I had the opportunity to do the pre-show as well as the guest spot at the end of the first act. The pre-show was a little slow in developing, being a rainy night but I engaged folks with some of my less-than-standard Christmas tunes, which I love to do. They tend to be more hard-driving gospel/blues tunes and are a gas to play. As it turns out, I was glad I had the more traditional tunes in my gig bag for the intermission.
The first set of the Follies was a riot with some fine skits, individual characters, music (including one of the obscure ones I played earlier) and some great performances from my very good friend and brother Bill George. He is simply a joy to watch move, orate and perform on stage. He is a consumate actor, funny and poignant, as well.
Bill came out to introduce my segment at the end of the first act. He recalled our times together in Mexico, on the White House lawn and referenced Godfrey’s and my being a fellow arts warrior. Kind and generous and true words spoken by my good friend.
I came up and did Santa Assassin, a nifty blues by my CT friend Kent Aldrich, and it never fails to provoke and amuse an intelligent audience. Short and sweet.
I then headed upstairs to do some intermission music, something I didn’t do the night before. The cafe filled up and the room was charged with something quite different. I did one of my Louis Armstrong tunes and then followed with some standard Santa and Christmas tunes. To my amazement, the room really joined in singing together. I sensed the possibilities and rolled out a bunch of tunes in a row, including letting the room sing by itself. Quite electric and quite the appropriate addition to the whole evening. The cast remarked that they could hear the chorus’s from the staging area below. That was an interesting reflection on the intermission’s effect on the night.
I am tickled to provide a counterpoint to the great performance on stage, celebrate my connection with Touchstone these many, many years, and add to the evening’s experience for the audience. Not to shabby for a rainy night on the SouthSide of Bethlehem. The Christmas City, no less.
Tomorrow, radio show and GD’s Open Mike. Just doing my job in my community.