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This is NOT a blog.
Blogs are epidemic and their entries can be painfully long.
This is a Shlog, which stands for "Show Log."
It includes brief Highlights (and Lowlights, when rarely available) from under the Showlights.
And there's pictures, too.
It begins with shows and programs starting in the summer of 2017,
sadly excluding the hundreds before then, because this isn't a book, you know?
It's a blog – I mean, a Shlog.
June 2017 • Songwriters Workshop • Belchertown, MA
Ten teens, two hours, one song to write. Enthusiasm, creativity, exuberance, ideas – did I mention the time? Two hours?
Time: 2:23. They were great. Here's the song.
June 2017 • Song Notes Concert • Mt. Washington, MA
It was a long drive, and eventually a scenic one, to this town in the woods of southwestern Massachusetts.
But because of the bucolic small-town environs and appreciative audience, the drive back wasn't long at all.
June 2017 • Farmers Market • Westfield, MA
After my two-hour set, two people – separately, without any conspiracy that I was aware of – volunteered that my singing voice reminded them of Willie Nelson's. I don't much like his singing voice. So I said, "Oh, really? Wow. Hmm. I didn't . . . [mumble mumble, then exit]."
July 2017 • Family Concert Series • Douglas, MA
My interpretation of Barry White's "You're the First, the Last, My Everything" was an incongruous hit in the show's town museum setting. And in that moment, I felt as if the audience couldn't get enough of my love - I mean music – baby.
August 2017 • Farmers Market • Westfield, MA
Two sisters, 3 and 1.5 years old, sang an a capella version of some Dora the Explorer song that surprisingly was not in my repertoire. I didn’t mind that they ate the microphones a little, nor that the intensely focused look on the face of the littler one, while singing, was a beautiful thing to see.
August 2017 • Ukulele Workshop • Hinsdale, MA
The participants were so enthusiastic and curious that the one-hour show reached 90 minutes, and stopped there only because the Library was closing.
August 2017 • Farmers Market • Westfield, MA
Under threatening skies, I defiantly sang "I Wish It Would Rain," after which someone strongly urged me to sing "You Are My Sunshine." I only knew the chorus, so I sang it four times, as the rest of the song is really dark, with lines including "I hung my head and cried" and "you have shattered all my dreams."
Sept. 2017 • Song Notes Concert • Granby, MA
The new-ish library in Granby was impressive, as was the turnout (quantity and quality), and after the show one gentleman, with mock-outrage, asked how I could exclude Bob Dylan from the show. When I mentioned this to my daughter, she said "He's right." OK, I'm on it . . . for my second Song Notes Concert version in Granby (on August 16, 2018).
Sept. 2017 • Farmers Market • Westfield, MA
The kids were out in full force this time, and that's a good thing. First was a tall 2-year-old who danced and egg-shaked to "Octopus's Garden," a trio who provided an encore, and then a boy who grinned and shaked to a few tunes including "I Won't Grow Up." (I did not inform him that he was incorrect.)
Nov. 2017 • Song Notes Concert • Warwick, MA
I cut five songs to do a one-hour version of Song Notes, but kept "Both Sides Now" to have at least one female songwriter. After the show a woman came up to me, smiling, and said "I don't think you should do 'Both Sides Now,' because Joni Mitchell sang it so much better." "Yeah, we don't look alike, either," I said. "Oh," she added, "but I enjoyed everything else that you did." "And I enjoyed everything you said, except the Joni Mitchell comment." (No, I didn't say that.)
Nov. 2017 • Song Notes Concert • Barre, MA
For this post-Thanksgiving show at the Barre Senior Center I was thankful for the heroic organizational work of Lorraine and Dick (you know who I mean), plus all the other folks in the audience. Lorraine was about to head to Florida for the winter, so we serenaded her with "Happy Trails." But I doubt that she got there on horseback.
November 2017 • Ukulele Workshop/Funshop • Russell, MA
The uke enthusiasts of Russell and environs broke their own record (from last year) of Largest Ukulele Workshop/Funshop, with a great group of 23 folks ranging in ages and abilities, but not in enthusiasm. From children's songs to reggae to rock 'n' roll and funk, we were one happily uke-in' group of "Everyday People."
January 2018 • Kids' Songs & Perform-A-Long • East Longmeadow, MA
Back-to-back shows of 24-28 kids each ages 3 to 5 singing songs fun dancing percussion fun using microphone don't touch the microphone, OK? dancing fun percussion don't touch the microphone, OK? singing fun songs dancing fun oh by the way, that microphone -- DON'T TOUCH IT . . . OK?
March 2018 • Ukulele Workshop • Ashland, MA
The audience at the Ashland Senior Center included an 85-year-old jazz drummer, still gigging - as well as other happy-to-learn folks who were not jazz drummers. I was impressed with every one of them.
April 2018 • Ukulele Workshop • Granville, MA
What a great turnout of ukulele players of various ages and experience, including a nine-year-old named Natalie, who became our leader in the end-of-song raised-hand flourish -- OK, you had to be there, and I'm glad I was.
June 2018 • Ukulele Workshop • Brimfield, MA
Returning ukesters were joined by new recruits, and I learned two things: 1) "C is my [Eli's] favorite chord" 2) how to play ukulele even when your fingernails are so long that they get in the way of fretting the strings.
June 2018 • Songwriters Workshop • Belchertown, MA
We had four dedicated writers and three hard-working musicians: singer, guitarist, percussionist. Coordinating all three was a challenge, but it's satisfying to see progress – and their enthusiasm, and willingness to learn and collaborate – in so little time.
July 2018 • 80th Birthday Party • Granville, MA
I have an odd pride in the variety of venues I've performed in, and now that includes "horse barn." It was a great group of people celebrating a woman who made 80 look great, and I honored her by substituting her name for the title character in Chuck Berry's "Maybelline."
July 2018 • Ukulele Workshop • Uxbridge, MA
15 kids joined me (and the Library's resident gorilla), all but one of them learning some chords and some strumming, with a few even leading the singing and strumming while I sat on the floor with the other kids. Time went fast, and everyone got better at playing the ukulele . . . except the gorilla, who was inattentive and recalcitrant.
August 2018 • Market Music • Westfield, MA
Among the songs I played were three by Fats Domino, which I admit is a more memorable name than "Dave Maloof" — as is "Antoine Domino," Fats' birth name. But Fats and I are remarkably alike: He played piano and sang, and I play piano and sing. He was a musical prodigy, and I took clarinet lessons in fifth grade. He was born and lived in New Orleans (1928 to 2017), and I visited New Orleans (2015 to 2015). His last name was "Domino," and I have played dominoes. It's uncanny.
August 2018 • Kids Concert + Perform-A-Long • Webster, MA
I sang and played some songs, but far more important was that kids got involved: strumming ukuleles together, and taking turns singing solo into the microphone while I accompanied them.
NOTE: This is not me or my uke in this photo; I dress better than that for a Uke Workshop (with all due respect, and thanks for this lovely photo).
September 2018 • Ukulele Workshop • Orange, MA
We went over an hour because we just didn't want to stop, playing a total of seven songs (which might be a Ukulele Workshop record), trying out different ukuleles I brought, and considering the plight of the left-handed player (see photo above). The conclusion: I'll string (and bring) one ukulele left-handed, so a southpaw doesn't feel "left out."
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