Just in time, too. We had a show yesterday for the great people of Yellville. Nice people, nice event, and an opportunity to try out our new mixer in an outdoor setting, as well as 2 new tunes we've worked up for the contest this weekend.
Yellville is a small city, but it sure does know how to host a music event! Check out this great crowd!
The crowd seemed to enjoy the show, and the new tunes worked. Nothing to put in front of judges yet, but they worked well with a crowd.
Two of those days we will be playing at the Youth in Bluegrass Contest. I wish I was excited about that one, but contests stress me out. I can see how they drive you forward, and we are putting in that extra time to learn the ropes of what we need to be competitive. We were given some sound advice from the mother of last year's winners, which prompted us to change a couple of the songs we originally considered in favor of new ones. This means those new songs will likely be good, but not contest great this year, but they may set us up for a better leap at a good placement next year, once they are firmly polished. Our overall selections were slightly limited if we wish to avoid either sounding like copycats of a famous person, spending too much time tuning the banjo from a dramatic key change, or placing an adult as the lead in a youth program. However, our experience is still limited in the realm of contests, so any of our tunes could be a great hit with the judges, or a complete miss. Last year we had a bunch of complete misses, despite very good songs. They just weren't the kind of music that sells to judges. Plus, Mary was included, and she is simply too young to do well in a contest, and every member must count, despite age. She isn't at all offended that she will sit in the audience this year. She's going for the roller coasters anyway.
So, this week we will stand around a single microphone, figure out who moves where, practice balance, starts, stops, and introductions. Thanks to a nice park and location, here is where we get to go through the drills.
We have a plan. Thankfully, God gave us a week in Kansas with friends where He denied us pretty much every attempt to find playing opportunities, leaving us a week free on their property, where our friends have a workshop of tools and places for the kids to sleep during the repairs. As a conversion, most of the counters and benches are simply attached, without fancy factory construction, so we will be pulling out most of the kitchen area fixtures, some in the bathroom, and bringing it down to the metal bottom. Once we see what the damage is, we will go from there. Provided there is no real damage to the metal flooring, we may just treat that, get on some rust-free paint, a flooring top coat of paint, and use area rugs throughout the bus on top of that. Michael has had many sleepless nights worrying about water damage to the bus from the unknown. When you are in a house that moves and is constantly jostled, you never know what leak will show up where. We have access to nearly all of the piping throughout the bus, except under the floor, so if the floor is the base of the bus itself, it will be a bit less comfortable, cooler in the winter (we will be spending that in South Texas anyway), but the chances for unknown water damage go way down from that point forward.
No one has suffered from any potential mold exposure, thankfully. In fact, outside of one kid with a couple bouts of a mild soar throat a few weeks ago, there has not been so much as a common cold in over a year. (I'd "knock-on-wood" over that declaration, except I do not happen to believe the One who arranged that merciful health-spree, in the midst of all of our trials from the last year, falls for such rituals, so I gladly skip it!)
We'll use gloves, masks, and pull out all bedding, curtains, and everything for the clean-up. Bleach, dry out, paint, replace, move back in. When we get back to Colorado we will then have the engine and mechanics checked out, as we close our our first half of our first year of travel, preparing, God willing, for many more.