Friday, December 14, 2007

New York gig


I once asked dad a question and I don't remember the question - but I do remember a story he told me following the question.

He said this fellow who owned a big resort up in New York had asked him to bring his orchestra up and play for two weeks. Dad said that he turned the man down because his band had just come off the road after an extensive tour. The resort owner told Westbrook that he'd double the pay if he'd call his band back. Dad again turned him down. Dad said that all the members had their fill of touring and he just didn't see that happening. After Dad's explanation, the man offered the same price if Dad would just travel up to his resort and front their band. Dad of course took the offer.

So Dad goes up there for two weeks and leads (and sings) for the resorts orchestra. I remember asking dad how much he got paid. If memory serves, the price was $2000.00. I remember remarking about that being a lot of money back in those days. It was, but he told me that he didn't keep it all. What followed next kind of revealed something about the good character of my father. He said, "I came back home and contacted all the members and told them to come and pick up their pay." I then asked dad why he would pay band members when he did all the work. He said that "they were members of my band and I felt it necessary to give them their share of it."
There's an old photograph among this pile of old band photos. It's of a fellow that was one of dad's musicians. At the bottom of the picture it reads, "To the best boss I've ever had." I can understand why.
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