Thursday, March 17, 2011

Remembering The Teen Clubs and Teen Dance Venues 12/31/10 New Years Eve

My thoughts spin back to those days, when the earth was still cooling.
Like many of my contemporaries, I was  prepping for another New Year’s Eve… the annual New Year’s Eve gig ( for a horn player ( ed note :saxophone ) , this was making sure, inter alia ( ed note : among other things ), that you had the right number of reeds that were shaved down to just the right level, that the band’s “uniform of the evening” was cleaned and pressed, and that one’s weejuns were highly polished ). This was always  a big night for a number  of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that, on NYE, the money was usually no less than 2X to 3X our usual rate!

Thoughts of those days, for some reason, lead me to think about how important Catholic teen clubs were to us, especially early on, when, like so many others, we were just coming out of the blocks. Drive around Louisville, especially in many of the older neighborhoods, and it feels like about every 10 blocks or so, you spot another parish church. Almost every one of those parishes had its own teen club, with names like SaRaTeen  ( St. Raphael’s ), ChaLaLou ( Church of Our Lady of Lourdes) and HoFa ( Holy Family ). OK, OK, so maybe the money wasn’t all that great ( or even all that mediocre, come to that ), but each club was a venue…an opportunity… for aspiring singers and their musicians to get in front of a live audience of their peers, to conquer their fears and to hone their skills.

So, imagine if Louisville had been, dare I say, “less Catholic”. Sure there’d have been the VFW, the Highland Post, FoP, Gypsy Village and a few others, but ( and here, admittedly, memories are a bit faded ), I recall those venues as more the “big time”, after a band had a following, and, in some  cases, even a record or two. 

OK, OK, not so much the Pope, then,  or even the Archbishop for that matter, but all those parish priests and nuns who gave the “go ahead” to their teen committees to hire the young hopefuls to perform in their clubs…they ought to belatedly recognized and thanked. There probably are other towns in America that provided similar opportunities, but it strikes me that what we had in Louisville was particularly nurturing and rewarding.

Tim Hughes
An Original Member of the Monarchs


  1. I remember a "battle of the bands" at one of the parish teen clubs (can't remember which one) - itwas a real blast - I believe the band was in it's "Nehru Jacket" phase at that point. Can't forget gigging at Champ's Roller Rink in VS either - always a lively crowd to play for!

  2. Anyone remember the attic circa 1966?