May 5, 2014

Model A Restorers Club National Membership Meet:

     St. Louis MARC members were planning to host their national meeting at The Hilton in St. Louis at Frontenac in 2014 and expressed interest in live music entertainment. The parameters were that the music had to be from the 1930's and 1940's with relevance to autos if possible.

     The Matt McCallie Orchestra has plenty of music from both decades so coming up with a song list was simple. But there was a huge challenge; their budget was only able to comfortably cover the cost of one musician, maybe two if no amplification was provided.

     The band was made aware in advance that the gig would have considerably lower pay than usual. Thanks to their willingness to be flexible we were able to provide a most impressive 18-piece jazz orchestra. Don and Peggy McCallie, who are also MARC members, donated enough additional funds to pay most of the musicians one third of their usual earnings. As always, the director accepted no pay to give as much as possible to the musicians who were so generous with their time.

     Scott and Leah Villmer similarly contributed their time and effort as roadies and photographers. Their assistance was crucial in setting up and tearing down the stage and their artistic skills helped document the event. Most of the images in this blog deserve their credit with editing by Matt McCallie.

     A list of songs from other decades was sent to the band before the show. A response with a list of songs that met the previously stated requirements that the band had been preparing was sent in return that ultimately satisfied the clients. Our setlist is below. Italicized titles indicate songs that engaged strings in addition to our big band.

     Event organizer Bert Schott had very kind words for us. We also heard there was concern from the folks who would be hosting the event in their state the following year. They said our performance was so impressive they would have to hire Barnum And Bailey's Circus to compete with the spectacle provided by The Matt McCallie Orchestra!

     We also had about 150 requests for CDs that day so we are aware that there is interest in the release of studio album. We have ongoing projects in the works to record and release more videos and audio recordings. Keep track of us on Facebook for updates regarding upcoming events and releases.

     Some of The Matt McCallie Orchestra's musicians have experience in the automotive industry. Some have worked in several shops all over the United States on passenger cars, class 8 big rig tractors, extreme hill climbing dirt bikes, snow machines, and extreme off road rock crawling and competition mud racing vehicles.

     Can you guess which band member drives a vehicle that is mostly homemade with very few remaining OEM parts, all replaced by upgraded and custom built equipment? Here is a hint; it grossed 30,000 lbs towing across thousands of miles through the American and Canadian Rockies on the way to and from Alaska. It can also run on many different types of fuels including Diesel #1 and #2, biodiesel, WVO, SVO, kerosene, JP8, up to 30% gasoline, and more. While much of it is still Ford it also has contributions from GM and Dodge.

     Car shows are enjoyable family activities. Designing, modifying, restoring, and building automobiles requires artistic vision, skills in engineering, problem solving, and a lot of time and effort. Some of the projects you will see at such events are intended as art, sport, recreation, utility, or just turning a profit. The most common thread at most of these shows is demonstrating what average citizens can do with limited resources to maintain and improve upon factory designs.