salaried, work, you get it), but I’ve never seen morale sooo sooo low. Honestly, most teachers I know think society despises them. Well, that’s a discussion for another day 🙂

            You had a pretty good idea for a daycare a while back that you mentioned in a post. I remember that. You should pursue it! 🙂

            July 10, 2011
          • Hah! I forgot about that – but it just might work. For me, anyway.

            July 10, 2011
    • and by “several,” I meant I loved the whole thing. I just wanted to make that clear…

      July 10, 2011
      • Well of course you did! 😉


        What I meant to say is Thank you, that’s nice to hear!

        July 10, 2011
  8. Love the idea of getting to know the place where you live. Explore your own backyard and find an amazing town…. We live on the border between two towns, so there are always festivals, shows, arts events, trips, museums, gigs, specials….and we go to some of them. A few. We’ve been once. It was great!

    July 10, 2011
    • You literally made me LOL.

      That’s just it, isn’t it? There are all these cool things to do and I don’t do any of them. There is longevity in my family, so I’m figuring I have about 50 more years to get this stuff done. Maybe I should jump on that bandwagon – I’ll start a page for 90 before 90!

      July 10, 2011
  9. I had to laugh when I read your description of your boring town and then admitting you never actually do any of the things that are available! Isn’t that the way it always is? I live in a tourist town and I always wonder why people pay money to visit here but then, since I never take advantage of of what my area has to offer, what do I know?

    When my daughter toured UMW, we thought Fredericksburg was so pretty. I’ve been wanting to go back.

    July 12, 2011
    • I have wondered that too! Why on earth are they coming HERE on vacation? It never made much sense to me. Of course, we do live an hour away from the Shenandoah mountains, 2 hours from Virginia Beach, 30 minutes from an amusement/water park, an hour from our nation’s capital… More things I take for granted!

      It’s interesting that you’ve been here – so neat! It gives a different perspective, someone who’s seen it, but doesn’t live here. I’m always curious to see what my friends and family think of these Hometown Tourist posts, if they see what I do or what their memories are like compared to mine.

      UMW campus is very nice – lovely and shaded. As for the town, there are times when I look around and see gritty, times when I see the shopping strip sprawl, or the beauty of the countryside, or the old town charm it has to offer. Mostly I haven’t really been looking at all. I’m glad to be changing that, finally, and I can tell you that I am now starting to really see the pretty and the interesting and the unique. It’s been a great experience so far!

      July 12, 2011
  10. How cool is that! You are definitely “with the band”….:)

    July 15, 2011
    • Thanks! I’m with the band, if only in my own mind. But that will have to be enough, probably!

      July 15, 2011

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