Wheelchairs, Walkers, and Smiles

Every so often we like to volunteer our time performing for residents at various retirement/convalescent communities around So. Cal. In doing so, we get to meet some of the best people, who are full of humor, warmth, and genuine enthusiasm for what we do.

Most recently, at Vista Cove in Arcadia, we played for their weekly Friday Happy Hour and had a fun time. Even though most of our audience weren't as mobile as they would like to be, it didn't stop them from tapping their toes, clapping their hands, and singing along. Before and after our set, we were met with smiles and handshakes, as well as gratitude for taking the time to bring a little melody to their day. In all sincerity though, it's the two of us who come away grateful and honored to have been given the opportunity to do what we love for the best of the best. Thank you Vista Cove residents!!

Party, Party, Party

What a great time we had performing at Edwin Mills in Pasadena! The place was packed on a Tuesday night as everyone was in the Holiday spirit. Our enthusiastic audience, made up of family, friends, and a whole bunch of super nice strangers, stayed with us for the entire 3-1/2 hour performance. There was dancing, singing, more dancing, laughing, cheering, and even more dancing. It was a perfect way to end the year and leave the two of us looking forward to a magical 2019. Thanks all!!

Healing through creativity

This past weekend Sam and I had the privilege of playing at the 3rd Annual CRxEATIVITY FESTIVAL, with the theme Healing through Creativity, produced by my fiercely passionate and talented friend and mentor, Jennifer Seifert.  I applaud Jen for bringing so many people together to share true stories of hope and healing through songs, film, dance, storytelling, photography, painting, laughter and more.  I applaud all of the performers for such courage and sincerity.  And I applaud the dedicated audience for braving a cold California night in December for an outdoor event!  Yes, it does indeed get very cold in Los Angeles in the winter months, something hard believed for me before actually living here.  I'm also going to give a special shout out to the other half of this musical duo, Sam Ortolano, for fingers as nimble and quick as always, keeping the strings warm and vibrant through the night.  Not only did we survive the chill, it was actually exhilarating and set the perfect scene for introducing our Christmas tunes!  

As we were busy keeping things light and bubbly for the cocktail hour I didn't get to share my own story of healing through creativity as so many of the other performers had the opportunity to do throughout the evening.  I suppose my story was told in the singing, in the fact that I was there, doing what I love most.  Maybe I will share more of the story in a later post, but for now I will say that being creative, particularly through music making, and even more particularly within this musical friendship, Caroline and Sam, my soul is happy and at peace.  And close to nothing brings me more happiness in life than to share this joy with others.  I hope for everyone to discover something in life that they love like this.  Let your light shine!


Random Thoughts

Observations from a Wedding Singer and Guitarist who, collectively, have provided wedding music at  probably close to 100 ceremonies, cocktail hours, and receptions to date. Here are a few things that stand out as essential tips to surviving the gig. This isn't a scientific study, just a couple of bits of advice based on our experiences at some of the most bizarre, funny, ridiculous and sometimes disturbing Wedding days.

 First and foremost, the day, as well as the weeks leading up to the wedding, is all about the bride.  Never forget this fact. In that way, the insanity that ensues at some point in the process will be quelled by understanding that everything is taking place for a very specific reason. And that reason is the happiness of the bride.  What about the groom?  Well he's there for the party, and to be at his new wife's side. In the big picture though, he's definitely playing second fiddle to her.

Secondly, for most people, their wedding day is the biggest day of their entire lives.  The bride and groom will remember every detail of the day forever. So treat the gig with the utmost respect. Don't cut corners, don't cause trouble, no complaining or criticizing. Put a smile on your face, be amenable to whatever comes your way and roll with the punches!!  In thirty years you don't the bride and groom reminiscing about how wonderful their wedding day was "except for those musicians who kept messing up the songs" or showed up late, or looked like they just got off a lawn mower.  It's a big day, always keep that in mind.

That's it for now.  More to follow soon!