Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Washtub Two--changing horses

An old expression speaks of "changing horses in the middle of the stream."
Well, we're actually closer to the other side, as it were; but, we've shifted our priorities.

When we set out to perform with our daughters as the McKinney Family Washtub Band, it began as a homeschool project to teach them the basics of music & performance, in which each of them had professed an interest.  We enjoyed considerable popularity on a small town level, & the girls gained experience & know-how that has served them pretty well since. 
Then they graduated--Dad referred to it as "escaping"--and our musical nest seemed abandoned, at first. 
We finally decided to see if we could continue, without the attractive charm of our offspring, as a duo. 
After a while, we decided we would take on the challenge of becoming professionals, eventually touring with modest success.  This blog is now an archive of that.

Our bread & butter--our "day job" you could say--was performing at the seemingly endless array of retirement communities around the region, & then across the country, most of which had, in those days, budgets which included professional entertainment for residents.
Judy (with the help of a friend who made us aware of this market) was able to book us at these facilities in a manner that enabled us to earn our way between festivals & venues pretty comfortably.
We could work in the daytime at the spectrum of such facilities, from luxury retirement residences, to assisted living communities, to rest homes, popping in, setting up, doing an hour show, then packing up & leaving in around three hours.  The pay was modest, but provided a consistent income & invaluable experience that turned us into a pretty polished "act."

At a certain point, when we & our rig were tiring of road life, we took a hiatus & Judy became the girl's dean & dorm mom at a Christian boarding school for a couple of years.
Then, it was back on the road for us.
We soon realized we had failed to be aware of changes in the retirement industry which had reduced, & in some cases eliminated, the entertainment budgets on which we had relied.  Our finances were so affected by this, that midway across the country we began to revise our overall plan.

The gist of our considerable consideration & prayer was that we would move to be nearer our now-married eldest daughter & her husband & see what we could find in that storied land of promise, Oregon.

We found that Oregon enjoys such a lot of "volunteer," or unpaid music, that there is virtually no income of substance for "locals," that is, folks who live here.
Oh, they'll fork over for almost any out-of-town act (as is the growing case with festivals), but if you're a nearby resident, no. 
Amateurs, civic group choruses, music students, & symphony musicians line up to cheerfully donate their time, having no idea they're providing free services to an extremely lucrative industry that doesn't really care much about the quality, as long as something is on their schedule representing "entertainment."  (Not that we're upset by this, or anything! 😉)

Since Whitt is possessed of a skill set which is esteemed of no value in this age, & is well past the age markets are looking to for new hires, Judy has become the breadwinner, working for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, resolving problems for their customers by phone & email.  That & Whitt's Social Security get us by.

This set of circumstances has prompted our musical focus to shift back to what we originally had in mind for the Family Band--opportunities to share Gospel music & the Gospel itself.

To that end (and until ours) we will perform our brand of comedy & music for churches & ministries on an offering basis. We have another website devoted entirely to that aspect of our life, Whitt & .
We hope you'll check it out.

Meanwhile, we'll maintain this one as a place we can share secular entertainment we find of interest, reviews, & entertainment commentary in general.  We'll see how that goes, anyway.
Thanks for stopping by, & please stay tuned!