How many concerts have the Cloud 9 Orchestra performed to date and what are some of the venues?

The Cloud 9 Orchestra has performed the following 19 shows to date (November 2, 2013):
  1. “Cloud 9 Christmas” at Martin Theatre in Panama City, FL (12/18/10)
  2. “Let Freedom Swing” at Northside Baptist in Panama City, FL (7/2/11)
  3. Patriotic Service at Northside Baptist in Panama City, FL (7/3/11)
  4. Chickfila Founders’ Winshape Retreat Center in Rome, GA (11/19/11)
  5. “Cloud 9 Christmas” at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in Birmingham, AL (12/10/11)
  6. “Cloud 9 Christmas” at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in Birmingham, AL (12/11/11)
  7. “Jingle Bell Swing” (Full Big Band) Benefit at Noah’s Ark on Panama City Beach, FL (12/22/11)
  8. “Valentines on Cloud 9” at the Bay Banquet Hall in Panama City, FL (2/14/12)
  9. “30A Wine Festival/CVHN Fundraiser” on the Kelly Green at Alys Beach, FL (3/3/12)
  10. Opening Band for “Relay for Life Benefit” at Tommy Oliver Stadium in Panama City, FL (4/20/12)
  11. “Fred Astaire Bday Celebration” at Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Panama City, FL (5/10/12)
  12. “Grand Opening Ball” for Studio 415 on Harrison Avenue in Panama City, FL (5/19/12)
  13. “Let Freedom Swing” at Northside Baptist in Panama City, FL (7/1/12)
  14. “High Five for Mike” Benefit at Garywood Assembly of God in Hueytown, AL (8/18/12)
  15. “Jingle Bell Swing” at Northside Baptist Church in Panama City, FL (12/22/12)
  16. “SEBC Presidential Council Dinner” at Vestavia Country Club in Vestavia Hills, AL (1/24/13)
  17. “Birmingham Freedom Festival” Benefit for 3Hots&ACot at Crestwood Festival Center in Irondale, AL (5/25/13)
  18. “HealthFirst CPR Day” at Spacecoast Stadium in Melbourne, FL (6/8/13)
  19. “Let Freedom Swing” at Lakeside Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL (6/30/13)
In addition to the concerts we have had eight radio, four live television, two newspaper, and three magazine interviews.   C9O Horn Section has also played the National Anthem for Birmingham Barons’ Game at Regions Field in Birmingham, AL.

Why is the group considered an orchestra?

We felt it best to classify the band as an orchestra because it allows us the freedom to add/subtract instruments as resources allow or as needed.  It allows us the flexibility to do smaller type jazz combos, a full-big band, our standard ten-piece configuration, and even a string variation of Cloud 9 Orchestra for weddings and civil war balls.  We say “the Sky’s the Limit,” and we mean it!  

How often do you rehearse?

Rehearsals are centered around specific gigs and are precisely planned for maximum efficiency.  We have professional players who are exceptional music sight readers, and this allows us a lot more freedom to make the most of our rehearsal times.  Typically, Scooter will coordinate all the music in show order, send it out to the players with an accompanying set list and notes.  It is then up to each player to review the charts ahead of the rehearsal.  For two hour shows, there will be at least one, but maybe two, rehearsals prior to the actual performance.  For one hour shows, the band typically will rehearse approximately 2-3 hours before the gig.  We have mastered the art of an efficient rehearsal, but it requires good leadership, focus, and a team effort of all involved.  We are only as strong as our weakest player.  

How do you go about finding players?

From the outset of the band, Scooter decided professional players were the way to go.  We could not afford to waste time and resources on sub-par players who are not serious about the music and mission of Cloud 9 Orchestra.  With the help of Mr. Alan Parr, Scooter was able to assimilate the level of players needed to secure a solid performance for their first show.  Since then, Scooter has utilized his networking skills to amass a large network of professional players all over the United States.  His model is quite competitive because when the band travels, he can take a few core players and fill in the band from the local area with pro players–keeping costs down while not sacrificing quality.  You will notice our extensive list of professional players under the “Cloud 9 Member Past and Present Heading” at the top of the page.  Many of the players have been established musicians for years playing professionally with the military and other professional big bands across the nation.  

Is the Cloud 9 Orchestra a “Christian band”?

The Cloud 9 Orchestra is not a “Christian band.”  It is a band that plays both secular and religious venues.  Scooter’s enjoys the freedom of playing both secular and religious venues with Cloud 9 Orchestra; however, he will tell you that he finds great joy in using his band in local churches to share his faith.   He is always transparent with his musicians about his faith and intentions.  He informs them concerning the details and purpose of the gig, especially if he’s going to be sharing his faith.  He leaves it up to the players to decide whether they want to play or support him–which they typically do.  Scooter respects their beliefs  but he underscores the importance of the band behind him BEING BEHIND HIM.   Many members of the Cloud 9 Orchestra have worked with Scooter on many occasions, so they have developed a mutual respect for one another.  Scooter shares that many great discussions and dialogues have transpired from not being close-minded to players who may not hold the same religious beliefs.   Ultimately, it is Scooter’s call, but he typically responds with a positive and gracious spirit–like He believes God would.  Also, Scooter believes the importance of not beating people over the head with religion–especially the audiences.  Nevertheless, Scooter never fails to pay tribute to God, country, and military–after all, he is a decorated combat veteran who loves America!   If you have any questions, please send them to cloud9orchestra@gmail.com