Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Sue Orfield Show

I’ve written and written and written and written Sue Orfield.  I’m writing her again and will most definitely write her in the future.  

Many musicians have a “day job.”  They need one, because making a living playing music is hard, unpredictable and often grueling. Talent in itself isn’t sufficient.  There’s tons and tons of talented, brilliant musicians and artists in this world and while some will rise to the public consciousness through pure luck, most will remain unrecognized and unappreciated.  Partly because they don’t or won’t put in the hard work.  This is not Sue.  Not only is Sue Orfield talented and prolific, but she’s the hardest working musician I know.  And she’s the best.

Sue is a smart woman.  Sue is flexible.  Sue is responsible. She’s punctual, grounded, assertive and a quick learner.  Sue could be successful in a variety of venues.  She could settle down, work her 9-5 and collect a paycheck, living contentedly with Randy, getting a solid 8 hours of sleep. But she chooses to chase her passion: Music.  And we’re darned fortunate, because we’re reaping the benefits of her hard work.

Her most recent project takes us to the next level.  The project is the brainchild of Donna Berry the Development Director of Chippewa Valley Community Television (CVCTV). Donna, like me, is a fan of the local music scene. Donna not only recognized Sue’s talent, but also all those other qualities needed to make a great idea solid. She teamed up with Production Manager Aaron Rigby, Rick and Maryann Wold of Studio One Teleproductions and Alex Kolb of Eau Claire Steadi  and The Sue Orfield Show was born.

The Sue Orfield Show airs on Chippewa Valley Community Television on Saturday nights at 8:00 PM on cable channels 993 and 994 or via digital tuner 93-13 and 98-14. The show repeats at 8:00 pm Thursday on 993,  It  streams live at 8:00 pm Saturday and if that’s all too confusing for you (it certainly is for me) or if you miss a show never fear, you can catch it anytime on your computer.  Just go here.  A new episode will air the first Saturday of the month.

I’m really hoping you’ve already heard about the show, but if you haven’t, let me fill you in.   The show is hosted by Sue Orfield and each show features a musical guest or guest from the Chippewa Valley and upper Midwest.  To date there have been six featured guests.

Eddie Beavers is a Nashville refugee with a renegade’s heart, now living in the Chippewa Valley.  He sings old-style country and blues as only a hard-living man can--with soul and conviction.  The show is beautifully filmed and captures Eddie’s musical style and his loveable bad-boy personality.

Greg Gilbertson is a reclusive family man.  His musical genius occasionally flashes across the Chippewa Valley like a meteor.  And, like a meteor, if you’re not at the right place at the right time, looking in the right direction you’ll miss him.  Sue has captured him in all his original glory.

The Mike Malone Jazz Trio is comprised of three gifted young men: Mike Malone on drums, Jordan Jenkins on bass, and Josh Gallagher on piano.  Young and passionate, they're all still in college and while I haven't caught the trio I've seen Josh Gallagher sit in with Sue in other venues and I'm looking forward to seeing The Sue Orfield Show's episode featuring them.
  The Michael Rambo Project is a 5-piece band offering a little bit of rock, a healthy dose of jazz-funk fusion and a ton of Soul.  Michael’s music is influenced by the 70s and 80s and while he looks to be in his mid 30s, he attracts young, vital and versatile musicians into his fold. His songs are a reflection of his faith and is accessible to people of all beliefs.

Softly, Dear is local 5-piece indie-band.  This is a wonderfully multi-faceted group of young musicians and singer-songwriters, all from the Eau Claire area.  Their music is fresh and interesting and their lyrics approach poetry: “I’m digging for colors by my fingernails find only black/the wings on my feet are matched by the weight on my back.”  Watch this band, it’s going to go places.

The very first taping was with Eggplant Heroes. The last music show taped by CVCTV in front of a live audience was years ago and most of the current team hadn't worked on this type of project before.  I’ve been pleased to be in the audience for three of the five shows and have watched with pleasure the progression of this show.  The first set was, to the layman's eye, a controlled chaos of wires and cameras. Many of the production team are volunteers,some in their teens, and it’s shocking to see how young many of them are and even more shocking to see how professional they are.  

Nonetheless, having The Heroes as the first taping was overly ambitious for a couple of reasons.  First off, it’s a 7-man band.  That’s a lot of sound to handle for a pilot.  Second off, there’s Joel Pace.  One of Joel’s charms is he has a hard time keeping still.  And he likes to climb.  The camera-people just weren’t equipped to follow him around the studio, nor was the lighting.  Sue told me later that the set just looked too messy and in the end they decided to scrap the first taping.  But it wasn’t a wash, because the team learned and adapted.  Sue called Evan Middlesworth, owner of Pine Hollow Audio, in to run the sound, the team figured out how to make the set look cleaner and, when it came for the second taping of Eggplant Heroes, Joel showed admirable restraint and--for the most part--stayed in place.

The finished product of these tapings, of The Sue Orfield Shows are amazing.  Professional.  Remarkable.  

The Sue Orfield Show IS the Chippewa Valley and it is a gem.  A treasure.  And it needs our help. Funding for Chippewa Valley Community Television has been cut drastically in the past few years and the show needs our help to keep on air. There is an Indigogo Campaign to raise $9000 for the production and airing of this show.  The campaign launched on Monday, May 5th and has already raised just over $2000.

Music adds color and texture and meaning to our lives. It reflects our emotions and our personal experiences.  It gives words to our inner thoughts.  Our local musicians add to our quality of life and the value of our community.  And The Sue Orfield Show spotlights us.  Elevates us.  Showcases the talent of the Chippewa Valley in all its glory. This is us.  

I’ll be donating a small part of my paycheck to support the Sue Orfield Show until it reaches its goal, because I believe in Sue, I believe in the show and I believe in the Chippewa Valley. 

I hope you will too.
Tune in.  
Watch Sue.  
Watch our people.  
Listen, enjoy and revel.
And be a part of it.
Please donate.

Listen to Sue talking about her show on WEAU here and here.