|March began with a Thursday visit to WVIZ, PBS Cleveland, with Jim. A pledge drive combined with promoting Jim's Cain Park Concert this summer, segments of "Jim Brickman Celebrates the 70's" alternated with the fun part for me: our live renderings of "Peace", "The Gift" and a medley of Jim's most popular love songs.
After the show, I rushed off to pick up my dear old friend, Bud, at the airport. He had flown in from LA to join in the commemoration of our close friend Carol's husband, Greg, who had passed away suddenly a few weeks earlier. Bud would be staying the long weekend at our house.
The next day, fellow classmate and friend, Phil Kushner, and his wife, Judy, hosted a dinner for Carol and a close circle of friends. Their gracious home made a beautiful setting for reminiscing and toasting the memory of Greg. It was a lovely evening.
Greg’s Celebration of Life memorial service took place on Saturday. I sang Jim's song “By Heart", Bud delivered a beautiful speech and another old friend, Don Brown, whom Carol hadn’t seen in 30 years, did as well. Don, who lives in Dallas, was one of the many friends who flew in from all over the country to take part in this very special day. Attendance surpassed all expectations. It was a wonderful, fitting tribute to Greg, and Carol was deeply touched.
The following day, she and her two sons joined Bud and my family, and four other out-of-town friends, at my house for a last gathering. We continued to compare memories and enjoy each other’s company before our friends took leave for their return trips home. We are all finding it so hard to believe that Greg is no longer with us.
The following week, life took up its course once more and I was soon off to Albany, NY to meet up with Jim and Greek tenor, George Perris, for another set of Love Tour shows. Our destination was Rutland, VT and, typical of this year, we hit a snow storm driving there from Albany. But all ended well and we arrived safe and sound in this charming mountain community. We shouldn’t have been surprised by the weather: the last time we were in Rutland, I photographed Jim with my 35 millimeter camera and the photos illustrated his Grammy-nominated Peace album!
Carol's sister, Joan, and her husband, who have a home in Killington, (30 minutes away) attended the show that night. I had just seen them at Greg's memorial, of course, and I was happy to see them again. They brought me a darling Killington T-shirt and we visited a bit after the show. Oh, and the rest of the audience was lovely too!
The following morning we drove to Glens Falls, NY, to perform to a wonderfully warm audience, which, given the weather, was especially appreciated. The next day we journeyed to Utica for our concert there, and the audience was equally receptive. No doubt about it, our East Coast run was a hit!
Our next stop was in sunny Clearwater , FL, a week later. We performed at The Capitol Theatre with Rex Smith as our guest vocalist. Rex has had a career of TV shows, movies, Broadway musicals. Yes, that Rex Smith: the teen idol of the late 70's, probably best known for "You Take My Breath Away". He and his wife Tracy flew in from LA to join us. They are lovely people and Rex is so much fun. He is a powerhouse of energy! We sang "Destiny"" and Valentine" together, as well as a fun rendition of "Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown". I hope that we can work together again!
On the last day of March and for the finale of our Love Tour, Jim and I had a date in Columbia, MO, home to the University of Missouri(winners of The Cotton Bowl last year!). We flew from Cleveland through Chicago, where we had a two-hour layover, then on to Kansas City and a two-hour drive to Columbia.
After the show, we reversed the process: the two-hour drive back to Kansas City, the layover in Chicago, etc. The fact that our Tour Manager, Will, whom I love dearly, had locked the keys in the trunk--thus detaining our departure for Kansas City--added an interesting little twist… What a day! The audience was fabulous by the way!!!! But I was so tired—only three hours of sleep before heading home to Cleveland!
Off-tour, I wrote a few new songs this month with my friend Abe LaMarca, who will be producing my next CD, starting in April. I can't wait!
Until next time, happy spring, everyone!