Looking back, I think my experiences with the Stratus Singers really kindled my interest in the melodic/harmonic side of life. Tight vocal arrangements, the challenges of putting a show together and sharing in their professional/life experiences was really a learning situation that I am truly grateful for. It was in this period that I started learning vibraphone and took my arranging course over snail mail from Berklee College Of Music…
It all started when they picked me up at the motel Shelly and I were staying at between gigs. I explained that I didn’t even have sticks, as all my gear was loaded in the van for our drive to play that night. They needed a drummer immediately and I was looking to leave what I was in.
They said no problem, they would pick me and take me to where they were currently playing and I could audition on their current drummer’s kit; the leader assured me that there would be sticks there.
We got to the club and I sat down on the kit and there was only one broken drum stick to be found. The leader took out an acoustic guitar (a much treasured Martin) and started strumming various tunes.
He would say, “Do you know this one?”, “How about this one?”, “Oh yeah, and this one?”. I answered every query by playing time, alternating the hihat and snare. After 10 minutes of this, he said, you’re hired; we’ll be by in the van on the weekend to pick you, your wife and your dog up; we will be on the road for a few months. That started a 3 year stint of music, travel and lasting friendship.
…a career in music? Don’t be silly, you won’t make a living. That’s no life for a son (daughter) of mine. That’s that! I don’t want to discuss it again!
Hey! Turn the radio up! I love that song!
By 1975, we were into the fever of the disco era so our dance music of course reflected that. We did all the tunes by the Bee Gees, Gloria Gayner, ABBA, Freda Payne, Thelma Houston etc.. But our show material was anything from Farewell To Nova Scotia and San Fransisco Bay Blues to Send In The Clowns and Barbershop! All of this was laced throughout with clever comedy.
We loved Ray Stevens. His hilarious Freddie Feelgood (And His Funky Little Five Piece Band) was one of our showstoppers.
*The Series …While Listening To Myself In The Mirror, chronicles the milestones, influences and progression of the musical career and times of Arnold Faber, Canadian Career Musician/Composer. The intent is strictly to inform, entertain and chronicle a 38+ year career in Canadian music history.