Garms Family Road Stories: And the soundman screamed…

Have you ever seen the road cases that groups store their sound equipment in? You know, the huge containers with wheels that the young guys of the group are always rolling out after a concert? Well, have you ever seen one rollingby itself – straight toward your car?

Several years ago we went to see a popular Southern Gospel group in concert, and as usual, we stayed late conversing with members of the group and friends that attended the concert. The soundman and other road hands were tearing down the sound equipment as we visited, passing us by in the lobby with road case after road case. Most of these weren’t any small cases – they were humongous!

When we finally tore ourselves away, we trooped out onto the church’s sidewalk, trying to locate our 15-passenger van (which wasn’t very hard to do, since it was the only 15-passenger van in the parking lot). The soundman had just rolled out another large road case, parking it on the sidewalk, and was starting to leave.

Now, let me set the scene here. The sun had just set and the street lights were beginning to turn on, adding a strange orange glow to the evening. All eight of us were nearing the edge of the sidewalk, and near our exit point was a running car filled with older ladies. They were parked against the sidewalk, directly across from the mountain of road cases. The soundman – as I mentioned before – had just turned from the case and was heading back to the church. In seconds, the scene abruptly changed.

The case the soundman had just delivered suddenly started rolling, gradually picked up speed. (The fact that the sidewalk was sloped in that particular spot might have played into it.) It began to roll straight toward the parked car with no signs of stopping. (Did I mention this case also had about three other smaller cases stacked on top of it?)

We screamed. The ladies in the car screamed. The soundman screamed.

So, here we all were, a group of screaming people on the sidewalk beside a car full of screaming people, all screaming because of a runaway road case. But screaming wasn’t doing anything, so Ben – knowing just how to handle runaway cases – leaped forward and ordered the case to stop¬†heroically blocked the case from smashing into the helpless car.

Needless to say, we all breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Ben pushed the road case onto the nearby grass to keep it from rolling and the soundman took it from there. Then, we continued on to the van. It was like nothing ever happened.

The lesson for groups is do not put rolling road cases on sloping sidewalks. The lesson for concert-goers is watch out for runaway road cases. And, the lesson for us is…expect the unexpected!

Submitted by Taylor for the Garms Family

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What to Do When You Cannot Attend NQC

While some of you are out meetin’ and greetin’ at the National Quartet Convention, some of us are hanging around home, trying to “occupy” our time. ¬†Here are a few things we found to do this week…

What to Do When You Can’t Attend NQC

[youtube http://youtu.be/VqQIAc5mq9E]

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How not to pitch a CD, exhibit 1!

This morning, the SouthernGospelBlog.com P.O. Box held a dreadfully formal-looking official envelope from a New York City law firm. It turns out it wasn’t a legal threat‚ÄĒthankfully, we must not have made anyone in New York City mad enough to sue us!¬†It turns out they were submitting a CD with no relevance at all to Southern Gospel. But even if it were a Southern Gospel CD, I think I’d be scared to review a CD submitted by a big-shot NYC lawyer! Who knows what might happen if I said anything critical!

(For how to submit a CD, see the contact page.)

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Garms Family Road Stories: Make that quintuple…

The Quadruple Bass with the Double Bass

The "Quadruple Bass" with the "Double Bass".

At many concerts that we do as a family, I receive many compliments about my “wonderful bass voice”. (I’m not at all the next J.D. Sumner or Tim Riley, so don’t worry!) ¬†These caring people often have suggestions for songs I should sing, and they make sure they tell the rest of the family that I never sing enough during our performances! I receive almost as many compliments as Caleb does about his personality, yet no one ever threatens to kidnap me and take me home (unlike Caleb)!

Anyway‚Ķone of my favorite compliments I received was after a performance at a church near our home. I was walking down a hallway in the church, and a little elderly man stopped me. He was about half my height, and exuberant to tell me what he was thinking. He looked up at me, and asked, “Have you ever heard of a double bass?” I paused for a moment before hesitantly answering, “Well, yes I have!” I was wondering what he was getting at, because as an instrument player, I immediately took what he said in the sense of an instrument. In fact, this man had just spent a half hour watching Mom play a double bass in our performance. He then, with triumph in his voice, exclaimed, “I tell you, YOU are a QUADRUPLE BASS!” At the same time he bent to half HIS height and made a large sweeping motion with his hand, shaking his head in emphasis of “quadruple bass”. To say in the least, I was speechless for a moment. ¬†But¬†that didn’t phase him a bit! He kept on going with his description of my voice. He ended with, “If you can go that low when you’re still young, just think about when you get older!” ¬†

After I thanked him for his kind compliments, we parted company; he with a lighter heart, and I with a big smile on my face, wondering how I was ever going to live up to his descriptions of my voice!

Ben Garms

Submitted by Ben – ’cause he’s “Ben” there!

 

 

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Garms Family Road Stories: Danger Above!

Our family band’s touring equipment consists of many different parts and pieces; in some cases we have major Southern Gospel groups beat in terms of the amount of stuff!

All of us have our own favorite components; for some members of my family, it’s the musical instruments; for others, it’s the promotional material; and for myself, it’s the audio equipment!

Personally, I love speakers. Subwoofers are the most fun. When you start pumping low frequencies through a powerful, quality woofer, well‚Ķin my opinion, it’s a heart-pounding experience that can’t be beat!

We first bought our sound equipment from an e-Bay store. When our subwoofer came via UPS¬ģ, the delivery-man was giving us and the 90-pound box a couple of good stares. Ever since then, that wonderful piece of equipment has found a special place in my heart. So when things start happening to it, I – and my family – start to get concerned.

There is a saying which goes, “No one cares for your ministry like you do”. Well, I’d like to modify that a little‚Ķ”No one cares for your audio equipment like you do”! You see, I’ve seen our subwoofer placed on the ground upside-down, used as a step ladder (I’ll admit, I’ve done so also), and have it’s life threatened! OK, maybe that’s too much of an extreme, but it was slightly dangerous all the same.

But before I get to the story, I need to explain one more thing…people love to try to help us clean-up after concerts. Some do it because they want us out of there so they can go home, some because they know what they are doing, and others just because they have big hearts. It was after this incident that it became family policy to not allow anyone to handle the big, expensive audio equipment, unless by special permission and known background.

We were at a venue which had gone extremely well. After eating a delicious meal, the audience was warm and responsive. The chef of the night was one of those people with a big heart. He was one of the most likable guys you could meet. So when clean-up and tear-down time came, he offered as much assistance as he was able.

Time came for hauling our stuff out to our trailer. Suddenly, he got a novel idea. Repeat, a novel¬†idea. He went back to the kitchen, and brought back a couple of old, metal serving carts. “We can place stuff on here, and then roll the carts to the exit door!”, he reasoned. Mom was skeptical from the start. For some things it worked‚Ķkind-of. From my vantage point in the trailer, I could see Sam, Jayme, and Caleb wheeling gurney-looking things with one or two small articles to the door, unloading them, and then returning. It was after a few trips that near-disaster struck. Mom still gets the shivers when she thinks about it.

Our friend the chef spotted the speakers. So, taking one, he loaded it onto the top shelf of the rickety cart, standing upright, and had one of the Lil’ Adventures push it towards the door. When I saw the LA reach the door, the cart was wobbling back and forth, and Dad was jumping to grab the speaker from the cart before it fell and squashed the LA! If I remember correctly, I could hear Mom’s slightly tense voice floating out the door.

I don’t exactly know the sequence of what happened next, since I wasn’t quite an eyewitness. But I do know what happened. A cart had come back empty, and our chef friend decided to load what was closest at hand‚Ķthe subwoofer. I don’t know the exact weight of the woofer, but it is somewhere near 90 pounds. Our friend was of the short, rotund stature, and Mom remembers seeing him heave the subwoofer onto a trembling cart and trying to convince one of the LAs to push it to the trailer. That was it for Mom. She yelled for Dad, and had Dad (and the chef) take the subwoofer off the cart, and stop using the carts. Mom had visions not only of busted subwoofers, but also pancaked LAs.

THANKFULLY, no one was hurt that night. But we came away a lot wiser. So, maybe I will revise the old adage one more time‚Ķ”No one cares for your CHILDREN like you do!”

Ben Garms

Submitted by Ben – ’cause he’s “Ben” there!

 

 

 

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Garms Family Road Stories: “Is this a two story building?”

I hope to never top this experience. It was undoubtedly some of the scariest few seconds I had ever lived.

Our family was going to perform an afternoon concert in East Battle Lake, Minnesota. The venue was located in a restored chapel on an island in the middle of East Battle Lake. It was a warmer day, and do to the antiquity of the building, we made sure we opened up the windows in the chapel, as air conditioning was not an option.

After we finished setting up our equipment, we began to mingle among the audience who had gathered. I spotted a young man in the front pew, and we began to pleasantly converse with each other. In the middle of our conversation, we were interrupted by a middle-aged mother, and her daughter who was about two-years-old. Instead of choosing to walk around us to get to their seat in the front pew, the mother chose to shepherd her daughter in between us conversing men. My mind was saying, “That was unique”, but then I looked around myself and saw that I was hogging up quite a bit of the walkway. The chapel we were in was fairly small, the distance between the steps up to the platform and the first pew being no more then two feet. It was so small that the pews, which might have held eight people max, ran all the way to the wall, each pew having a corresponding window.

As we talked, I looked down to the end of the pew, just in time to see the little daughter walk up to the corresponding window, push out the screen, and promptly fall out. Needless to say, my heart stopped. Our conversation ended too. I found myself running down the aisle, wondering if we were in a one or two story building.

The Chapel

The Chapel

I ran out the front door (to the surprise of a few people) and dreading to do it, turned and looked at where the window was. To my surprise, I saw the mother step out the window, and pick her daughter up. The girl had fallen a maximum of a foot in height. My poor little mind almost couldn’t handle it. The adrenaline rush of fear almost toppled me over in shock. I shakily walked over to the window after the mother and daughter stepped back inside through the window, and as calmly as possible replaced the screen. I then shakily walked back inside the chapel, and did my best to regain my composure. All I know was that I was glad it turned out NOT to be a two-story building!

Ben Garms¬†Submitted by Ben – ’cause he’s “Ben” there!

 

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Garms Family Road Stories: Call the Elevator Man!

Probably everyone who has hit the road singing Gospel music has picked up some memorable stories along the way. I asked Ben Garms of the Garms Family to share a few of theirs; here’s the first one.

My middle name should be “unique”. ¬†Of course, most everyone in my family has a certain level of uniqueness about them, but I seemed to have acquired a special measure of …”uniqueness”.

The Fateful Elevator

The Fateful Elevator

There came a time (and it hasn’t been the only time, which the rest of the family can attest ūüôā ) where this came out loud and clear. We were in Isle, Minnesota, unloading our equipment into the second-story sanctuary of the church. The church was almost a hundred years old, yet building maintenance had been kept up very well. They had at one time installed what I call a “lift” type elevator. It’s the kind which a platform is contained in a glass well. You look up, and you can see where you’re going, and you look down, and you can see where you came from. (Great for height-lovers like me‚ĶNOT!) It was one of my first encounters with such a device.

When we met the promoter, she had explained that we could use the elevator for our unloading purposes. About half-way through the process, I had a considerable load to take up to the sanctuary, and no one else was around to help me out. So, using my head, I thought, “Well, I’ll just use the elevator! Why haul it up some steep steps?” By the time I had the stuff in front of the elevator door, Leesha had shown up. I confided to her my plan, and she said, “Okay?”. ¬†I loaded the things into the elevator, and looking around the cramped space, saw the button that made the thing go up, and gave it a push.

From here on, my memory fails me. All I remember was that I was halfway up the glass shaft, STUCK and going nowhere, with Leesha and the promoter staring at me. Some how, in some way, I had done something to cause this horrific situation. I think it had something to do with releasing the button, but I don’t know for sure. And with my great love for heights (NOT!), I was as comfortable as a fish in a fish bowl with a cat staring at it. I don’t even remember what I did to get moving again. By the time I was up to the second story, I had nine pairs of eyes staring at me! I do remember the urge to scream for help as loud as I could, but that wouldn’t have served any purpose other than to hurt my ears.

So, after I was out of the elevator, I made up for the muddle the best I could, by staying out of the elevator! The next time I had to use a “lift” type elevator, I made sure I followed all the instructions.

Ben Garms

Submitted by Ben – ’cause he’s “Ben” there!

 

 

 

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