Homecoming – that’s the word…. Even when I was in CT (especially when I was in CT), I looked forward to sharing the stage with such a wide variety of LV players, many of which I never get to see play, many of whom I have deep musical respect for as musicians. Lots of mutual respect going on, and we folkies need all the stroking we can get.
The audience is a mix of art’s-going people, and are as receptive as it gets. And, even if I can’t see them, I can feel them. And to experience that communication is powerful (it happened at the Philly Folk Fest), and, for me, is the essence of my craft, my art. I can count on it once a year at this event. I just have to center myself, and try to slow things down.
I went early, third, after Cambriata, a Renaissance music group, wonderfully delicate and well-played. I came on, sensing a shift from the sublime to the absurd, so I started with the really slow version of Kent’s Santa Assassin, which built nicely, and Kent, I’ll have you know, they were applauding after the first verse. It was very cool. And wonderfully appreciated.
I followed with Louis Armstrong’s Cool Yule, a wonderful swing tune that I don’t get to sing enough. I got to record this with Rob Stonebeck on trombone several years ago, with my feeble ‘trombone’, and it was fun. Knowing that, I encouraged the audience to take his part. So the ride came along, and I took the first time through, and then told the audience, “Your turn.” And, invariably, that magical chaos happened that was a mixture of brave souls and raucous laughter. In Symphony Hall, no less. Cool.
The sound was phenomenal, with Rosalie’s little Macheche Martin filling the hall. Cool, squared.
The evening wasn’t over by any stretch, for I signed on to emcee. This year it was for 4 or 5 acts. Again, on the fly, with some notes prepared by Miriam, I was speechifying while the sound crew sets up the next act. (Again, like Philly) I managed some fun stuff, including a joke I had worked up during the week that I stole from FB, and localized to great effect. I also noted that there was lots of food for the performers, and the sound system was all set up, so why don’t we just Occupy Symphony Hall…..
Lots of musical surprises, lots of catching up with fellow musicians, food, food, and did I mention food?
I had to explain my move back to the Valley, and that gets rather tiresome, but many, many good folks have wonderful things to say: about my playing, my emceeing, and my deep and wonderful history with these folks.