It was a cold and brisk evening in PP&L Plaza for the annual Tree Lighting and Arrival of Santa Claus, a yearly gig for me from the Downtown Allentown Chamber of Commerce. They hire me to be emcee, help with the flow of the entertainment and play several sets of family friendly music. It was in the lower 40’s but there was a wind so it was cold. I’ve played in colder weather, but the wind chill made it harder this year.
As I warmed up the audience, I noticed a group of about twenty kids from some kind of daycare, I suppose, gathering to meet Santa so I naturally asked them to dive into the bag of instruments and join me on stage. They were thrilled and I was glad to have them to play off of. We did a freeze dance (appropriately) along with Jingle Bells and a great version of Rudolph, complete with antlers and noses. It was a very fun set. And as Santa came down Hamilton Street in the fire truck, the kids hopped off the stage and left me to my Here Comes Santa medley. The local tv station was there and a fairly large crowd. The mayor joined me on stage to conduct the countdown, swapping worn out Christmas jokes. The tree lit up and it was glorious.
Several other acts performed as I tried to keep my hands warm. As I finished up the evening, I was losing my grip on the pick after about two songs, the wind was knocking my music stand over and the guitar’s pickup was fritzing, too. Folks were still in line to see Santa so I resorted to more of my kids’ stuff, like Peanut Butter and Bear Hunt, pieces I didn’t have to play guitar on. I wrapped it up about 6:30, claimed the generous check from the Chamber people (they were quite appreciative of my work with the kids early on) and headed back to my car, still cold and tight from trying to stay warm.
Another strange and wonderful gig playing for the folks in Allentown.