Can You Carry a Tune? If Yes, the Sea Dogs Want YOU
Easy does it today. Monday mornings are the worst.
I was inspired by the Grammys last night to write about our musical endeavors at the ballpark for this 2012 season. One of the best parts of my job, or any job in minor league sports for that matter, is the variety of responsibilities that come with each day. And you’re right—I wrote that primarily because I am 99% sure my boss sometimes reads this. However, all joking aside, having multiple responsibilities at work can significantly reduce the burnout factor during one of the longest seasons in professional sports. For me, those responsibilities usually fall under three categories: sales, marketing and promotions. Since the promotions piece is by far the most fun, let’s talk about that. “Promotions” encompass the most duties on my agenda, because that can mean anything from executing the short contests that occur in between innings, planning the themed games as well as putting on the pre-game and post game events. This week I am focusing on the pre-game events—the events that set the tone for the fans as they enter the main gate, stroll through the concourse, take their seats and await the first pitch. Part of setting the tone occurs in the front plaza as fans enter the park. Music is the perfect “tone setter” and the front plaza is the perfect place to have a band set up: there is enough room for the band to have a comprehensive set up and for their adoring fans to rock out. We are looking to book bands for most weekend games, so, read on if you think your band is the perfect fit for Hadlock, or, just humor me because this part of my job helps me to validate my music degree from a very expensive college.
I’ve already said that I am not a huge fan of baseball, more of the atmosphere created at each ballpark. Nothing creates a better atmosphere as you walk into a ballpark than a live band. Unless that live band is Black Sabbath circa 1982. Fortunately, the only bats at Hadlock are wood and we require the songs played at our stadium to be a bit more “rock- lite” in fair than your typical Sabbath ballad. This past season the restaurant manager from Inn by the Sea suggested that I reach out to this kid, Keelan Donovan and his band, The Feature. I always get a little nervous when it comes to reaching out to *gasp* strangers, because you never know how weird they could end up. But, then I always think that they are probably thinking the exact same thing about this strange lady on the phone who is asking them to play at a baseball field. Keelan and his band were phenomenal. They were friendly, on time and obviously knew what they were doing. Keelan and the Feature were the perfect combination because they not only looked young and hip, but they also had a diverse, peppy and setting-appropriate play list perfect for summer. Keelan will be spending the summer of 2012 in Nashville working on his music, so he will not be joining us this season. If I were a better person I would say that I was happy for him, but I’m sad not to hear his band this summer. I hope he remembers the little people (me) when he makes it.
That’s not to say we do not have a list of talented musicians on the docket for this season. Ronnie Lee and his band The Affliction will be joining us again on June 8th. Ronnie and his band not only sound great, but more importantly they are also total pros and take every gig seriously. Also, I think at least one of their band members works in education, and what is more cool than a teacher that plays in a band?
So, do you want your band to play at Had-Rock field this summer? See check list below for qualifications:
- Are you willing to play for “free”, as in, no cash? No, you won’t get paid in cash. What I am able to provide is my charming personality and access to the Sea Dogs extensive network of promotional capabilities. Obviously the promotional network is the selling point here. We have over 18,000 facebook fans, over 5,000 twitter followers and a stadium that seats 7,368 people. When you perform for us, I will make sure that you and your band are promoted to all of these fans through the magic of facebook, twitter and all of the capabilities of the internet. There are also opportunities to leave your band information at our Information Desk in the stadium which is the epicenter of well, information. I had numerous people this summer ask me for Keelan’s contact information for anything from personal parties as well as weddings. The Sea Dogs are an excellent avenue of raising awareness and generating future business. Plus, I’m somewhat of a chatter, and work with a lot of businesses in the area, and am only too happy to promote bands that play for us via word of mouth.
- Are you generally a punctual person? We only ask that you play for two hours before the game starts, usually this is from 5pm-7pm, or 4pm-6pm.
- Are there a limited number of four letter words in your vernacular, at least in a public setting? Seriously, no swearing allowed. Saying “earmuffs” to kids only works in the movies.
- Do you know who John Denver is? You might laugh, but one of the younger members of our staff did not know who he was. If you’d like to access our front plaza and our fan base, have a general idea of some of the history of awesome musicians. Plus, “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” can really rock the house.
- Is your proudest achievement setting all of Kanye’s “songs” to acoustic guitar? Denied!
So, if you have a band, or know a band, that wants to kick off or enhance their career with us at Hadlock Field, give me a call. I can say from past experience you will not be disappointed with the level of promotion you will receive. Email me: email@example.com and tell me how awesome your band is.
National Anthem Singers
I majored in music at Colby College. Don’t ask me why, I just liked it. While I was not a talented musician, I was around a lot of talented musicians while I was there, and all of them were intimidated by our National Anthem. The words are hard, the notes are hard, and it feels like you need a set of iron lungs to sing it properly. I have the utmost respect for anyone who is able to perform this in front of strangers. The Sea Dogs are fortunate to have a deep pool of dedicated National Anthem singers, a perk that comes from demanding performances of at LEAST seventy-one National Anthems each year, for going on nineteen years. Some of these people have been singing for the Sea Dogs since our inception in 1994. (Remember when our colors were teal and black! Some of our staff members were just entering the first grade in 1994). In addition to my returning pool of mothers, fathers, daughters, school groups, quartets, etc., we also are fortunate to have the stars from the shows of the Maine State Music Theater join us each summer. I’m not using the term “stars” lightly: these performers are unreal. The performance that sticks out most in my mind is one by a 12 year old, Lauren Weintrab who was playing little orphan Annie. Lauren was a peanut, but she brought down the house. I cannot emphasize enough how powerful her voice was. She mesmerized our crowd.
The other performer that mesmerized at least the ladies in the crowd was Brandon Andrus from MSMT’s production of Xanadu. I know that he had a tremendous voice, but he was also a dream boat so he could have croaked out the notes like Carl Lewis and I wouldn’t have cared. That last statement is not true—being handsome is not a ticket to singing the National Anthem before a game. You have to at least be handsome and talented.
We take the National Anthem very seriously, and look for performers who sing it beautifully and respectfully and without the frills and trills that take away from the meaning of the piece. Also, it must be sung in under 90s seconds. We have a baseball game to start, people!
If you feel as though you have what it takes to join our pool of anthem singers for the 2012 season, we are having try outs at Hadlock Field on Saturday April 14th from 8am-9am. In order to try out, you must fill out this link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TryOut2011.
Space is limited for try outs, so it is imperative that you fill out the link as a courtesy to others because we plan our schedule based upon this. We also insist that you try out live at the stadium. Recordings are not accepted because everyone sounds good on recordings. The real test is when you have the mic in your hand and are singing it live. Don’t worry, we aren’t mean people, and I am already impressed that you have the courage to come out and try. That is more courage than I have!
Happy Monday to everyone, and keep your ears tuned to talented musicians today. We are currently recruiting some for Hadlock Field.