Preparing for the event was half the fun. I simultaneously took a break from the net last week, which made it easy to focus on my love, the piano (once Josey was asleep). The event was purposefully labeled “Emily’s Favorites” on Facebook- I wanted to ensure I’d enjoy every moment of the night. In truth, I have far too many favorites (literally- mountains and mountains of music) to perform in one evening, but only playing songs that qualified as favs was quite empowering!
Groovin’ to Lake Street Dive’s “Clear a Space" to prepare, I resolved to enjoy my music and perform with confidence. I’ve been doing this for ages, I’m a pro.
James, Josey and I went early to set up my amp and microphone, but we forgot to bring the mic cord. Still, it was fun to show Josey the piano there and see her speed-crawl and chat it up with customers. We even took a family stroll on the river trail before going home.
When I returned, gussied up, a few lovely friends were enjoying a bottle of white wine on the deck. How nice to have some conversation, smiles, pressure relieved. They left me with a glass after helping me soundcheck and heading out to celebrate their holiday on the town. “Cheers!”
|thanks to Amy for the pic!|
Upon my arrival, I had asked Guy, who was working a long shift on the pizza oven, to keep an ear out for the balance. He came over a couple songs in, said I could turn the vocals up a little more. “So, are you from Babb?” He had seen my t-shirt when we were setting up. We chatted about Many Glacier, Charlies, Babb Fest. I asked if he had any requests. "Nope. Just get into it."
Expert advice. I did get into it- sang my heart out, followed my piano grooves, voiced the melody all over the place and used expressive dynamics. Missed a chord change here or there, but who cares? The crowd enjoyed it, and most importantly, I loved every second.
Later, I sipped on my first Diet Coke and Seagrams in between songs, and a jolly man exclaimed, “You’re great! You remind me of Queen Elizabeth.” Um, random. “You play like Mozart and you look like Queen Elizabeth.”
I laugh, “Why, thank you!”
“So what is your birth date? Just month and day.”
“June 11th.” I smile, thinking of Kelly at the Holiday Gas station. Willy Wonka’s Gene Wilder or the explorer Jacques Cousteau.
He pauses just a moment. “Jeannette Rankin!” The first female Senator- from Montana, and a lifelong pacifist. How did I never know that very important fact about my birthday?
He continued, “I got so caught up with her. I asked her to marry me! She didn’t say no, she didn’t say yes, her little cheeks just got rosey! We signed the constitution. She was just incredible. I was thirty and she was ninety, but I would’ve married her.”
Bob and I had a very interesting conversation, and I serenaded him with “Ashokan Farewell” before we “passed like ships in the night.” He shared pictures from his travels and presented me with a Chinese amulet. He had two, so one was mine, he said. I’m going to wear it once I find a perfect gold chain, it will hold unique Jeannette Rankin inspiration. I have a feeling that our meeting was special for him, too.
Mother’s Day Eve wasn’t about connecting with other moms for me this year. It was about coming back to my roots as me. The real me, who's been there all along. Piano Emily. The one who makes connections... connections to bridge space and time through my music. It was a great night, ending for a lively post-Footloose Missoula Children's Theater crowd, who applauded and even cheered!
I’m glad to be back on the schedule at Finn and Porter this Fall. This summer, I’ll be on the keys at Many Glacier whenever pianist Seth wants a break/adventure. Can’t wait!
Happy Mother’s Day to my lovely mom Laura, and to my music mom, Cinda, who is Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and all the wonderful women who help me be the Piano Emily and mom I am today. Love grows.
PS: Have you seen this? Just a Girl- a great series of a five-year-old girl posing up as influential woman like Amelia Earhart and Helen Keller rather than the Disney Princess. Love her expressions, costuming, and the fact that this is making a big ripple in the media. See Jaime's original blog post here. Beautiful for Mother's Day!