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On the road (in the air) again! 11/4/2014
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Jim and I kicked off our busy month of October with a big benefit for Foster Care in Salt Lake City. The sponsors couldn't have been nicer and the turnout was fantastic. What’s more, it felt like a launch party for concert season! I did poke a hole in my dress as I ascended the stairs to the stage and Jim knocked over a glass of water on the floor near his foot pedal, but apart from those oops moments, this black- tie affair was a success from every point of view!

The following day, within a few hours of touching down at Cleveland’s Hopkins International Airport, I was singing with my friend, Abe LaMarca, at another fundraiser, this time sponsored by Key Bank. Although this event was lower "key" (pun totally assumed!), it was successful too and we had a wonderful time.

A week later, I rejoined Jim for a show in Aurora, IL. Brilliant violinist and longtime friend, Tracy Silverman, joined us there, thus reforming my favorite threesome. We work so well together, it’s uncanny…but I’m sure you have noticed!

Val, production manager of the beautiful Paramount Theatre--and a natural comedienne--picked me up at Midway Airport. A cross between Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller, she is achingly funny and a wonderful storyteller. It was fun to learn that we had more than a few parenting experiences in common. Needless to say, Val entertained me for the hour-long trip to my hotel, in Aurora.

After checking into my room, I met Tracy in the lobby and we headed for the theatre where we were to rehearse with Jim for the upcoming "On A Winter's Night" Holiday Tour, as well as for our show that night. This year our trio will comprise the tour cast, just like old times, which should make for a very polished, yet cozy atmosphere.

We rehearsed for three hours, then dined on a scrumptious meal from a local restaurant with Jim’s parents, who had driven in from Chicago.

The evening's show was not the holiday program, of course, but we offered a sneak peek with our new song, "I Wish It Was Christmas All Year", from Jim’s new holiday CD. Well received! After the show, we visited with fans and friends who had traveled from all corners of Illinois and beyond. The audience was fabulous as always.

I returned home for just a few days before flying out again, this time to Orlando, where Jim, Tracy and I were booked for the annual Eat To The Beat Concert Series at Epcot Center. We delivered three 30-minute shows over two nights and the crowds were great. It was a real treat spotting familiar faces in the audience--some in attendance at all four shows! We are so blessed to have so many wonderful people who follow our music. They—you--are what make us tick.

Among the aforementioned familiar faces were old friends, Rachel and Peter, who opened their beautiful home to us for more holiday show rehearsals. They served a beautiful lunch, and transported us to and from our hotel, enabling us to fully focus on the show. We've known them for years and they are as gracious and charming as ever. Thank you again, Rachel and Peter, for your matchless hospitality!!

It was also to fun to see Rick Barranco, (Disney Music Producer) and his darling wife, Amy, backstage, after one of the shows. More lovely people! I have known Rick for the longest time and hadn't seen him in years.

On the more personal side, my last visit to Disney World as a mom goes back 20 years, to when our kids were small. I’d forgotten what an empire it is. While there, I was able to squeeze in a trip to Animal Kingdom and dine at the wonderful Flying Fish Restaurant. The weather was beautiful and all in all, our date with Orlando was pretty amazing!

From there, Jim and I flew northwest, to Minneapolis, where we spent a day off with our friend and sometime duet partner, John Trones. As you may recall, John toured with us a number of years ago. He has a beautiful tenor voice, and is an all-around wonderful guy. He was to share the all the duets with me the following evening in Hinckley, MN.

Meanwhile, the three of us enjoyed an organic lunch and took in a beautiful 3-mile walk around one of Minneapolis’ many lakes. John also gave me a little personal tour of the city that included the house that played Mary Tyler Moore’s house exterior in her show of the same name.

But night was falling and it was time to set off for the hour-long drive to The Grand Casino in Hinckley. We checked in at our hotel at around 8 pm. I tucked myself in with a good book and fell asleep early, for once!

The next morning, after breakfast and a workout, we prepared for our four o’clock show, starting with sound check at 2 pm. We were met at the theatre by our new Production Manager, Cassie, who will be with us on the holiday tour. The audience of 2,000 was wonderful and we all had a great time. After a post-show dinner, I retreated to my room for the night and flew home the next morning.

Again, only for a couple of days...Before I knew it, I was off to Baltimore, for two shows with Jim at The Barns at Wolf Trap. After landing at BWI, I was met by my Uber driver, who navigated a tricky rainstorm to deliver me safe and sound to my hotel in Vienna, VA, an hour away.

I was able to take a short nap (it sounds like I’m always napping--I grab one when I can!) before Jim picked me up for the drive to Wolf Trap. A charming 350-seat venue situated in a gorgeous barn, it is nestled in the lush woods of a National Park. After sound check, we drove downtown for a bite to eat. The place was swarming with kids in costume and chairs were lined up along the main street, awaiting the annual Vienna Halloween Parade! The restaurants were on overdrive, but a take-away salad bowl from Chipotle saved the day!

Our first night at Wolf Trap was great and the audience was fantastic. I especially love to play at these intimate venues, as you know.

My elementary school friend, Nancy, attended the show with her husband, Mark. The last time I had seen her was when we played Wolf Trap two years ago. She moved to Potomac, MD, when she was 14, and I had seen her at several class reunions since. But Nancy is one of those friends with whom I can pick up where we left off, no matter how much time goes by. I only saw her briefly after the show, but we would be getting together for an early dinner the following day.

And so it was that after working out and devoting the day to my music, I drove to meet Nancy and Mark at their beautiful home. We enjoyed a tasty dinner in town and we had fun re-connecting and sharing family photos and catching up on classmates. But all too soon, I was bidding her goodbye until next time.

Without missing a beat, I went from the restaurant to our last show at Wolf Trap. Again, the audience was just lovely and everyone rose to their feet at the end of the show. What a fun two days! I look forward to a future performance there.

After the show, Jim and I drove back to Baltimore, where we stayed at a hotel near the airport. I had a 6:15 am flight home to Cleveland, via Detroit the next morning. On four hours of sleep, I was up and away on this (actual) Halloween day.

Once home, I ran a few errands and managed a restorative nap before dressing up as a mermaid for the evening. For a new twist this year, a bunch of friends and I were entering a Halloween costume contest as a group. My costume--a long dark wig and form-fitting dress with a tail--wasn’t as inventive as I would have liked (although my friend, Joni, added some sparkling green coral to my dress, which raised the bar a bit,) but as a group we won the $500.00 prize!!

I had made the mistake, however, of spraying black hairspray on my bangs to match the wig, and it rubbed off on my face and hands in the course of the evening...fortunately, after the jury had its say. By the end of the night I looked like a dirty mermaid, on leave from a gritty pirate ship at the bottom of the sea! I know, you’re going to want to see a picture now…

In between concert dates, this October, I found time to take in the movie, “Gone Girl” (a chiller!), attend the grand opening of a fabulous restaurant called Crop Kitchen at Cleveland's University Circle, tuck in some yoga classes, and of course, continue to write and record for my upcoming CD!

Until next month, although it may seem a bit premature today, may I wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all?