Accordion, Instrument of the Gods It Happened to Me Music

The Post-Wedding Jam Session

The Party After the Party

I’ve got to tip my hat to my brother-in-law Andy and new sister-in-law Sue. Most newlyweds are happy to vanish into their room after the reception; they decided to throw an after-party. I like a good post-party party as much as the next free-wheeling accordion-playing bacchanalian bon vivant, but even I retired to the honeymoon suite after my own reception. Kudos for Andy and Sue for choosing not to go quietly into the night!

Even better, they didn’t just make do with their hotel room’s decor. There’s nothing wrong with the colonial charm of the rooms at the Avon Old Farms Hotel; it’s just that it needed a little goosing to get it just right for this sort of party. Luckily Andy and company brought decorations worthy of a Phish-head’s VW van including flashing lights, spinning colored lights like the one shown in the photo below…

Party in Andy and Sue’s room before we got kicked out

…plus a couple of oil wheel projectors aimed at the wall to produce images like this:

Oil wheel projector image

There were refreshments aplenty: a couple of coolers packed with beer, a few bottles of liquor, some pop, salty snacks of all sorts and a couple of kielbasa sausages.

As for a sound system, it wasn’t necessary. Most of us at the party had performed earlier that evening at the reception. Among Andy’s many talents are some mad balalaika skills, and his friends from his balalaika group were among us. They — and through a very generous invitation, I — performed a short set of Russian and Jewish tunes after dinner. Other guests at the after-party had also brought guitars and tambourines.

Here’s what the party looked like as it was getting into full swing:

Party in Andy and Sue’s room before we got kicked out

Shut Down

Moments after I took that photo, someone from the hotel knocked at our door.

“We’ve got some complaints from your neighbours about the noise,” he said, sticking his head through the door and looking around. We were about a dozen in total, half of whom had an instrument.

“I know where this is headed,” said Andy to the rest of us.

I started to take my accordion off when the hotel guy said something very, very unexpected.

“You could use the lobby,” he suggested.

I’m sure at least three of us said “Huh?”

“Use the lobby. No rooms near it; the sound won’t carry.”

We asked if we could bring our booze and snacks, and he said as long as we cleaned up after ourselves, it was fine with him.

The group made its way to the lobby as quietly as semi-drunk people with musical instruments who’d stumbled on some unexpected good fortune. I helped in finding a luggage cart and wheeling the booze and food to the lobby.

Lobby Jam Session!

Years of lucky breaks — remember, many lucky breaks are made, not had — have taught me to have a camera ready when they happen. Here are the photos I took:

Post-wedding jam session in the hotel lobby

As you can see, where the hotel room was a bit cramped, the lobby has elbow room to spare.

Post-wedding jam session in the hotel lobby

You can see the front desk in the photo below. The night concierge didn’t seem to mind the jamming, and neither did the very people who passed by on the way to their rooms.

Post-wedding jam session in the hotel lobby

Taking pictures of musicians playing is tricky. Your subjects may be having a good time, but the split-second moment captured by the camera coupled with a musician’s concentration can make it seem as if you’re taking pictures in a depression ward:

Post-wedding jam session in the hotel lobby
That’s Serge on the left, playing the balalaika and Jason on guitar on the right.

I swear, he’s having a great time:

Post-wedding jam session in the hotel lobby
Rick on balalaika.

Really, we’re having fun!

Post-wedding jam session in the hotel lobby
Sascha on balalaika.

Okay, finally a smile:

Post-wedding jam session in the hotel lobby
That’s Judy on the left on balalaika and Andy on the right playing the big honkin’ contrabass balalaika.

Here’s another shot of Andy on the big bass:

Post-wedding jam session in the hotel lobby

Here’s the Ginger Ninja, enjoying the show:

Post-wedding jam session in the hotel lobby

Sue was there too, but after an entire day of cameras in her face, I decided to spare her at the after-party. Don’t say I never did nuthin’ for ya, Sue!

Gin and Juice

We bounced between classic balalaika numbers and contemporary pop in our jam sessions. I decided to shoot some video for posterity. Here’s the video I shot — it’s our performance of The Gourds’ countrified rendition of Snoop Dogg’s classic number, Gin and Juice. Enjoy!

Thanks, Avon Old Farms Hotel!

In closing, I’d like to thank the very nice and very understanding people at the Avon Old Farms Hotel for letting us move our party into the lobby so that we could jam and still not disturb anybody. You rock for letting us rock!

5 replies on “The Post-Wedding Jam Session”

Oh. My. God. The Avon Old Farms Hotel. I had to spend, like, more than a week there back in… 1999? 2000? Something like that. I remember that lobby – nice to see it got rocked.

What great fun that was…thanks to the multitalented accordion guy and the balalaika folks for making it happen at 2am in a tony hotel lobby in Connecticut…my throat felt like the Gobi desert after singing that…C-dub (the balding guitarist)

I just watched the video!!What’s it been…..5 months?????A great winter pick-me-up!! Actually, Tom Korba, the contrabass player in the Minneapolis Balalaika group emailed the link to me months ago…how on earth did he find it??
Hope everyone is having lots of fun playing music during the holidays, and always!!!!

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