It's Getting Better All The Time

the dance

Nikon D200, 70mm, 1/750 @ f/4.5, ISO 400

Music. Music In Plymouth. There is nothing better than gathering a few thousand people on a beautiful summer night in front of a large band shell nestled at the foot of a natural amphitheatre. Plymouth is another suburb, just over there a little ways, and every summer before the Fourth of July, they throw an extraordinary party celebrating our heritage, our culture, our freedom and humanity! Quite possibly the only event of its kind that I will attend until next year’s event. This was the 39th anniversary of Music In Plymouth christened “It’s Getting Better All The Time.”

Last night we were running a bit late and didn’t arrive until the end of what sounded like a local swing band’s set. The grounds were buzzing with summer and covered with the customary “stake-your-claim” family tarps fortified by the circling wagons of nylon camp chairs. We found our place among the others in our tribe (who had earlier staked our claim for us) and to many exchanges of courtesy we unpacked the cooler and settled in for a light supper.

Nikon D200, 70mm, 1/500 @ f/4.5, ISO 640

It escapes me the number of times we’ve attended but I know we have enjoyed it every time possible for at least the last eleven years or so.

The next performance was a nice little surprise, I think for most, as I don’t remember Music In Plymouth ever having a good blues band open for the Minnesota Orchestra. But, this year they did. Lamont Cranston. I saw Lamont Cranston open for Hall & Oates at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, IA circa 1981. Thirty frickin’ years ago! They had Charlie Bingham and Bruce McCabe with them and were a wicked good opening act back then. Out promoting their “Shake Down” album “Upper Mississippi Shakedown” was getting a lot of airplay.

These guys brought back memories of The Cabooze, Five Corners Bar, The 400 Bar, The Blues Saloon, The Uptown and Archie’s Bunker: cornerstones of a vibrant 1980’s music scene! Now, thirty years later, it was like we all got back together for another bottle of Pabst and a round of head bobbin’ feet shufflin’ blues that went right to the soul.

with feelin'
Nikon D200, 300mm, 1/640 @ f/5.6, ISO 400

Nikon D200, 300mm, 1/320 @ f/5.6, ISO 640

leg guitar
Nikon D200, 140mm, 1/160 @ f/4.8, ISO 640

I love working the crowd with my camera and have all sorts of fun. Children, their faces painted like animals or America, or just sparkly with purple hair, ribbons and all sorts of attire, are especially giving subjects. I went down toward the stage as I always do to get some photos and people were dancing with every bit the enthusiasm of thirty years past. But … these people were children almost twenty years younger, yet! Dancing, singing and air-guitaring to the blues!!!

Nikon D200, 300mm, 1/1000 @ f/5.6, ISO 400

The Minnesota Orchestra has always held a special place in my heart. They are so good and absolutely magnificent to listen to. But even the rousing finale of the “1812 Overture” and the world’s most recognized piccolo passage from “Stars and Stripes Forever” were overshadowed by the sight of boys and girls not even in junior high dancing, singing and moved by an art form that is as uniquely American as the blues.

Nikon D200, 240mm, 1/90 @ f/5.3, ISO 640

Thanks Lamont.
View full Music in Plymouth image set on Flickr