I took the podium and started out saying, offhandedly, “I’d rather be playing”, and, in retrospect, that was the perfect title. I had really hoped to do Lessons from Pete in front of this audience, but was given a speech instead. Perhaps it’s good that I didn’t play guitar. But it turned out to be a good theme for my night.
Here it is:
I love it when someone asks, “Dave Fry, what do you do?” I play music. I play music. It really is quite that simple. And the real emphasis is on the word ‘play’. In my work as a Teaching Artist, it is in the act of play that kids (and adults) experience the richness of learning and growing in our environment. In play, a vast world opens up our minds and souls to creativity, risk taking, interpersonal connections, and, most amazingly, time disappears. It was my songwriter friend Bob Franke who once wrote “Let your dreams bind your work to your play.” I continue to realize how precious these musical moments are.
When we play music, we are creating ripples in time, many of which we’ll never get a chance to re-experience. We play the gig, the music dies out and we pack up and leave, hopefully with some cash. Being at that epicenter, a musician is left with mere echoes on the ride home. But, part of this Lifetime Achievement, I get to have some of that reflected back to me, folks telling me how their families, now grandparents, parents with their own kids singing in the car to my music, creating family connections. This is powerful stuff, playing my music.
I have innumerable thanks to my many band mates, Godfreys performers and supporters, radio listeners, Touchstone Theater, and the parents who have shared their kids’ energy with me. I have relished all these many relationships and have learned from them all, made me a better artist. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Wrapping this speech up, I’ll share one of those ripples.
Once, after Musikfest had closed down for the night, I was walking by myself along a deserted path below Moravian when three Goth teens approached out of the darkness, dressed in chains, spikes, long black cloaks. I felt a little trepidation and curiosity, but as our paths intersected they stopped and broke into “I like Peanut Butter, Creamy Peanut Butter, Chunk Peanut Butter, too, woo!”…… deep connections.
Thank you for this honor, and ask that you continue to Play music. I love you all for giving me the opportunity to do so as well. Come see me perform, buy my CDs, FaceBook me, read my gig blogs on my web site, go to Godfreys, listen to my radio shows, because I’m finally getting good at playing music, especially the ‘Play’ part.