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Rochester, a Seder, and a Benefit

Hi VanceFans!! Here’s where I play this week -

Saturday, Apr 1,
Cafe Veritas Rochester, NY

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Sunday Apr 2,
Downtown Seder - w/Livingston Taylor, Louis Black, David Broza, many more

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Wednesday Apr 5th -
A benefit for the ACLU at ONCE in Somerville w/ Peter Mulvey. Lori McKenna, Chris Smither, many more: events/716817998505932

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Yes, Still coaching voice, songwriting, performance, yes I am, and I will play private parties, yes I will !!!
More gigs and such in the links at the bottom after this long thing you’ll read just cause you love me...

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Do you mind my musing? Do you mind me treating my mailing list feed like some sort of poor man’s blog? I won’t keep you long - Just grateful is all...

Started Friday afternoon by going to my neighbor’s/close friend’s daughter Savannah’s piano & pipe organ recital. Amazing. Proud. I had no idea there were full on pieces written solely for the foot pedal keys!!

Driving to the #InfinityDare show was a trip into Central Connecticut, aka Norfolk, or as folks told me, “Berkshires South”.

I can’t tell you how many Granbys I drove through. What the hell, Connecticut? Couldn’t the Granbys get along? East, North, West, and Granby proper. Then I get to Norfolk and I see this sign at the venue. My name, and Kerri Power's, in lights. Awesome.

To the left of that, on the street, is a sign that says “Norfolk: The Icebox of Connecticut”. Way to go, Norfolk. I’m guessing the street sign consultants you hired from the Bureau of Tourism are still lost somewhere in one of the Granbys, 'cause that sign was giving me no hope…

Once inside this place - wow. It was like playing in the inside of a roll-top desk (thanks Cheryl Wheeler). The people from the world’s moist perfect wedding came, Justen & Brittany, and her parents and some friends. The peole who bring me their Thanksgiving leftovers when I play Hartford came. A Black guy and his wife came. Sweet faced Rosie came. And a bunch of people I didn’t know.

Ready for this (drumroll)????

No I didn’t get get 100 to meet my dare. But I had over 80 including the volunteers. That’s pretty triumphant. I’m over the moon.

I got treated like a king. The wings were great. Teriyaki noodles. the staff there, Z, Jim, everybody, wonderful. I had also forgotten how utterly wonderful Kerri Powers is. She did my encore with me, yes I whispered the lyrics to “A Change Is Gonna Come" to her on the fly and she murdered it as we duetted.. People bought our stuff, I gave CDs away, and then drive home through the myriad of Granbys (a few Hartlands too) to get to I-84 and home was lovely with my audiobook of Cold War test pilots..

Next evening I played the Homegrown Coffeehouse in Needham. A staple for me since the 90’s, all included there was over 100 folks there. Stephen Goldfinger, thanks for bringing new folks, Monica nice to meet your husband, Jim and Beth Sargent thanks for all you do, (Beth, sorry I only ate the bottoms of those 2 pieces of carrot cake - I can’t handle the cream cheese). Siegel family, Tema and that boy. Thanks for being there too. And Abbie Gardner (of Red Molly)’s father Herb Gardner.

Get this - Remember when I was singing with that early jazz band at Licia Sky's wedding? Well Herb was on trombone in that band. I knew he did that. But I'd also heard he could play piano. For my encore I asked Herb Gardner to come up and play piano for me. He had no idea I was going to bother him.

Man am I glad I did. I asked for “The Nearness Of You” and he said “What key?” and we were off.

His left hand. Truly one of the most inventive, remarkable musical appendages ever. I doubt few will get the reference here - sorry to be so inside - but it was like singing with Dave McKenna, a great Boston area pianist from the 50’s to the early 2000’s noted for his piano work. I’m still blown at Herb's musicianship, and that I was a part of it for about 3 1/2 minutes. I knew he could play trombone, but this... Even daunting too as it challenges my sense of mastery of what it is I do. Sayonara hubris, for a minute anyway.

Part of my agreement to do this gig was to be willing to come back and play for the Unitarian Church service the next morning. Selections were When I Cross Over ( a new one I cobbled together, yeah, at nearly 60 guess what’s on my mind), Old White Men for the offertory, and Some Great Thing as the anthem. I changed that on the fly to Pie & Whiskey.

What’s remarkable about this church is that you can see them in the middle of what they are doing mid struggle to strike the balance between social justice and spirituality. Viewing that search is truly what makes this place so attractive. They laugh, clap when music is done, and are given time in the middle of the service to do more than just greet the person to your right - you are to take turns commenting on one aspect of the homily or another. Real proactive. Thanks Rev. Catie and everybody that makes that place work.

Guest speaker was Tina Chery of 24 years ago her son was killed as a bystander to gun violence. She is the chaplain of this organization that - well you have to open the link and read it yourself. Her dedication to dealing with violence and loss in speaking is exemplified by how she memorized parts of my first song, When I Cross Over, as it went by and spoke how the song changed her thinking as to her goals *that day*. Yeah, I was a mess as she spoke and I’m glad that I didn’t have to sing right directly after her. But sing soon again I did, and it felt…*different*. Different purpose. Different place it came from. Thanks for that.

Just thanks for this weekend, VanceFans. I made money playing music and filed my heart while I was at it. Maybe did the same to yours a teeny bit.

Taxes now. Reruns of The Fugitive. Feeling pretty grateful and filled.