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MLK Day and the Itinerant Musician

Today is an official holiday for much of America (Cornell, notwithstanding). Cal Walker and I are slated to perform a short piece at the local MLK Luncheon, sharing the bill with Vitamin L (local youth group led by my colleague and band mate Jan Nigro), Keynote speaker Sonali Samarasinghe and one Barack Obama (albeit he on the large screen). The set list is basically planned, the guitar's in tune and I'm planning to arrive in time to double-check the PA and get a sense of the space.

I've been waiting for something monumental to occur before my next Blog post, and it suddenly hit me  -  nothing "monumental" ever happens and EVERYTHING is monumental in this line of work. Every day is a new adventure with its own challenges and hurdles, and each group I encounter is experiencing something novel and fresh  -  even if I'm doing something I've done a thousand times already (like "I'm Going to Mail Myself to You," for example  -  3 times last week alone).

Last week I met a group of 85 2nd graders who'll be all mine for the next few weeks (2-3 days per week 'til we're done). I spent an hour with about 25 7-9 year olds with special needs (along with about 8 of their teachers/caregivers), visited two schools for Pre-K shows, met-and-rehearsed with a local Montessori school to prepare for their winter concert (I was their hired accompanist) and had a rehearsal with the 22 Strings of Love (billed as "Transistor Radio London") for a February 2nd show.

THAT should be the fodder for this blog spot. We independent arts people often operate in relative isolation. Maybe this will break the vacuum seal. It may seem mundane to me (and to some of you), but this work changes lives on some levels. That ought to be worth a quick read now and again.

To quote the immortal 7" record called "King Holiday" (from back in '86):

Don't play on the holiday  -  work to find a better way!

See you next time.

~ John