"Oh wow, I'm back at prom." That was my first thought upon entering the Trombone Shorty after-party at the Gaillard Exhibition Hall Friday night. The scene was complete with disco balls and a sprinkling of eager folks on the dance floor.
The band, Stan Gray and the Stingrays, kept the masses happy, especially Sarah Mae, Maggie David, Gervais Hagerty, and Kaleigh Monahan, who, moving and shaking it from the get-go, proved that all girls really want to do is have fun.
Circling the dance floor, who else should I find but the band geeks. (And I do mean that in the nicest way!) Just like I remember from high school, orchestra players Colin Asher Sugliff (french horn), Erin Banholzer (oboe), Leah Kovach (viola), and David Barford (oboe) were dancing off in their own area, having the time of their lives. The foursome, whos spent Spoleto playing for the Magic Flute and various other shows, were sneaking a few sips of the hard stuff before calling it a night to prep for their Saturday performances. Trombone Shorty was really inspiring, said Colin. "You can't compare what they do with what we do. It's like apples to oranges, but it was great."
As the band yelled, "Last call for alcohol," people crowded onto the dance floor as if it was Bourbon Street. No tops were lifted nor beads thrown (disappointing as it was a room full of damn fine people), but the spirit of New Orleans carried on as folks shimmied to one last song.
To the Spoleto Class of 2011, I hope you enjoyed your prom: A Midsummer Night's Jazzy New Orleans Moonlit Night Under the Stars to Remember.
I know I'll never forget it.