I had a make-up date for a rained out June family night in Emmaus on Friday. The pavilion at the park was in use, so we set up under the goal posts of the soccer field. The open grass and delightfully cool evening turned out to be perfect.
As usual, a small and somewhat scattered audience with friendly faces.
I experimented with some Sally playdances at the end of the first set. I got everyone to make a circle and did Sally Go Round the Moon, a nice mixer that’s easy. I then did Little Sally Walker, which is another circle dance, with picking your partner stuff that, again, is a nice mixer. It’s a radical performance choice in the folk music field, but it’s nice to have in my bag. Teresa Pyott of the old Philly Folk Festival taught me this stuff, and was a major factor in getting me in the PFF over the years.
I am blessed to have a few dedicated families who make it frequently to my gigs, and I’m always delighted to have their kids, and especially their hip parents/grandparents as part of the audience. The adults press me (in my own mind) to try new stuff and change some things up, but they also ground me with the family favorites. It is my number one job to make things fresh for everyone in the audience, and especially those who really support me. It’s my work.
When these folks come up and say, “Great show”, I do a double take. I think initially that it was the same old Dave Fry stuff, but upon reflection, I hope they sense my efforts to do the ‘same’ stuff differently every time. This is a large part of my art/craft, and I think it pushes me creatively and spontaneously in my performances. Time does disappear for me and appreciate the challenge.
I have the best seat in the house. I get to witness sparkling moments when families intimately react with each other: communicate, laugh, dance, sing, eat pizza, and all those great summer family interactions. Experience an open grass field, play a rain stick, dance with yer dad, hug Dave. I have hundreds of these things happen in front of me at every gig. I hope I’m the ether that it happens in.
What a great summer night, and I’m glad I do what I do.