I was asked to play for the LV Heritage Museum in Allentown for a heritage expo. Lots of the local historic sites gathered with displays, several rein-actors (Abe was in the audience) and various other folks stopping in for the day. I offered my services and named my price. As it turned out they booked me for the full 11 am to 2:30 PM time period, but I thought, why not? It beats not playing.
I dragged my equipment in through an already crowded lobby area of displays into a rather large performance room with a small stage and rows and rows of chairs. I was expecting a corner tucked away somewhere. This was more than I expected.
Luckily, my friend John Christie saw that I was playing and wanted to bring his mom, who was an honored museum volunteer, as I found out. I asked him to bring his Martin and he did. He asked if he should sit in on a few songs, and I said to just come up and we’ll figure it out. He ended up sitting in on everything, even stuff he didn’t know.
I threw a lot of stuff at him. I tried to maintain the ‘heritage’ theme with folksongs, old blues, swing music, banjo tunes, mandolin tunes, etc. and the material was obvious enough for his quick musical ears to pick up on. After the changes were established (something I’m good at), John chipped in some wonderful leads, making it possible to stretch the songs while adding some crisp performance chops to the tunes. We really sounded good, and the folks that were there hung around and came back for more. What a marvel to have good friends who know what they’re doing, and want to make music with me.
As we finished up, John’s mom said, “Do Peanut Butter.” Since I never considered it as a heritage song, I humbly obliged. It’s definitely part of my heritage and it was an appropriate finish to three and a half hours of picking. My, oh my, the time did fly. I got paid well and it was what I deserve for these events. But the time spent playing with John was worth it all.
The museum people appreciated what we did.