A huge highlight of the Xerocon Sydney 2013 Awards Dinner on Friday was the band entirely made up of Xero staff and partners. A call went out beforehand to staff and Xero partners to see what talent was out there and we received an amazing response. People with an amazing range of talents and interest in different genres from Funk, Jazz, Metal, Rock and Classical. From managing directors to bookkeeping singing teachers, everyone brought something special to the table.
Larissa McKay sang beautifully performing her own material during the solo sessions and there were booming renditions of Joe Cocker by Wayne Triplett – it was hard to believe that this was his first time singing in a band.
Ben Talbot and Shayne Lowe were crowd favourites showing that their bookkeeping businesses are really just a side thing for them as they wowed the audiences with their vocal skills and stage presence.
Some of our favourites included Scott McKay belting out the Angels classic and Tom Lee-Richards showing us his beat-boxing prowess during KC & the Sunshine Band, “Get down tonight”. There were some other great performances by Tim Munro, Joe Salvati and me all taking to the drums and ably supported by an amazing horn section with James Solomon, Michelle Harrison and Simon Kay. We also saw our Managing Director, Chris Ridd don a Xero branded Fender Stratocaster, compliments of one of our customers, Globe Design, who happily put their printing skills to good use to cap off the great stage presentation.
So a huge thank you from me to all the Xero staff and partners that put such a massive amount of time and practice into making this happen. Seeing the talent that was on display on the evening, it was easy to see why we are excited about this industry. Who said accounting was boring … it completely rocks!!
How we got the band together
Joe Salvati handled the logistics of sorting gear, rehearsal rooms and people, while Tom Lee Richards and I began the process of putting together the set list. We looked through songs from a whole range of eras and came up with songs that highlighted everyone’s talents including a fully fledged horn section.
With the benefit of cloud tools such as Skype and Google docs, we were easily connected to manage such a difficult logistical challenge. The idea was to have three sets. Set one an acoustic set with a small amount of performers being responsible for their own song choice during the dinner. Set two predominantly Xero staff band set and the third set, a fully expanded Xero Staff/Partner band set.
A few months before the event we ran Skype auditions due to the geographical spread of performers. This entailed video skyping and running through a performance of a song. On some occasions I would record a rough guitar only demo for the vocalist to sing along to, which helped overcome the skype delay.
MD Chris Ridd then went through final run throughs with all of us on Skype to ensure we all knew what was needed from a song perspective and we were good to go.
Everything came together quickly the Wednesday night before Xerocon commenced. All performers met at a rehearsal studio in Sydney and ran through the entire set list once. Yes it is true the band had one full rehearsal together. We all came together on the Friday afternoon for gear set-up and sound check, then a quick change and off we went into Xero musical history…..
We now refer to each other as family. Members of the Xero musical family. This bond will be forever, giving us memories that will be treasured by all.
Its only Rock ‘n’ Roll but we LOVE it!
- Tom-Lee Richards on vocals, bass, guitar
- Andrew Whitelaw on vocals, guitar, drums
- Joe Salvati on drums
- Chris Ridd on vocals, guitar, harmonica
- Nick Hugo-Hamman on guitar, vocals
- Riley James on vocals, acoustic guitar
From the partner community:
- Larissa McKay of Abacus Business Solutions on vocals & keys
- Scott Kay of HLB Mann Judd on vocals, guitar, keys
- Ben Talbot of Business Oxygen on vocals, guitar
- James Solomons of EFS Strategic on trombone
- Shayne Lowe of Details Business Services on vocals
- Tim Munro of Change Accountants on drums
- Wayne Triplett of Wise Click Business Services on vocals
- Michelle Harrison of Cloud based Consultants on saxophone
- Brent Thompson of Cloud based Consultants on bass & vocals
- Simon Kay, friend of Cloud Based Accountants on trumpet