Monday, September 21, 2015

The Ralphettes

I have become the newest member of the Ralphettes. It is not everything I hoped for, but at least it's a start.

As far a I can tell, there is only one song in this backup group's repertoire:  Mustang Sally. The Ralphettes have sadly only performed on about a half dozen occasions over the last quarter of a century. All have been at weddings or bar-mitzvahs, and only when the entire group, and their lead singer Ralph, have been invited guests.

Saturday was their most recent performance. I have now been informed by one of the Ralphettes that they were given only an hour's notice before being called upon to do their thing. The lack of preparation showed. Trying to shake off the rust from so many years of inactivity, and not actually doing anything to get ready, the group's timing was far from perfect. It was, truth be known, a rather pedestrian showing by my now fellow Ralphettes.

They all should have known better. Ralph was the father of the bride and so the revival was all but assured. And when, earlier in the evening, Ralph took the mic and rock and rolled a couple of tunes, the inevitability of the reprieve of the group must have been crystal clear.

The Ralphettes, now all at or near the beginning of their seventh decade, know they need some new blood. And my blood, while probably older than any of theirs, still would at least add novelty. The first male to break the barrier. The first outsider, someone who had not been at any of the earlier performances of the group. The first without any rhythm at all. Well maybe that last one is not the highest of my qualifications.

After the festivities for the night had concluded, I went up to one of the Ralphettes to congratulate her on an unforgettable moment (I didn't say why it was unforgettable). She lamented the group's lack of readiness, and apologized for the unevenness of what I had witnessed. She had noticed my frenetic jumping up and down and almost spastic dance moves throughout the evening and thus discussion turned to the possibility of me making the group one larger.

I wonder if the Beatles thought that Ringo joining them would be the final piece of the puzzle. I wonder if Abbott felt the chemistry with Costello from the moment they shook hands on their partnership. I wonder if Hillary knew as soon as she laid eyes on Bill that her life would be changed forever.

After cementing my place in the Ralphettes with all its members, I immediately began to think big. Maybe we should break off from Ralph as he was stifling our creativity and our opportunity. And maybe we could enlarge our song list from one to two or three. And maybe there could be a new lead singer in town. Preferably a male.

My early career got off to a very promising beginning. When I was in fifth grade, I performed Under the Boardwalk before an audience of hundreds.  So what if the entire elementary school was required to attend the assembly. I am certain they hardly noticed the few off key sounds or the one octave range of my vocal cords. Sadly, my own group of backup performers and I disbanded after my one and only star turn. And equally unfortunate is that my upper and lower registers have only shrunk during the succeeding decades, leaving me virtually no song that can be sung in the proper key. But I am not deterred.

So what if I don't know if any of my fellow band members can carry a tune. Their few doo wops or whatever else was coming out of their mouths was drowned out by the clinking of glasses or scraping of knives and forks, by the chatter from the tables, or the general buzz in the audience as Ralph held court. It matters little. What is of more consequence is that we form a real identity and try to get a manager to get this thing moving forward.

One of my best friends represents a rock star now far on the wrong side of 60 whose career has been revitalized thanks to the magic of his manager. I wonder whether he would be interested in handling another band in need. an all girls backup band, with a guy. A guy without rhythm or voice. What could be more enticing.

I think the future is ours for the taking.

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