A Small Sample of
An Evening with the
Raytown Kiwanis Orchestra
An evening with The Raytown Kiwanis Orchestra begins in total darkness. As the crowd quiets down, a piano flourish is heard followed by a blast of trumpets – no, voices in four part jazz harmony singing horn parts. The lights come up on "Glad Rag Strut," a song and dance celebrating the good life, even if you can't afford one.
Jack Wride, back on the drums, starts a country shuffle beat and David Marchant extols the virtues of our wasted youth as an intro to "Baby Boom," a song that examines what we gained and lost on our way from the Eisenhower years to the Turn of the Millenium. Doug Latislaw lays down a righteous guitar solo in this one and everyone adds
harmony to the a capella last verse.
But enough of social self-examination. In an act of unabashed love for stride and pianistic pyrotechnics, David Boelke gallops in on "Hernia Rag," an instrumental he conceived while trying to haul an upright piano up three flights of stairs. His first title
for the piece is unprintable and the rag itself is so fast it should be unplayable, but Boekle tears on heedless of his bandmates' dire warning, "Don't take the piano, you'll kill yourself!"
To the plaintive strains of the Motel 6 theme (played soulfully on kazoo), Tom Bodett (David M.) in orange day-glo hunters
cap finally tells the truths we all suspect about the lodging giant. A ripping expose of corruption and bolted-down furniture!
The Mississippi Delta and 50's rock meet when Susan Harrison belts out her lusty, guitar-groupie-from-Tupelo version of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode". David M., on acoustic slide guitar, squeezes even more southern comfort out of this ode to the six-string. Dave B. is on barrelhouse ivories. Very cool.
When a summer storm raging outside suddenly grows quiet, it's time to get nervous. David M.'s "Twister" is about just such a moment. The entire band rips into his rocker like a funnel cloud laying waste to a trailer park and
doesn't let up until you know without a doubt where the south-west corner of your basement is!
From an alternate universe that has its own Grand Ole Opry comes Katy Bell Cutcheon (Paula Douthett) and
her Katydids, an act right out of the "Howdee!" Twilight Zone. Barefoot but decked out in Nashville finery, she tells of the life of a singing star on the road and the men whose hearts must provide the pavement in "Windshield of Love." CMT never saw anything like this.
And now, kids, it's time for science! Wanna know how fast the earth revolves? Wanna figure out the distance to the sun? Wanna see the shape of the Milky Way? No? Well, shut up, sit down and listen anyway! "The Galaxy Song" from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
will give you these and many other fascinating facts! Don't be an upper class twit, come along then, there's a good bloke. How about a wafer-thin mint, hmmm?
In a boa and an expression of utter world-weariness, Susan explains to one and all what it means to say "I'm Tired." The hilarious song from Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles
is a show stopper as Susan (or should we call her Lili?) searches the audience for a man, any man who can revitalize her overused libido. Line up, fellas, but don't get your hopes too high.
Summing up the evening and the Raytown Kiwanis Orchestra is David Boelke's "Old Time Travellin' Show," a
song that would have been at home in the early part of this century or the next. The music is stately, almost Victorian with just a touch of ragtime but the lyrics are pure RKO. If ya can't have a little fun with it, what the hell good is it? Not only a song, it's a credo. It ends with a big finish. Now go home!