April 08, 2007

Happy East And A Good Pass

When I was a musician I was ruthless - economically that is. If the cash was there I'd play any damn place (even did a solo gig for a furniture store once - now that's a tough crowd). If the cash wasn't there neither was I. Some of the best paying gigs I had were also the least satisfying artistically, emotionally & in other ways. The crowd was often indifferent & seriously lacked the kind of character/temperament/soul that I really looked for to feed off while playing. We were servants there to provide a background noise & look cute (or as cute as was possible in powder blue tux's - you try it sometime). But it paid well so I dealt with it for quite a while.

However there was an exception to my musical mercenary ways; charities. If I thought it was a decent cause I'd play for free. I've played for fund raisers for tornado victims, heart attacks, strokes, cancer, & a few other causes. A note: benefits, especially with multiple bands, go as smoothly as an AR that's never been cleaned & just had sand & small pebbles poured into the action. They were typically a logistical nightmare & if I'd have charged I'd have easily asked for 125% to 150% of my going rate just because of the hassle. But if the cause was good the aggravation was worth it.

I bring this up because some of the most satisfying gigs I ever did were at elderly care facilities. They were for free & meant more to me than gigs where I walked away making $500 an hour. The songs weren't usually anything that'd give a Steve Vai wannabe the goosbumps; they were usually simple as hell (really old standards & folk songs & such). But the reaction from the crowd was indescribable. They didn't seem to have much to look forward to & a break in the monotony coupled with singing or humming along with an old tune that reminded them of better days was enough to put smiles on faces that likely hadn't worn one in months. I've always been a sucker for old folks & seeing how happy a bit of music could make them - I really cannot explain it.

I couldn't find a comparable Easter story though I'm sure they are out there. This one is concerning Passover & while reading I caught a glimpse of the feeling I had when I played for free for some old folks who didn't have much else to look forward to.

"Traveling Seder brings Passover to nursing homes"

& since I'm reminiscing about music, here's a Wikipedia page about Passover songs.

So have a happy Easter &/or a good Passover.

Posted by Publicola at April 8, 2007 03:18 PM | TrackBack

I've always been a sucker for old folks & seeing how happy a bit of music could make them - I really cannot explain it.

Hearing about the audience response the nine year olds in my wee wifey's Scout troop would get, working on music and service badges in one foop, gives me a pretty good idea what you're talking about.

Posted by: triticale at April 9, 2007 07:00 PM
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