I have a yearly set at the large Christmas Village event sponsored by Artsquest (Musikfest) and I usually work up my seasonal songs in advance. My catalogue has developed into a nice mixture of bluesy Christmas tunes, arrangements of carols and my favorite Louis Armstrong jazz tunes. I had assigned this week to break them out and polish them up. It’s particularly strange to be playing these songs a week before Thanksgiving.

I was working on the computer this Sunday when I got a call at 11:15 from the Market, wondering where I was for my 11:30 set. I had it written down on my calendar for next Sunday. Fool! I said I’d be right over. I grabbed my guitar and mandolin, my folder of Christmas songs and high-tailed it to the site just five minutes from home. I hastily set up, got a sound check and started in at 11:35. I apologized to the sound man and thanked him for alerting the manager. He said that he knew I usually get there ahead of time and that I either forgot or was ill.

It was the first set of the day at this stage and there were only a few folks in the area, but it included a young family with a boy who was excited to see me. So were the parents and grandparents… I was glad I had some folks to play off of. I felt bad that I didn’t have my bag of instruments with me to have him play along.

I opened up my folder of tunes and started to pick out some songs I hadn’t prepared for, but, over time, have become fairly natural to play. The DNA of the songs kicked in, and I performed them well. It was only an hour set, and I was glad I had enough tunes to fill the time. I finished up at 12:30, got the check and took a stroll around the market to catch up with some artisans and other folks I knew wandering around.

I am embarrassed that I almost blew this one, that I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been, that I put the wrong date in my book, didn’t check the contract and all those things that a true professional should have done. It all turned out okay, but I am uncomfortable that I made such a mistake. I take away from this kerfuffle to double-check the ole contract as I write it in the book. Phew…