I was stage manager for the Celebration of Life for my friend Mike Space on Sunday. There was a full house of Mike’s friends – car fanatics, Philly Folk Fest friends, Godfrey’s folks and WDIY cohorts – demonstrating his breathe of talents. People gathered at noon, shared stories, ate food and mixed it up. At 1:30, we shifted to a more focused affair.
I played a Bruce Cockburn instrumental on a CD that brought folks into a attentive state. Anne Hills, LisaBeth Weber and I worked out a nice a cappella Sweet Honey in the Rock song Wanting Memories, suggested by Judi Space. It worked out marvelously, with the crowd singing the bass line I had set up as we backed off mike. So nice to hear the audience by itself.
Judi did a mighty job delivering a poignant and often humorous homily. Ansel Barnum then did a solo harmonica piece – Ashocken Farewell – that was simply beautiful and was appreciated by all.
We passed the mike around the room for personal remembrances interspersed by songs my LisaBeth, Craig and Anne. It worked nicely amongst the spoked pieces. I finished off the session with a version of Mr. Space Man, with all singing.
Folks hung out or packed it in from there. It was a tough day for me, trying to manage the music, maintain a flow and keep respectful of the situation and Judi’s wishes. I was supported by the folks I asked to play, by Terry and Dave on the sound, and I’m glad that I could do what I do best – put together a meaningful afternoon for my departed friend Mike Space.
I am exhausted, having worked on this for the last several days and being point person during the event. I returned to Godfrey’s in a semi-depression, having to also deal with the presence of my former wife Kim and my former friend Gene. I am still carrying scars from my divorce and a tough Christmas season.