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By Jonathan Villegas

Finally, the SDCB (San Diego Concert Band) performed “That ‘70s Concert”...far out!

SDCB was to kick off the city of La Mesa’s “Sundays at Six” summer concert series at Harry Griffen Park in La Mesa, California, on June 8, 2003. On that day, however, summer refused to make her entrance, opting instead to treat the people of San Diego to rain…so the concert was cancelled. SDCB’s rained out concert was later rescheduled for August 24th, which made it the last of La Mesa’s “Sundays at Six” concerts for the 2003 season. For a PDF of the original concert series flyer, click here. I noticed that one of the concert sponsors was Moze Guitars. I did not, however, get a free guitar or free use of a guitar. Hmm.

SDCB’s “That ‘70s Concert!” program of 1970s era pop songs required two instruments that are not normally part of a concert band: an electric guitar and an electric bass. Yours truly answered the call to play the electric bass. Since my brother, Ted, is a member of the band (trumpet), I got the call fairly early. However, it was only about 3 weeks from my 1st rehearsal with the band to the 6/8/03 concert date. The rainout cancellation was a blessing in disguise since I didn’t feel all that ready that day. I actually rehearsed two charts with the band for the 1st time on the last rehearsal before the June 8th concert. Pressure? What pressure?

As a newcomer to the band, I have to say that the band members I met were friendly with a few personally expressing their gratitude for “playing with us”. Very nice!

Fast forward to Sunday, Aug. 24th…. The start time for the concert was 6:00 p.m., but the band had to assemble at 5:00 p.m. for a sound check and mini-rehearsal. It was freakin’ hot – definitely summer going on there! I had a lot of gear to set up, including my heavy 100W Ampeg combo bass amp, which made me hotter still. I was there around 4:00 p.m. Ted was already there when we (Mary Anne and I) arrived. Ted had audio/video equipment to set up.

The concert venue was in an amphitheater inside the park. We drew a good-sized crowd. Family friends Rudy and Lhorie Ignacio were in the audience as well as half the city of La Mesa. (Maybe exaggerating a little on that last part.)

Before the concert started, SDCB director Abelardo Flores gave a little introduction by describing some of the goings on in the “Me Decade” of the ‘70s…tumultuous political events, CB radios, catch phrases such as “right on!”, etc. It was all coming back to me…déjà vu all over again!

All in all, the concert went well both from a band standpoint and my own personal standpoint (not too shabby for a hearing-impaired guy whose ears are bad enough to use a cochlear implant).

The crowd loved the concert! I finally got to play disco, with a concert band no less. One of the more challenging things for a bass player to play is the eighth note “disco octave lick”, which needs to be played evenly and in time…for about 3+ minutes. With “Get Up and Boogie”, I can now finally say, “Been there, done that, bought the t-(polo) shirt.”

Special kudos go to drummer Fred Allee. A bass player benefits from a good drummer and I had one.

Last but not least, Villegas family history was made that day. It was the first time in history that my brother Ted and I played together in the same band in a major public venue. That the music was from the ‘70s was very apt, as both our high school days were spent in that decade. It was a real trip, that concert. Right on, brotha, right on!

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©2003 Jonathan Villegas/Small Fish Productions
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