Here I am. 64 …and what made the day was my gig in Philly.
I signed up for another children’s hospital gig tonight with Ansel. It was a pretty good night on several fronts.
First, I found the place. I’ve learned to question my GPS when driving to this place. Last month, I ended up in a tough section of Philly a few blocks away. I learned my lesson.
Second, I like playing at this hospital at dusk with the Philly skyline in orange tones as a backdrop, especially having played some of these gigs after sun is down. It’s dark enough in some of these situations. It’s so much better to have the sun shining in, in these rooms and hallways.
Third, Ansel plays harp with me. My good friend is wildly creative and intelligent, willing to listen first and play second, and is a wonderfully intuitive person. Tonight, as I found out, he was going to play every song with one harp. That’s right. One harp. Screw the key, minor or major. He was going to figure it out. And he did. I look like one of the kids when I listen to him play…. whoa! I know of few musicians who responds with such energy and craft like Ansel. Dude.
Fourth, each room presents such incredible performance choices. From very quiet and reverent ‘lullabies’ and soft songs, to playful ditties with the younger kids, to some R&B, Motown hits for the older kids. We play for parents, grandparents, siblings… and, of course, the patient. But we try to play to the room, and if the folks are singing together (oh, so many precious moments – how often do families sing out loud together?), the better the medicine. That’s why we’re here. !!
Fifth, it literally feeds my soul. If I’m not performing, singing, driving to a gig, etc., I’m not in my game. Tonight, the time disappeared when I played. And I do mean ‘play’. Its a game of ping-pong, to use an analogy. Back and forth, back and forth. Send it out and then receive it. And it’s this immediacy/intimacy of verbal/musical communication/dialog that I revel in as an artist, especially in performance mode and in these intense situationa. And that’s why I do what I do, and try to do at every gig.
A happy birthday. Need and feed me.