Welcome to the A-Camp Family Band Show
Marni: The Family Band is my whole heart you guys, I just love it so much. Over the years we’ve gone from one rehearsal 30 minutes before the show at the first camp (which was played under full house lights) to now weeks of individual prep and then scheduled rehearsals and a full-on respectable stage and sound setup (thanks Carly and Grace!).
Stef: The Family Band concert is the best part of camp as far as I’m concerned, and this camp SO MUCH PREP went into making it our tightest show ever.
Marni: I can’t say enough about all the beautiful people who come together every year to make up our family. Stef and Alex, the tightest rhythm section around, held it down as always, and we had staffer Laura Mandanas on keys, camper Kristi on sax, and motherfucking Djuan Trent tearing it UP on vocals. Not to mention the DANCE CREW and our amazing musical guests Mal, Jenny and Julia who are now lifelong members.
Chelsey: The family band concert was THE BEST, not least of all because I finally got to be the A/V Club Intern! Grace even let me work the lights for a whole ten seconds.
Whitney: I love the family band. Marni is a rockstar. Stef is a bass wizard. Alex is an amazing drummer. Laura Mandanas rocks the keyboard.
Kai: By this time, I had danced all day — scratch that, ALL CAMP. And I was tired, people, like so tired. As soon as Uptown Funk hit, though, I knew this was the performance of our career. Plus, Carmen, Gigs and Rosemary were in turn-down-for-what mode. And for good reason because we basically broke the stage.
Gigler: UPTOWN FUNK was by far one of my favorite moments of camp, we had the Best time, from learning to rehearsing to the real deal, it was a beautiful mess that sprouted into a masterpiece.
Carmen: We had practiced for a few hours, stressed a few more, drank some liquor about it, etc. – but nothing prepared me for the adrenaline that then made it possible for us to do the entire thing perfectly in sync in front of shouting people and also Gabby laughing so hard right near me that I almost cracked up multiple times.
Gigler: I could never and will never get over the fact that Carmen was lip syncing to Marni’s voice, I think it’s the funniest thing that ever happened. I tried to keep a cool unbothered mug but I was geeekin and my internal monologue the whole time was like “THIS IS SO FUCKING FUN WE ARE TOO HOT HOT DAMN THERE’S A MF SAXOPHONE OVER HERE”. I can’t say enough about having a sax player in our jamily band. Thank you Kristi!
Stef: We were so lucky that she offered to play sax with us, which brought a bunch of the songs to the next fucking level.
Carmen: Whatever, it was NBD. It’s not like I’ve peaked or anything.
Rory: It was the best thing I have ever seen. Hot damn.
Stef: Nothing will ever top Carmen Fucking Rios as Bruno Mars, with the babely A-Camp Dance Team behind her (and I will never be done unpacking my complicated feelings for the entire dance team).
Trent: I was losing my mind a little bit like, “Woah! Does no one else understand what is happening right now… Carmen IS Bruno Mars! Like, “Who is Bruno Mars? I’ll take Carmen for $500, Alex!” Duh! The dancers killed it! Marni… once again, bringing all the soul! Alex fucking it up on the drums like the boss that she is! Stef in that fucking cape on that fucking bass, YES MA’AM.
KaeLyn: I never really liked the song (don’t judge me), but now I love it because every time I hear it on Hits 1 I imagine Carmen is right there in the car with me in her Bruno drag and my heart grows three sizes. True story: it came on the other day and I just have had a goofy look on my face because Waffle looked at me and said, “You’re imagining Carmen, aren’t you?”
Kai: Here’s a little behind the scenes action: As soon as we disappeared behind the wall, I full on collapsed in a chair for breathing purposes and Cee was all – Are you ok? – but it’s fine cuz I’m alive now. The next thing I heard was Trent! Trent! Trent! and I would’ve yelled too but I was busy saving my life with water.
Gigler: Then Djuan came on and blew all our wigs right off the mountain.
Carolyn Wysinger: Doing the “Tightrope” dance with campers — well, two campers in the aisle while Trent sang — was the damn best.
Stef: Marni crushed it as always and Trent owned the stage from the first second.
KaeLyn: Trent. Trent. Trent. Trent. Everyone was great, but Trent’s “Tightrope” performance was the highlight for me. I think Trent should be the spokesperson for the Selfie Stick because she sold us all.
Mey: Oh my gosh, Trent was like, pure heaven. A few days earlier, a bunch of us on staff were hanging outside of Eagle when the band was practicing and we heard Trent and were like, woah, what is this magical sound? And then she was even more amazing on the night of the actual concert!
Trent: I would just like to say… if I don’t get invited back to A-Camp for anything else ever in my life, can I please always be invited back for Family Band?! This was the best thing! I freaking loved it so much!!! I was so nervous, but everyone’s energy was so great, we had no choice but to have a good time!
Stef: Guys, that song is super fast and not easy to play at all, but by that point I was bulletproof (Bulleit proof?) and nothing could stop me. I’ve never had more fun doing anything in my whole life. We’ve never been able to pull of drum solos and dance breakdowns before, but Trent’s energy was just infectious. I don’t think Alex Vega gets enough credit for being a fucking brilliant drummer, the backbone of the whole thing, and I can’t say enough about the talented AV team who gave us the smoke machine and light show of our dreams.
Yvonne: I wanted to give Trent like 10 standing ovations but we were already standing and going wild for her.
Rachel: I can’t wait to wait in line for days to get tickets to Trent’s nationwide arena tour. I’m gonna buy so much merch.
Laura W: Trent as Janelle Monae! Carmen as Bruno Mars! Marni as Marni! Videos just don’t do this night justice.
Whitney: Trent performed the most amazing cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” and Janelle Monae’s “Tightrope” I have ever, ever heard. And on top of these amazing humans performing the most amazing music, there was Mal, Jenny and Julia adding so much good energy to the mix.
Whitney: Stef on bass is AMAZING. She rocked the bass riff for “Tightrope” so hard—she is magic. Her cape is magic. She is bassmagic.
Ali: After much water, I was sober enough to scream like a teenager when Jenny Owen Youngs and Mal Blum sang “Shake it Off.” That’s my jam, and if there had been room I would have done aerobics.
Whitney: “Shake It Off” was performed by a raucous and high-energy Jenny Owen Youngs, which I sung along to with abandon.
Riese: PEAK JENNY.
Trent: Mal Blum, how do you keep it so cool in a gold blazer, though??? Julia bringing all the sexy back! And Jenny with all the energy and fun and spunk. I love you all and I’ll give you babies if you want… but you’ll have to pay. Just sayin’.
Stef: I was thrilled to perform “Torn” with Mal, “Lovefool” with Julia and “Shake It Off” with Jenny. I had been sort of intimidated to perform with Jenny and Julia cos they were both new and both like, musicians of note, but they were both such goofballs and so much fun to work with and just killed on stage. Our guest vocalists were all so incredibly top notch this camp and I felt so fucking fortunate to have a chance to play with these talented humans.
Riese: It was like a guilty pleasure playlist performed by people who I feel no guilt about ADORING.
KaeLyn: Also respect to Laura Mandanas, who was on keys and who very quietly slipped in and out during the set. I don’t know if anyone saw her there, but she was THERE and she was fantastic.
Morgan: They played, I still can’t believe it, they played “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show, which is a song I love for many reasons chief of which is because it is about my home, Raleigh, North Carolina. I danced wildly with the lovely pink-haired Rachel B. and that meant so damn much to me to bring a little of the South to camp. (Something Trent and I have so much desire to do more of. #southerngirls)
Whitney: Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel” always gets me in my heart and this cover made me feel feels I didn’t know I even had.
Carolyn W: After that I felt the urge to grab the tambourine from Alex and start singing a hymn. Alex promised next year I can lol.
Marni: My dad was so happy to see me playing his old banjo!
Stef: Also I got to wear a dress with a print of cats at a movie theatre on it, and I’m not sure I can ever top that. After the show, I decided I’d peaked and wisely put myself to bed.
Dannielle: Everyone had such a fucking blast and it was so fun to be a part of and to watch. Well done, Family Band. I wanna help so much more next time. I’m so good at arranging mashups and harmonies and rapping. TAKE ME FAMILY BAND. TAKE ME.
Kristin: Nothing better than this concert has ever happened. EVER. I saw Boyz II Men in 1994 and this was FORTY THOUSAND TIMES BETTER. Carmen was fucking Bruno Mars. Jenny was some sort of Blink 182-Taylor Swift mashup. Julia used her sexy shoulders to set the camp on fire. MAL WORE A GOLD SHRUG. Also, Trent, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? I have never seen anything better than this in my entire life ever.
Laneia: WAIT KRISTIN I saw Boyz II Men in 1994 too! I agree this was better than that.
Riese: I AM SO JEALOUS OF BOTH OF YOU. But damn this show was good. The band, the A/V Club, the dancers, THE AUDIENCE. I honestly truly just can’t believe I have such good friends.
Elicia: Omigod the concert! THE CONCERT. A-Camp Family Band! Gigler! Kai! Trent! Julia! Alex! Stef! Mal! Jenny! MARNI! UPTOWN FUNK. I don’t have the words to fully express how great you all are and the joy you add to my living time on Earth. It’s too much to say.
Gigler: That was a damn good show, that was a damn concert, yinz shoulda handed out tickets and wrist-bands and sold some patches and shit. I was in rehearsals and I still wasn’t ready.
Marni: I’ve never had more fun playing a show in my whole gosh darn LIFE. My whole life!
Carly: This was the most labor-intensive day for the A-Camp A/V Club because we had to take the setup in Eagle and take it apart to set up everything for the state fair. Then we had to put it back together for the A-Camp Family Band performance. Finally we had to take everything apart again to set up for the dance. So it’s a lot. But it’s worth it, because the A-Camp Family Band was spectacular! Trent, you are amazing. Please come to camp forever.