I was asked to help kick off Touchstone’s Festival Unbound on Wednesday night with my loose bag music on the Greenway among various arts organizations showing their materials on tables, just trying to add a little atmosphere to the initial gathering before the “show”. I was then asked to play a song before introducing my friend John Gorka towards the end of the community event.
The local Dixieland trio strolled the Greenway and onto stage to get things started. The local Middle School sang some songs, followed by a group of elder Latina women dancing to music. Two fellows from out of town did an arts exercise about “Home”, and then it was time for my set and John’s introduction.
I was introduced as a “local legend” which turned into “local legume” and played Chuck Pyle’s Step By Step, as requested by Mary Wright – an excellent choice, considering the theme of community.
“Step by step, side by side. Hand in hand, this old world’s a better ride. Step by step, side by side. Take a little step with your neighbor, side by side.” I had hoped to have it memorized by show time but decided to take the words up with me, just in case. Good move. People caught on the chorus nicely and it came off well.
I introduced John and he did a couple of songs, finishing with Good Noise with the school choir up on stage to sing the chorus with him. Nice.
It was great to see the community come together on this outside venue with several good friends and local arts supporters in the house. One young man came up and thanked me, saying it reminded him of his grandfather singing and playing in his house. He sang a few bars of a folk tune (I didn’t recognize) but I thanked him for sharing that moment with me.
Another couple thanked me, and I said it was only a song. They said, “No. It was a performance.” That was particularly sweet.
I headed back home, pretty much whipped from the two assemblies in the morning and this fine event at night.