How to Get Started with Your Band

How Everything Started

My pal, the brilliant trumpet/flugelhorn/post-horn player, composer, band leader and music educator John Worley and I have decided to collaborate (can you tell I’m proud to be his friend?!). This took some time, as we began this discussion about 5 years ago. In February 2015, I recommended that we put together an R&B band. In August of 2015 we decided to meet on September 1 (my birthday) to discuss our project. Turns out I had the R&B band in mind, and John had a corporate band in mind. I wasn’t prepared for this, but pondered for a couple of minutes and thought, “Okay.”

What are Corporate Bands?

For those not familiar with the term, ”corporate band” it is a band that plays for company parties, weddings, private parties and the like. Typically this type of band is dedicated to current and past covers of top 40 songs. Corporate bands can also specialize in specific genres such as Motown, Musical Theater, Country Western, Big Band, etc. Any corporate band is geared toward making money. And making money playing live music is, typically, a rare thing unless you are in one or more corporate bands that work!

Finding the Right Sound & Band

As I delved into researching our options I noticed that most groups were dominated by musicians who were in their 30’s or younger. This did not bode well for me as I am … well … a bit older. Thus I realized this would definitely limit our possibilities. Though I commend John for wanting to form a corporate band with an older front woman I felt it was best to put the kibosh on going down that road. Also, upon further discussion it came to light that I really didn’t want to sing covers anymore unless I could do them my own way and perform original material as well. So, back to plan “A”; R&B! That was February 2016. In March 2016 I was asked to perform a concert for Pacifica Performances.

And a New Band was Born

What an honor! What a great opportunity! And so here we go! John and I have put this group together with the sole purpose of starting a new R&B band! It’s called “Wendy Waller and Torch”. Here’s the line-up: John Worley-Trumpet, Johnnie Bamont-Sax, Scott Sorkin-Guitar, Wally Schnalle-Drums, Rich Girard-Bass, Brian Ho-Organ … and Moi. When it comes down to it, I’ve been singing R&B for years, but now you’re gonna dance more as you listen. This sound actually harkens back to my early days when I played at Rudy’s and the Gate House in downtown Palo Alto.