I could hear the music walking down Tradd. The sounds of a rocking three-piece band signaled that The Gospel at Colonus cast party must not be far away. Though I knew this fete would be in a beautiful South of Broad setting, it was even more stunning than I had expected.
At the gate, a caterer welcomed guests with cooling blackberry vodka lemonade. With cocktail in hand, guests entered a wonderland of hanging candelabras, bouquet-covered high-top tables, and a spread of spanakopita big enough to make the gods jealous. Keeping with the theme, the hosts had prepared lamb with tzatziki, hummus and pita, and of course mini baklava for dessert. The huge piazza overlooking the grand garden was laid with hurricane lanterns adding mystery to the property inside. Suffice it to say, it was gorgeous and I, but a peon in the grand social swirl, felt like I had no business being there.
But then I happened upon another out of place looking chap, Adam Larsen, the Gospel at Colonus projectionist. “I love working with this show because Lee (Breuer), our director, is so flexible,” Larsen told me. A freelancer, Larsen joined the cast this spring and had to develop an entire projection scheme in just a few days. Now he tours with the show and said Australia might be the next stop.
Just as I was beginning to ask Larsen about the cast, the band’s singer interrupted, “Okay, I’m going to need everyone out here on the dance floor for the Electric Slide!” Nothing says sophisticated fete quite like line dancing, and with those words I was transported to the deck of Carnival Cruise Ship welcome party. Two Post & Courier reporters dashed to the dance floor, followed by a very small handful of eager “sliders.”
Luckily there’s only so many times one can repeat, “Boogie woogie, woogie!,” before a singer exhausts herself. At that point the Gospel cast arrived. Encouraged by her small dance crew, however, the singer attempted to get the Gospel cast up for a singalong. That idea didn’t materialize. Instead she segued into some doo wop.
“I’m almost militant about amplification now,” said my friend from the Cripple of Inishmaan party, Sue Soderlund, rolling her eyes at the noise of the band. “I had to leave Trombone Shorty, even though I loved the music, because it was so over-amped,” she added. Soderland and husband Ted went to an impressive 22 shows in 15 days at this year’s Spoleto. A busy social schedule by anyone’s standards, the couple started supporting Spoleto in ‘88 by helping sell programs. “Back then if you sold enough programs pre-show they’d give you a free ticket,” said Ted. Not a bad way to encourage new Spoletians.
At the strike of midnight the band began packing up, leaving guests to chat. I took a last pull on my drink soaking in the final few moments I could call myself an SOB party attendee. I sat down my drink knowing that Spoleto 2011 was over. Time to turn back into a pumpkin and electric slide my way home.