A Beneficial Tradition by The Portland Megaband was recorded live at the March 14, 2009 Megaband contra dance. This recording captures the essence of the evening with 14 tracks of the jigs, reels, waltzes, and hambo that were performed and danced to that evening. The music is all played at contra dance speed and all tracks are short dance length.
The Portland Megaband began in 1996 with 25 musicians. In 2009 it has grown to 80 players, each bringing unique energy and expertise to the group. This all-volunteer band is open to any musician, on any acoustic instrument, at any experience level, and its members range in ability from professional to novice. The ages of 2009 Megabanders span eight decades; they play on 31 different instruments. The band’s tight, cohesive sound is the result of each member’s commitment to bringing their best to the group combined with 7 highly focused rehearsals. Some musical arrangements are worked out in advance, but many of them arise spontaneously at the dance and are communicated to band members through an elaborate set of predetermined hand signals by conductors Sue Songer and Gordy Euler.
Each year, dancers from all over the Pacific Northwest and points beyond join Portlanders at the Megaband Contra Dance. The dynamism of the Megaband in sync with the feet of hundreds of enthusiastic dancers makes for a supercharged experience for dancers and musicians alike. We have attempted to capture the feeling of the Megaband dance on this CD. The music has been edited down to fit the time requirements of one disc, but almost all of the original switches between tunes have been preserved, and the planned arrangements are intact. We hope that you, the listener, can experience (or re-experience) the pleasures of being at the event itself through this recording.