|What a month!!!!!
June began to whirl with a trip south to Hilton Head Island. What initially drew us there was the wedding of the youngest daughter of very dear friends, whom you are sure to have seen at one of my concerts. Given the destination, and thanks to our cousin’s offer to lend us his condo there, my sister and I decided to build a family vacation around it.
My sister, Wendy, and I flew out on the 3rd and landed in Savannah, rented a car and drove the hour to the southern tip of the island. Our cousin’s lovely place was going to accommodate my sister, her son, daughter-in-law, their two little ones (arriving the following day), my hubby, flying in three days later, and me for the week. And it worked out beautifully.
We enjoyed riding our bikes to the beach, splashing in the Atlantic, relaxing on the deck and dining at a different restaurant every night. But two days into our trip, I awoke feeling like I had a glass shard in my eye. After hoping it would just go away, I saw an ophthalmologist on the island, who found no glass, but discovered an infection. The $200 eye drops (oops) worked their magic, however, just in time for the wedding rehearsal.
All the guests were invited to the fun rehearsal cook-out. Though it poured rain, we had a blast reconnecting with friends and family and even cheering for Cleveland’s Cavs in a playoff game, televised in the hotel bar, after the party.
The lovely wedding ceremony took place the next day. Against all odds, the weather was perfect! I had the honor of singing five songs and was so happy to be a part of the nuptials of the darling bride and her groom.
A few hours later, we drove to the reception at The Omni Hotel. Set on a beautiful deck with stunning views of the ocean (reminiscent of a recent family wedding overlooking the Pacific), it was gorgeous and the food was delicious. My sister's son, daughter-in-law and their 3 1/2 year old were guests too, and the little one danced the night away, holding her own with the rockin’ grown-ups! We all had such a great time.
In the morning, guests enjoyed breakfast on the beach, courtesy of the bride's three cousins. It was another perfect day of beach games, good food and great company. We ended the day at The Sea Shack, where we all lined up to take away the best seafood on the Island. It was well worth the wait! Hooray for cousins!
The following day, we were on our flight back to Cleveland.
My sister was picked up and dropped off at her house by our son, but my husband and I drove straight from the Cleveland airport to Wooster, to meet his old high school buddies for dinner. In town from Atlanta and Raleigh, NC, they were leaving the next morning, making this our only chance to see them. We spent a lovely evening together on the patio of the Wooster Inn, right next door to…a wedding reception! But when we arrived home, we were ready to collapse!
Meanwhile, my brother had arrived from Charlotte while we were away. He was staying at our place, but we wouldn’t see him until the following morning. The day before he attended the Cavs’ playoff game, the very one we had watched on TV in Hilton Head. Then, while we were in Wooster, he was enjoying the Tom Petty concert (an early birthday gift from his wife) downtown at Gund Arena (where he had seen The Cavs the night before) with friends, who had flown in from NYC and Michigan to see him.
We awoke the next morning to fresh bagels and cream cheese, which my brother had picked out at Bialy’s, his favorite bagel purveyor --conveniently located several blocks from us. We chatted over breakfast with him and his friends, who had spent the night. But I had to run for groceries to refill my empty cupboards.
One of our visitor’s cars was blocking the driveway, so I borrowed my brother’s rental…only to be rear-ended at the traffic light up the road: GROAN!!! The young gal reading her phone in the car behind me got a little distracted …. “My” car was still drivable, fortunately, and her insurance covered everything, but I solemnly swear I will never drive another rental car unless I’ve rented it myself!
Later that day, we had a family cook-out in honor of my brother. My sister, her son, daughter-in-law and their two kids, my son and his gal, our mom and my husband were all on hand to make it a fun evening for all. We had our guest all to ourselves that night and there was a lot of catching up to do!
The next morning, I treated him to a Yoga Fusion class, led by my good friend and instructor, Joni. Appreciative of all sports, my bro loved the workout. We met my sister afterwards for a yummy Indian lunch, before saying our good-byes. And then he was off to the airport for his return flight home.
No sooner had he gone, than I found myself rehearsing with Abe and our 11-piece band, for our upcoming show at Cain Park, June 22. It went well! Abe and I are so very lucky to have nine fabulous musicians and two fantastic singers in our band.
Two days later, to promote our concert, Abe and I recorded an interview with the lovely Grace Roberts for her show on 107.3 The Wave, the Smooth Jazz radio station that plays our music. After that session, we were interviewed by Mark Ribbons, Program Director for The Wave. Mark launched our first two singles, which have made it onto radio playlists all over the country. He’s our lucky charm! The Wave is always there for us! We are so grateful.
To complete our pre-concert campaign, I stopped in at WKYC TV thanks to Producer and friend Teri Moir. For years, I have co-hosted various morning shows, whether guest-hosting for a week-long stint or filling in for a missing host, and have always been welcome to perform and promote my own concerts and events. I didn't sing live this time, but my single "Rise and Shine" played during my interview with Michael Cardamone. I had fun promoting the concert with Abe, and boasting about magical Cain Park!
The Evans Amphitheater at Cain Park is one of Cleveland’s best-kept secrets. Nestled in the woods of one of our leafy suburbs, the canopied outdoor theatre seats 1,200, with the lawn offering a more casual audience option. All who experience Cain Park love the place! I’ve attended many concerts there, both as an audience member and performer and the vibe and the acoustics are tops.
Before we knew it, we were rehearsing one last time and all set for the show!
June 22nd was a beautiful evening with no sign of rain. The staff was wonderful and the audience--including my family, my 92-year old mom, many friends and committed fans, as well as newbies experiencing us for the first time--was simply fabulous! The night was a success!!!
But the next morning, I awoke to a bug that knocked me off my feet. Literally. I had a fever, headache, nausea, uncontrollable chills... just to name a few symptoms. I was scheduled to tape another song for Jim’s TV Christmas Special, but it was simply out of the question. The fever lasted six days and I started to feel well enough just in time for the arrival of my best high school friend, Bud, and his son, Simon, who would be staying with us for three nights. It was our big high school reunion weekend. Although I was still not myself, I enjoyed having Bud and his beautiful 12-year-old.
The first event took place Friday night at Burntwood Tavern, where my fellow classmates gathered without spouses or partners. I really enjoyed the evening, seeing friends that I hadn’t seen since high school! We have small reunions every 10 years, but not everyone can attend. Our 40th attracted about 200 out of our class of 500, which felt great. Such a fun night!
The following day was not only the last day of the month AND my wedding anniversary, but also the main reunion event at Acacia Reservation, a beautifully renovated country club situated in one of Cleveland’s Metroparks. My “beau” of 33 years escorted me and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner, and a moving, inspiring speech by Class President of 1977--and my best bud, Bud. Reconnecting with so many warm and lovely classmates was fabulous—I think our class was truly exceptional! Could my opinion be biased?
And the fun didn’t end with the even. An after party continued at my house, until 3:30 am! We were only a small group of nine, which included Michael, who had traveled the furthest, from Portland, Oregon. I was tired and still on the mend from my crazy June bug, but this memorable weekend gave me a huge boost.
For the next chapter of my hectic, non-stop schedule, you’ll have to wait until next month…..