|The past month may read like an April repeat, but believe me, it's never the same! May kicked off with another show at Vosh, a great club on Cleveland’s West Side. I again joined my dear friends in music, Abe LaMarca and Pete Tokar, along with ace saxophonist, Jim Richards. I can only repeat how much I enjoy singing with Abe and his talented band; this time was no exception! The tunes of Dionne Warwick, The Spinners, Frank Sinatra, Lionel Richie, Bonnie Raitt, Michele Branch, Roberta Flack, Linda Ronstadt etc, worked their magic on the audience once more…and took me back to my first collaborations with Abe, before I started touring with Jim Brickman, a friend who goes back even farther! I get a huge charge out these club gigs with my ole buddies: Stay tuned, we’re working on other dates for the summer!
The following week, I was back in the present, with a show with Jim, tour manager, Wendy Leonard, and Luke McMaster on my agenda. But, I almost missed my plane to Nashville! My youngest was 25 minutes late in picking me up for the airport—as if that wasn’t bad enough, severe thunderstorms caused a standstill on the Cleveland freeway! Did I say how stressful it was? I would never have made the flight and would have held everyone up at the other end had there not been a 30-minute flight delay, probably due to the same weather.
Once on board, I put my frazzled nerves behind me and gratefully melted into my seat. Aaahhh. The crew obligingly made up for lost time in the air and Luke, arriving from Canada, and I arrived Nashville right on schedule. Our “drivers”, Wendy and Jim picked us up and before we knew it, we were on our way to Knoxville. The three-hour drive was chatty and fun but it made me realize just how exhausting the day had been: when we checked into our hotel, I immediately tucked into bed!
The following morning I was fully refreshed. After breakfast and a workout, we walked over to The Civic Center, across the street, where we would be rehearsing with The Knoxville Symphony for our performance that evening.
We have had the privilege of performing with numerous symphonies throughout the US, but the experience of singing with The Knoxville Symphony was right at the top! The musicians were as excellent as they were warm and friendly, the conductor was most gracious, the acoustics were fantastic and the 2,100 audience members were fabulous! There was one glitch, however, when my microphone stopped working and I had to leave the stage, saying “Take 2”. Once the sound technician fixed the problem, I was back on stage, singing “Simple Things”, as good as new. After the show, people thought that it was a planned “bit”! Nope, it wasn’t. But if the audience found it entertaining, so much the better!
The show was indeed a great success, but I missed Tracy. This was the first symphony show that he has ever had to forego. He was in Italy performing with minimalist composer, Terry Riley, though, so I have to believe he was in good hands!
After the concert, Jim, Luke and I had a drink with an old radio friend, Jeff Jarnigan, (B97.5) and his gal, Crystal. They loved the show and it was so much fun catching up. We go back many years with Jeff, when Jim and I would perform at TK’s Annual Breakfast Fundraiser for Children’s Hospital. We have great memories of that annual event…and it’s always a pleasure to see him again.
The following morning I met Wendy and Luke at 7 am for our three-hour drive back to Nashville airport and our respective flights home. This was our last date together until we meet again in Nashville in July.
A week later, Abe got back in touch and asked to join him in duet at The Crowne Plaza, at Cleveland Hopkins Airport. Again, I had a ball! We have so much fun on stage. Abe’s sister and brother-in-law surprised us and we were really taken aback by some folks in town from York, PA, who had seen me sing with Jim, at The Strand Theatre there!
Two days later, it was a gorgeous 75-degree day and our youngest son graduated from college! We are very proud of him and hope and pray that he finds passion and happiness in whatever he decides to do.
Socially speaking, we celebrated Cinco de Mayo over dinner with friends at a fun Mexican restaurant, and caught a slew of movies this month: “Mud”, which was excellent, as well as “The Great Gatsby”, “Django Unchained”, and a French movie, “Dans la Maison”, which was really good!
Memorial Day Weekend, my sister, Wendy, and her husband, Mike, hosted a wonderful cookout for the whole family. It was raining and chilly, but we made it fun indoors!
The last day of May, however, it almost hit 90, now that sounds like a summer announcement, don't you think.