The buffet line is a great way to meet folkie women, so as I scanned the line for dinner, I spied Claudia Schmidt so I cut in line (!!) to chat with her. She was scheduled for the evening’s formal showcase in the theater and was glad to see her at the conference. I was mildly surprised that someone of her folk stature was showcasing far from her Midwest home. I knew she would rock the joint (and she did!)
We moved into the dining area, chatting as long-time associates (she’s played Godfreys since the 80’s) and fellow performers. We are formally friends and yet there is something that goes deeper, after all these years. A bond shared by road warriors, I guess. I sensed a certain sadness, though, especially from such an exuberant performer.
We settled down at a table with a plate of too much food. I was frankly surprised that we did. This is another one of my performing heroes, you know. Anyway we launched into why she was making this effort.
Claudia had left the circuit for ten years while she and her husband started up a B&B on Beaver Island in Lake Michigan. We all regretted that she didn’t visit Godfreys anymore, but we all wished her well. Sometimes another life takes over.
Over the course of our dinner, we shared our separate journeys that we both have endured over the last ten years, and, upon reflection, they are remarkably parallel.
We both followed our hearts with our soul mates (and family) to distant places, away from financial/business stability, and try to start over in a strange land. We spent ten years trying to make it work and it strained our relationships. We both fell flat on our faces, and we both were dismissed out of hand by our mates. And we both had to start all over.
That’s where Music comes in, the great healing power we can have some control over. We both had to call on our music and performance muses/skills to recover, which, it seems, we both remain in the process of doing, recreating ourselves with each gig. We both are performers, comfortable with grabbing the moment and transforming it into a community experience. Claudia is a great a folk performer as there is, but I recognize her theater instincts in what I try to do.
As she excused herself to prepare for some quiet time to prepare for her set, I was taken by her quite generous friendship and personal concern with my situation. We are simply souls wandering this realm looking for connection, and I remain amazed when the gates open with mmy ever surprising friends.