April 30, 2017

Gig Stories: Fan Connections at F.A.N. Benefit in Ballard

Musicians say,  "There are great gigs and then there are great stories."

And then there are some gigs which are full of great stories!

This benefit concert for Faith Action Network (FAN) in Seattle, hosted by Ballard First Lutheran Church in July was a great gig that was full of stories.

A benefit for F.A.N. with amazing "fan" stories, that is:

1)  I had finished the first set and was standing in the reception hall where the goodies and cold drinks were being served when a woman walks up to me and says,

"You haven't seen me in 37 years.  My name is Cheryl Cooper-Kohring, and I used to be a member of your church in Pemberville, Ohio, and was a good friend of your mother's."

Me:  "Wow!" (in amazing recognition!) "We sang a duet together on Christmas Eve one year."

She:  "Wow! I can't believe you remember that!"....

And the stories and conversations continued as we unraveled the tales of where both of us have been in the intervening years,  after the loss of her first husband to an accident, she found the new life and love which produced her now-grown children in Seattle, where she has lived more than 30 years.

She continued:  "When I saw the flyer publicizing the concert, and read your name, I said to myself, 'That has to be the same guy' and so I "googled' you and sure enough, you are!  So I just had to come tonight.

I just live around the corner and I often go into Dusty Strings and think that I need to play a dulcimer.

2)  A second woman, visiting Seattle from Argentina, transfixed by the mountain sound, wanted to know how she could get a mountain dulcimer and learn to play it in her home country when she returns.  (I remember that longing well!)

3)  A third woman said that she is a member of the church that my good friend Jeff Lilley pastors in Honolulu.  (I had begun the concert, as I often to, with the song and story "a ship may be safe" which Jeff and I finished writing after our maiden voyage on his handmade sailing boat on Thanksgiving Eve in Kansas several years ago.)  She lives part time in Honolulu and part-time in Seattle.

4)  A fourth woman brought me greetings from a fellow song-writing retreat participant from the Grünewald Guild.  It turns out that she is the one who encouraged her friend, Diane from Kent, Washington to attend that retreat.  My daughter, employed by the host congregation in Seattle, is the one who invited me to attend that gathering!  This particular longitude and latitude brought people from opposite areas together in a third location to begin a friendship!

The Nursery for New Dulcimers at Dusty Strings!

This was my joy in the lobby of Dusty Strings when I first met my new BUNDLE of joy (the largest hammered dulcimer they produce!)

They had it all set up with hammers for me to play it and it was ready to come home with me!

With all those notes in the lower register that I've been hungering for...look out!

And you know what, as soon as I took it out for a spin, I began playing an improvised piece in Bm (with two lower octaves of B than I've ever had) and I played with vigor and passion that left me standing there panting!

I believe that is a first for me.

Daughter, Kaitlin, Playing Joni Mitchell Tunes!

I then played it in my sets at Luther's Table  in Renton, WA that night, and at Our Saviour's Lutheran in Bremerton, WA on Sunday Morning, and then up in Port Townsend for a Labor Day jam with my good friend, Robert Force in the best ever room for a house concert that over looks the Puget Sound!

Then back down for a house concert at Anderson Island, sponsored by the Community Center.

I got to have the first spot on the Anderson Island Ferry on the way to the island, which was a treat on this beautiful September afternoon!

The Space Needle and Mt. Ranier.  Wow. Just Wow.

Following the rest of the visit with our daughter, I headed south through Oregon and the smoky wilds of Northern California to bring this baby home!