I landed a very small gig at this Christmas event in the Arts Quest/Steel Stacks arena for one hour on a Friday afternoon before Thanksgiving. And, as it goes, every gig is a good one. Its in a big, big heated tent with vendors of all kinds, a big stage, sound system and a large eating area in front the performer. I’ve done in years before, but not last year and never with only one short set for the five week run.


It was fun to work up my Christmas stuff during the week. The songs tend to incubate over the months, and though I often forget the words to the tunes, I love reworking arrangements and other ideas to make them fresh for me. And, it was good that I only had a one hour set so that I didn’t have to stretch my material.


It was strange that they booked me on a school day afternoon, so there were few kids to work off of, though one family of a mom, granddad and grandmom and a boy sat up front. We proceeded to work it on out. The boy was young enough that he was not verbal, but really got into the physical instrumental playing. As is often the case, we connected for the rest of the set. The few folks sitting at tables around also sensed the connection and became a great performance device. And that’s the way it works in my business. Theater happens.


I finished up, packed up and cruised the artisans and vendors, chatted with some old connections and headed for the Santa section. Sure enough, there he was, my good friend Santa.


Several years ago, as I did my cruise, I heard, “Hello, Dave Fry.” I turned and it had came from Santa himself. It was a particularly jarring experience.  I’ve come to know Santa and his wife who live in our community. He is quite the perfect Santa, with a real beard and a great personality. I had known he had some health problems recently so it was nice to see him back on the job, and he remarked the same about me. He was glad to see that I’d be playing today.


How cool is it to have a personal relationship and mutual admiration society with Kris Kringle himself?