Thursday was a mixed bag gig, or mixed gig bag, as it were. I was asked to play and emcee the Center City Allentown Tree Lighting and Santa Arrival on Thursday. There was a threat of rain, but it seemed to be low percentage early in the day.


Three hour gig of a few tunes, introductions of various community youth musical/dance groups, bring on Santa (arriving in a fire truck – boy, it’d like to do that sometime), count down to the lighting and then a nice finishing set of my music. Frankly, that’s what I wanted to do at the outset.


First of all, the Chamber found and booked the Allentown School District’s various choral, string ensembles to perform, and that’s the best! Give these kids stage time, even if it’s cold and rainy. My hat’s off to the music and dance teachers who are at the front of the arts/education war. I’ve got it easy compared to these brave folks. They put in the time and effort to get kids to be an artist on stage. It’s tough enough to get one person, me, to do it.


I through in Zat You, Santa Claus and introduced another group. At that point, I found out the weather report. Lots of green stuff on the web.


Santa arrived and I had to link up with the mayor’s wife, Santa, the Chamber and the local news and weather report. I ditched the guitar and the stage for some live crowd hookum as we listened to the mayor’s wife (he was promoting Allentown somewhere else…..), look for the cue from TV, sing Rudolph, stretch, sing Santa Claus is Coming to Town (both a capella….), count down 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, LIGHTS on the tree.


It’s really raining now. You’d know it if you were watching the weather report.


So, I negotiate with the Chamber. The sound crew’s already packed it in. Go home. I got my check early. 


But, you know, I feel incomplete, almost like I feel I cheated. I got paid, and I was booked for three hours time. Act of god. Contracted.


As I reflect, I wish I had fulfilled the artistic clause in the contract. I didn’t get to do what I do best. Play my music. Somehow the scales didn’t quite balance in my soul books. Still, beats working for a living.