I was invited to do an evening’s entertainment at a gated community’s social club north of Bethlehem along Bridle Path Road. Some good Godfrey’s volunteers Dale and Georgia had suggested that I do an evening of folk music for their community and the group offered a small fee plus tips for this gathering.
I suspected that I would be background music for a social mixer and I was fine with that. As it turned out, as I set up on the patio on a fine July evening, folks gathered to listen to a concert. I remarked at the beginning that I was not used to folks listening, especially having played Allentown Center City on Wednesday.
So, I launched into an hour and a half set of my good stuff, complete with chat, sing alongs, biographical floss, mandolin and guitar tunes, etc. It was a good exercise of my concert material and it worked well. My Martin 00015M and my Gibson mandolin were in tune, my small PA was doing fine so I was in good shape for the evening.
Towards the end, some requests came up for Blowing in the Wind, Guthrie tunes and some more “pop” folk tunes. I had to spend some time reflecting on my inability to cover these folk classics and promised to return with an evening of these tunes. It remains an abrasion that I don’t know these hits, but I tried to say that I’m lucky that I’ve been able to build a career by performing my own ‘songbook’.
As I broke down my small setup, I talked with some folks, including a Lehigh professor I had taken Physics with a long time ago. I told him that I had actually aced my Physics test to my eternal surprise. He smiled.
As it turned out, it was a successful evening, surprising both the booking committee and myself. The tip jar was quite remarkable, and coupled with the fairly low fee, a very profitable gig. I hope to return with a more marketable folk music evening.