Frankly, I wasn’t sure what to expect for Dave Fry Day at Godfrey’s on Saturday. I knew my TAMA friend Jennifer Ridgway wanted to celebrate my time with TAMA and as a Teaching Artist, but she enlisted Ramona to pull together the local community to drop on by. It turned out to be pretty special.
First of all, I was not looking forward to any kind of spotlight but, in the course of the afternoon, came to appreciate the community I have around me, and it became an opportunity for us to all get together and socialize. I just happened to be at the center.
Daughter Rosalie and her new boyfriend Jordan showed up from RI and son Jaimie, his wife Chelsy and grandson Jayden came up from Pottstown. An unexpected delight for the afternoon!
Mark McKenna, TA and Touchstone alum, was the emcee and set the tone for the afternoon, as I was ensconced in a make-shift throne. To lead off, Bethlehem’s Mayor William Reynolds spoke briefly about how the arts are healthy for us individually and as a community. He presented me with a fine Proclamation that was particularly well written.
Jenn came up and spoke about my history with Teaching Artists of the
with several comments from my fellow TAs in the organization, and, indeed, our weekly Monday mornings during Covid were wonderful gatherings of some pretty extraordinary artists. We became good friends during a very hard time.
I was particularly glad that the festivities were to celebrate my career as a teaching artist, as opposed to my music and my Godfrey’s life. Folks from those slices of my life have no real opportunity to see my work in schools, and today was a good way to share the world of Teaching Arts.
I was also glad to see and hear from my good friends in our local Teaching Artists of the Lehigh Valley. Bill George, Marilyn Hazelton, Bill Christine, Mary Wright, Doug Roysdon spoke about how we have all benefited from our small, tight community, sharing demonstrations of our pieces. Lots of fooling around and being creative: movement, poetry, music, and other wonderful explorations over the last four years.
Bill Christine brought up a raft of friends to give me a rousing kazoo chorus, and special appearance of my grandson Jayden. Special.
I was pleased that other long-time Godfrey’s friends mentioned Cindy Dinsmore’s hand in Godfrey’s place in establishing the artist-friendly atmosphere here in Bethlehem and good community friends like Anne Hills, LA Williams and others. She deserves a Cindy Dinsmore Day and I’m sure that will happen.
Good friend John Gorka phoned in to say hello. Special treat !
My friend Jaqi Tice presented my Lessons From Pete, adding a melody to my recitative version, and accompanied by good fellow Craig Thatcher. I appreciate her time and effort putting it together, as well as her many other contributions to the event. She remains a dear friend. There.
I took it upon myself to insert myself in the festivities with my TA exploration Jelly In The Dish, one of favorite routines I use with kids. Few of the people in the room knew what was coming. I was really looking forward for this opportunity get everyone up, moving and playing with the scarves. Craig sat in on guitar. We pushed the tables back and filled up the space controlled chaos, dance, colors. Grandson Jayden really took the spotlight with his movements and big smiles. I think the event really prospered from the exercise, and I got to show my TA chops. I even included a reflection at the end where folks brought up what they liked: Scrapple, using the whole room, scarves in the air, mixing socially. Later, I came to appreciate that I had never experienced the volume of Godfrey’s so filled with such floor to ceiling movement and color. Mission accomplished.
Other folks came up and talked about my Covid series of daily posts, my radio work and other curious reflections on my work in the community. Anne Hills came up and sang a snatch of “Magic Penny” that encapsulates my philosophy well: “Love is something if you give it away, you’ll end up having more.”
There was cake, lots of snacks and soda and lots of folks talking with each other, reconnecting with old friends and making new friends. It was satisfying to have my kids experience the love and respect I enjoy in my home town. A special afternoon, after all.