Saturday, December 4, 2010

Performance Diary

Yesterday in the early afternoon, all eight Kenwood Players did a set of half Dixieland, half Christmas music over at Gordon House, a retirement home close by where we play two or three times a year. Then in the early evening I took a guitar and a banjo to a small fund raiser for the James Madison Museum in a little store front on Main Street in Orange. Various local musicians, including a clarinet quartet and a father and daughter singing songs they'd written with two guitar accompaniment. Everyone had an hour slot and I was the last.

In both performances I felt a great connection with the audience. At Gordon House everyone was moving, singing with us at times, and applauding enthusiastically. At the fund raiser I had people paying attention to the lyrics of Dylan songs and reacting to punch lines and quirky phrases, and the applause there was enthusiastic as well.

One thing that struck me was compliments from both other players at Gordon House as well as both audiences that specified having done a good show. I think I'm beginning to find that sweet spot between being a "performer" and a "therapist". Again it has to do with that combining the expected and the unexpected our brains like so much. The professionally experienced players enjoy the loose approach, like running through road maps of who's going to do what right before a number and including the audience in the conversation. And the folks at the benefit seemed to enjoy my slipping into a bit of a performer's persona to communicate some of what Dylan is up to.

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