Monday, September 19, 2011

Redemption songs

(Sorry for the delay -- I opted for nap over blog.)

Morning became more like mornoon, as Bernie calls it.  Whoopsadaisy...  Dog bless coffee, and the men who pour it.

While the others had slept in, too, they'd given up on me for breakfast -- but kindly left some out for me.   Scrambled eggs and mango juice.  And coffee.  Lots of coffee. :-)  Mike and Ruth went over to James's house to set up chairs, and Don and I had a wee rehearsal -- we were getting a bit bored of the setlist, so wanted to shake it up a bit and add some new things.

Mike and Ruth returned home just as we were loudly realizing that "No Place Like Home" might take a bit more rehearsal time than the afternoon... they still like us, anyhow. :-)

We had a nice late lunch / early dinner together, then it was time to shower (one again, you're welcome) and dress for the house concert.

We loaded up Mike & Ruth's car -- yes, we all fit in, with instruments (barely!) and drove over to James's house.

If you missed our February blog about the concert here, you'll need to know that James has the perfect house concert house.  You walk in the front door and there's a big open hallway, leading to the kitchen off to the left and a tiered living room leading down to the "stage" in front of the fireplace.  I think it held almost 50 the last time we were here, and could have probably squeezed in more, if necessary.  Unlike in February, it was still daylight when we arrived this time, and we were able to see the little river running by, complete with ducks and bicycle path -- lovely!

Warm greetings from James when we came in, as well as from Barb's dog, who seems to have become his dog -- can't for the life of me remember how to spell her name, so shall use James's nickname for her, "Swiffer".  She's a cute little miniature white-haired something -- and yes, she does resemble a swiffer, albeit a well-groomed one.

We set ourselves up, and Mike made sure we had our big glasses of water -- the climate in Kelowna is quite arid, and my voice is definitely noticing the lack of moisture (as is my nose, which seems to be on a regular bleed-fest over here).

The guests started arriving -- many new faces (about 2/3), but some familiar ones from the last concert, too.  It was nice to chat with some of our "old new friends" and meet some "new new friends".  Drew, who had been at our February concert, was happy to introduce us to his wife, Zoe, who had had to work the previous time.  It was their 17th wedding anniversary, and they wanted to spend it with us.  (Warmed the cockles of our hearts, they did!)  Zoe and Swiffer hit it off quite well, too -- we thought she might end up taking her home in a purse. :-)  Laura, the ballet dancer we'd met and enjoyed chatting with in February was also there, very disappointed that the friends she'd wanted to bring were away for the weekend.  Janice, the sheep farmer, who'd sat in the front row with Drew the last time also grabbed front row centre with him and Zoe again this time.

In the "small world" category, we met a man named Fred Froese -- after a bit of chatting, we realized he's the brother of Bob Froese, a musical friend who we knew from Newmarket, though he'd moved to the Ottawa area before losing the battle with cancer a short while ago.  Fred said he was 92 -- we didn't get so rude as to check his I.D., but lordy, you would never have pegged him for someone in his nineties!  Seventy, perhaps, but not 92...   The guy's an active skier and sailor, so I guess all that fresh air has done him plenty well. :-)

We did our first set. Once again, Ruth and James had pulled together a great audience -- they felt free to ask questions about our various instruments and songs, and it was like we were sitting in our own living room (greatly expanded!) chatting and playing with a bunch of friends.  A couple of people were taking photos -- hopefully they'll send us some copies via e-mail (hint, hint!).

We chatted away with people at the break.  One woman, who I won't name (unless she reads this and OK's it), told me her father's funeral had been the day before, and she had a huge family in town, but she'd promised James she'd come, and she needed a break from all the sadness.  She thanked me profusely for being exactly what she needed that day.  OK, Lyssy, don't cry before you sing, don't cry before you sing...  I held it together, barely. But it was so wonderful to hear that we'd done some good in the world -- that's why we make music, to give other people as much joy as it's given us, to touch people.   You don't always know when or how it's done so, but it's always nice to hear about when it has!

Drew is similarly exuberant about the emotion in my playing and singing, and the raw emotion of my songs.  He's curious about my songwriting process.  I leave out the part about how I barfed up a song just a few days ago -- not terribly poetic. :-)

There is a trio of folks who apologize that they're leaving before the second set -- but they've got an hour and a half to drive home.  Yikes! I can't believe they came that far just to see us.

Time for the second set, in which we have been "ordered" by many to play "Yum" -- a lot of dog lovers in this room!  Don announces that we're about to do our last song.  "Noooo!" cries Laura, "Alyssa hasn't done her instrumental piece yet!"  Ah yes, we'd cut that one out of the setlist, because Don had wanted me to sing "Jezebel" in the first set -- which he says blew him away when I did it as an extra "filler" in Enderby.  But a request is a request, so I play my cello version of "Both Sides Now" -- which seems to be much appreciated, so I'm glad she asked. :-)

Then it's the last song, for real this time. :-)  Where does the time go?  We could play forever, but... we're also eager to dig into the plates of munchies that Ruth kindly saved for us, and finally have a glass of that wine we've seen everyone else enjoying.

More chit-chat and big hugs good-bye. James seems terribly embarrassed that we didn't bring in as much cash as last time, but we really don't mind, and the "take" has been just plenty, thank you very much.  Please do not feel badly at all, it was good money and we had such a FABULOUS time, we wouldn't mind if it was half of that.  We've also had another offer of a house concert the next time we're coming through, plus Ruth's "partner in promotional crime", Ernie, is already fantasizing about putting us into a new venue currently under construction.

This sooooo makes up for Friday night in Vernon.

We kind of knew it would, but it sure feels good to have such a strong reminder of why we do these things, the day after we were wondering why we do such things.

Won't you help me sing
Redemption songs
Redemption songs

Joyful, we bid adieu to our hosts, load up the car and head back to Ruth & Mike's.  There, we break out the beer and the black bean tostitos (our newest addiction), chat away some more and listen to more music.

Oops, we did it again -- silly us. 2:00 am. :-)

Musically -- yes, musically!


  1. I'm living vicariously through you on the road!

    Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow! Will you be here by dinner? 7pm? Hope so -- I'm planning on it. Salad Nicoise.... And yes. I'm bribing you with food :)

  2. Yes, we'll be there for dinner! :-) Will send a note as we're leaving, and call as we hit the border.