Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Chronicles of a bored photographer, pt. 4

So, two days late. Admittedly, that's pretty much par for the course with this blog. I'm pretty sure there aren't too many people sitting there, refreshing their browsers on Mondays and Thursdays anyway.

About a month ago, I was asked to take photos of a program the National Fiddler Hall of Fame was doing in order to expose kids to western swing music. Here in Tulsa, western swing music makes up a significant part of this town's cultural history. The Cain's Ballroom (Tulsa's primary music venue and an overall really cool place) was the site of nationwide broadcasts by musician Bob Wills and his band, The Texas Playboys. In fact, this was what gained the Cain's its notoriety.

As a living demonstration of our town's musical past, local musicians Rick Morton, Shelby Eicher and Mark Bruner (left to right, below) dressed up as Bob Wills and his band and put on a show at a local elementary school similar to those broadcast from the Cain's in the 1930's.

Ballroom/Gymnasium

That "Cain's: Home of Bob Wills" is a replica of the one that's currently in the actual Cain's Ballroom downtown.

Radio

Mark played the voice of KVOO, the local station which hosted the original Bob Wills broadcasts.

Bruner

Whenever I've seen these guys play together, whether in an elementary school or a nice restaurant, it's apparent that they absolutely love what they're doing. It's really cool to see people who care that much about the music they make.

Fiddle

How To's

After the show, Shelby and Rick took some kids aside and showed them the basics of their instruments. Here, Shelby shows a few kids his violin, which is somewhere in the range of 300 years old. Needless to say, it sounds pretty nice.

It was really interesting to see so many kids being exposed to music that would have otherwise likely slipped far under their radars. Even in a town where western swing was a dominating cultural force, that force has since faded. People like Mark, Shelby and Rick remind us that this music is more than just relevant, it's a style that has major historical implications for both the development of modern music as well as our city's cultural building blocks. Plus, it's a lot of fun to listen to.

2 comments:

Caitlin said...

Fiddlers rule.
Like these pictures. :)

Jessie said...

Aw. I haven't seen Shelby in years, but you're right -- he really does love what he does.