Monday Knights

by Bob Sparrow

The stage is set

My only choice about a blog this week was to write about what has consumed me for . . . I was going to say the last several weeks, but, honestly, it’s been longer than that.

I had an idea at the beginning of the year that our band, Monday Knights (Bandmembers: Dan Autovino, Randy Davis, Larry Eiffert, Ron Vallandingham and me), could do a gig at our golf club by creating a version of America’s Got Talent, without the competition.  We would highlight and MC the show and call it Yorba Linda Country Club’s Got Talent.  Randy Davis and I pitched it to Rob Abbott, YLCC’s food & beverage manager and sold him on the idea.  I think the lack of any entertainment for the last year, due to the Coronavirus, had something to do with Rob agreeing to let our ‘rookie’ band have a Saturday night on the summer schedule.

So, we wrote a show with three phases, 1) us singing some songs, some comic banter and having ‘Elvis’ drop in, 2) showcasing those at YLCC who volunteered to show off their talent, and 3) morph into a ‘dance band’ and get the audience on the dance floor, dancing and singing along with us.

Elvis was in the building!

After a cocktail hour and a dinner, from our first song, we felt that the audience, which was about 120 strong, was with us.  To be fair, the audience was a bit stacked in our favor – much of the audience was golf members who were our friends, other friends who were not members of the club and I was more than pleased to have 18 people from my immediate neighborhood (‘The ‘Hood’) in attendance; so even if we weren’t very good, they might not say it.  Now that I think about it, they probably would! Also in attendance was our new General Manager, Tom Forburger, who, if we ever wanted to play there again, we needed to impress.

The first set went well, highlighted with an appearance by Elvis (Ron).  For the talent portion we had seven performers, six singers (Mary Stolo, Mark Holte, Francine Forquer, Richard Shuldiner, Sa Cool and Joe Leonardi), whose acts were interspersed with comedy from YLCC’s Member President, Bill Tragoes, in various costumes, Irish, Doctor and Pirate to match the joke he was telling.  All acts were very well received.  A special thanks to Shari Henkemeyer, who coordinated the whole event.

The final set was some old-time rock and roll – things like Mustang Sally, a Buddy Holly mash up and Johnny B. Goode.

Given that my last 60 days had included knee-replacement surgery, a bout with Sepsis and the stress of preparing for this event, I now not only feel better, but much less stressed.  I’m looking forward to Hawaii in a couple of weeks, assuming that the Aloha State stays open.

I can almost taste that first Mai Tai now!

But first, a big thank you to all those who attended and made it such a great evening!

An Evening of Fun with the Monday Knights

by Bob Sparrow

Monday Knights doing a ‘sound check’ before their big concert, errr recital

It was about a year ago when three of us guys (Ron Vallandingham, Michael Amoroso and me) decided we’d get together and ‘jam’ – we all played guitar, sort of. Prior to last Saturday’s ‘recital’ we had added a base player (Randy Davis), a drummer (Larry Eiffert), lost one guitar player (Amoroso) and got a better understanding of why bands break up. I call it a recital, rather than a concert because it was more like a child’s first public piano or dance exhibition . . . mostly something only a parent would appreciate. Concerts are done by professionals, and we are technically the opposite of ‘professional’ as we not only didn’t get paid, we bought our audience’s dinner and drinks as a incentive to come and listen to us. But, we’ve maintained our amateur standing, so we have that going for us.   The ‘recital’ was in Randy’s backyard and attended by 70 some-odd people – yes, some were very odd, but all seemed very appreciative.

What kind of band are we? We’re still trying to figure that out ourselves: Part rock – prehistoric rock; part pop – Ma & Pop Kettle; part folk – old folk; mostly a random cacophony of noise with flashes of melodic chords with windows of harmony. While it was no Woodstock, it seemed like everyone was enjoying themselves and feeling the love, but again these were our family and friends and weren’t disposed to criticizing our playing and singing, especially while drinking our wine.

Throughout the evening we pretended to be a real band, telling our audience that this was the last stop on a 13-city tour from Fontana to Stanton (It was the one and only stop); telling them they could buy a ‘Monday Knights’ tee shirt in the gift shop – there was no gift shop, however we were willing to sell the shirts we were wearing, but no offers. And just like a real band, we learned to play over the hum of a chatty audience.

The evening ended with an open mic with drummer, Larry playing disc jockey to karaoke – some really good voices, including son, Jeff, who also designed the band’s logo and shirts.  – you can order one online (No you can’t). Where did you get your name and what’s next for the Monday Knights?  The name came from several places, 1) we all belong to Yorba Linda Country Club’s Monday Night Fantasy Football League, 2) after football season was over we started practicing together on Monday nights, and 3) If we ever get a real gig, it will probably be on a Monday night . . . late. Whenever that next gig is, we’ll have to wait until our bank accounts get replenished, so we can again afford to buy dinner and drinks.  We’ll keep you posted.