IBEW Convention

Worked the annual convention for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (6/17/2009) down at the Downtown Sheraton hotel, Nashville. First, a note to self: The Sheraton is a major pain for load-in. Elevators are too small for my cases so leave waaay early. This year's convention was here in Nashville and, as luck would have it, I drew the winning card on providing entertainment for the evening. I'm guessing we had 300-400 in attendance and had the main ballroom at the Sheraton. First off, the hotel staff is superb at this hotel. Great bunch of people to work with. They set me up over near the buffet line and right under a 15-foot projection screen.

This was a mid-week event and I don't think they really were expecting what all they got (at least that's what they said). I went ahead and brought out the full lighting rig and video screen and cranked the Bose pretty hard, although there was plenty of headroom left in case they wanted to rock.

They ended up being a very down-to-earth bunch of folks, even though the IBEW is a quite-large union with a very large membership. At first, I have to admit it was a little intimidating but I just remembered a few lessons from Stonewall and decided to just dig in, put my head down, and git'er done.

Started out by throwing some Sinatra and some older pop standards until the requests for more Country music started coming in. Started mixing the live material in (the stuff with the synced videos) and they responded really well to that. By the time I got around to do the introduction and Nashville's famous "holler-and-a-swaller" they were into it. That bunch of electricians sure can make a lot of noise.

A little later in the evening I finally got some karaoke vict....er, guests and they even gave me a belly-laugh or two. A couple of the association's IT guys apparently do a very convincing karaoke version of Vanilla Ice's "Ice, Ice Baby". Wow, I gotta put that in my bag of tricks as it worked great.

The only odd part of the evening was a gentleman that obviously had already had a few (dozen) too many and asked me for the microphone. I asked him what he wanted it for and he muttered enough for me to understand he wanted to make some presentation to commemorate a buddy's up-coming retirement. Reluctantly, I got everyone's attention then gave him the mic. He muttered a few words about his buddy (which a lot of them knew apparently) then started shifting around and walked out into the crowd with my mic. A few of the folks started glaring at me and I knew I had a situation about to get out of hand so I made a quick announcement, then threw the music back on. The rest of the evening went off without a hitch the client was exceptionally gracious in their comments about the evening. Another good one in the books.......