Aug 17

So You Want To Play The Schuster? Audition Day!

DAYTON – August 11,2013

Story by Gery L. Deer

(Photos and video by Debra Bays)

The Brothers & Co. ready for their Schuster audition with Dad (Gary Deer Sr.) in tow.

The Brothers & Co. ready for their Schuster audition with Dad (Gary Deer Sr.) in tow.

In all the years we have been performing together, we have only had to audition once, but when the opportunity came to be a part of a local talent extravaganza at Dayton’s Schuster Performing Arts Center, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity. The day brought with it some great fun and rare opportunities for The Brothers & Co.

“So you want to play the Schuster?” is a local talent show to be presented on September 29th to help celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the opening of the Schuster Center. For the last several years, we have been a regular part of the Wintergarden Wonderland holiday entertainment in the Schuster and, partly because of that, we received an invitation to audition early in the process and wasted no time answering.

The day began 24 hours earlier, with Gary Jr and Gery at Freedom Farm preparing the bus for the short trip and resetting the Brothers’ band room for our first rehearsal in a couple of weeks. After our Annie Oakley days performance and with Gery in Indiana for a week of solo shows there, things were still a bit disorganized. But the guys had things up and ready in short order. On Sunday morning, everyone met up at the farm, once again with Jr. and Gery arriving early.

Gery’s task was to rearrange their most popular vocal piece from nearly 4 and a half minutes down to less than 2. Not an easy task, but, with a stopwatch, a pen and his mom’s Wurlitzer, “Blue Moon” was reduced to 1 minute and 45 seconds with all of the guys’ signature alterations intact. With the bus loaded, everyone on board and a song in hand ready to meet the 2 minute requirement, Noah’s Ark pulled out at 11:30am for the 40 minute trip into Downtown Dayton.

Noah's Ark taking up multiple parking spaces on Second St. in Dayton. (Thanks to Pam Suske for the HD spruce-up of the photo!)

Noah’s Ark taking up multiple parking spaces on Second St. in Dayton. (Thanks to Pam Suske for the HD spruce-up of the photo!)

A relaxing and relatively uneventful drive landed us on Second and Main lucky enough to find a parking spot large enough just across from our target. Jr. got us parked and locked down the bus while Jim and Gery went in to find out where we needed to be. As they entered the Schuster, they were greeted by the buzz of excited performers waiting their turn or relaxing after experiencing, for some, the most difficult 2 minutes of their lives. Although we were not in costume, the young woman at the check in desk immediately recognized Gery and had him sign in and provided all of the information needed for the afternoon. As it turned out, the audition time, originally set for 1:30pm, had been bumped back to 1pm! Glad we were early!

A little practice on the bus before the audition.

A little practice on the bus before the audition.

Back at the bus, Ed tuned up for a practice as Jim and Gery returned and they began running through the altered version of their song. The first run through went perfectly and the second was even better, so it was time to dress and make our way to the audition space.

Thanks to Jr’s unique level of mechanical ingenuity, two roof-top air conditioners powered by an RV generator (all of which were scavenged from wrecked RV’s) created an arctic atmosphere on board the bus. Curtains separate the dressing spaces from the seating areas and in a few minutes everyone was clad in our signature black.

  (Video – The second run-through of Blue Moon on the bus before the audition)

Going into the practice area.

Going into the practice area.

Gery and Jim lead the way, with Debra and Ed close behind as Jr. hung back to keep Gary Sr. company since he moves a bit more slowly these days. Once inside, our wait was brief. Only a few moments after we got in they called us to the practice room and we ran through the song once more. Now it was on to the stage door to wait a bit longer where an odd conversation was going on between Jim and one of the theatre workers about the cabling tracks on the wall. Anything to distract was helpful.

Gery asked Jim if he was nervous, but his answer was pretty definitive. “No, why are you?” “No,” Gery said. “Is that weird?” But, no one was really too nervous about the whole thing and before we knew it, we were being called in.

On paper, you were supposed to take less than 90 seconds to prepare before beginning your song. But we took less than 15 seconds to set up. After that, the stage crew spent at least 2 or 3 minutes setting microphones for the video capture of the audition to be used in voting on YouTube later. (More on that to come.)

While giving us instructions, Jr. and Jim clowned with the judges, showing off our signature ridiculousness with great response. A moment later, they had us run through part of our song for a sound check to the videographer after which one of the panelists said, “I remember you guys.” Though she was smiling, it’s not clear if that was a good recollection or not. Then we were off to the races.

We’d been told that the woman on the far left would hold up a sign reading, “10 Sec” to warn us that our time was almost up. They cued us and Ed began the opening strums. With the exception of Gery missing a word – which hopefully was drowned out enough not to be noticed – the music went perfectly and we were well under the 2 minute time. In fact, the girl with the sign had an easy run with us never even getting to do her job. Once finished, they dismissed us and we thanked them, collected our guitar case and water bottles and exited stage right. All went well.


IMG_6169IMG_6181On the way out, Gery met with one of the theater association people who he’s worked with on the WDTN show, Living Dayton. She was surprised to see him having no idea he and his family did this kind of entertaining. After a few pleasantries, we made our way outside and headed towards the bus for the drive back. That is until Jim and Debra decided to take some Beatles-styled outdoor photos in front of the Schuster.


Some of us had issues with the long wait, but still found a way to pass the time.

Some of us had issues with the long wait, but still found a way to pass the time.

Anticipating our camera interview ...

Anticipating our camera interview …









While we were waiting the theatre representative Gery spoke to earlier came out to speak to us about sticking around a bit longer. Jim Bucher (local TV GUY!) was coming around to do some interviews of performers to use in an anniversary video and she asked if we would participate. Of course, we agreed and the waiting began. We waited for a little over an hour but soon it was our turn on camera. (You have to be patient in this business if you want to get the good spots!)

“Buch” as he’s known to the Dayton viewers, had worked with Gery a number of times, both with whip performances and on the Living Dayton program. They planned out how they were going to shoot the interview and video commenced. It was a fun back and forth with stories about why we wanted to be in this show and our bass singer’s former employment at the previous tenant of this space -Rike’s department store. In the end, Buch had Gery crack his whip after all of the guys held an anniversary cake and called out, “Happy Anniversary” into the camera. All in all, a great segment to use for promoting the Schuster’s big event!

TVGuy Jim Bucher interviews The Brothers & Co. about their participation in the  auditions.

TVGuy Jim Bucher interviews The Brothers & Co. about their participation in the auditions.

After a long afternoon, we said our goodbye’s and thanked our hosts and Mr. Bucher and made our way back to the bus to head home. Everyone was tired and starving but it was a great afternoon. We stopped for food on the way back and finished the day out with a few hours of loose, fun practice back at the farm. So what happens next? We wait.

On August 19th, they’ll announce the top 25 and post videos of the acts on YouTube giving the public a chance to vote on their favorites. IF we make it to that list, we’ll be sending out requests to all of our family and fans to go and vote for us to make it to the top 15 which will be in the show in September. So keep an eye out! Here are some more videos and photos from audition day, including a long-view of the Bucher interview. See you down the road!



UPDATE: Well, we didn’t make it into the finals, but it was a fun event. The Schuster is missing out, though. People are hungry for clean, fun, family entertainment from here in the Dayton area and we’re it! SO book us for your next corporate event!


Videos – Behind the scenes of the Jim Bucher interview. 

1) Full coverage …

2) A message with the speed of sound …