The weekend of September 27-28 featured performances of kids-and-family (“kindie”) music by yours truly, two with my band and one solo. What struck me most about last weekend’s shows is the way they led to reconnecting with friends I haven’t seen in a while and to building ties within my community.
Being Facebook friends is nice in that you get to catch up on the doings of people you once saw a lot more often, say when you worked or went to school together. Adult life certainly has a way of dictating how often you get to see even friends you enjoyed being around and we all must make choices about how to spend the time we have.
What I learned about music created by, about and for families over this weekend is that it has tremendous power to create occasions to bring friends back together, along with their families. It was a beautiful fall day that felt every bit like the height of summer in the kids’ section of the Hoboken Fall Art and Music Festival. I had remembered that my friend and old business travel buddy Marc McFeely had been living in Hoboken and I sent him a Facebook invitation to attend the festival. As I strolled around in the audience area playing my guitar solo (acting as a locomotive of a human train), I saw a familiar smile and dozens of hilarious good times and inside jokes came back to me. After the show, I got to meet his wife Aga and their daughters who had soaked up all the joys of the festival – the rides, games, treats and face painting. Marc got to be up close and personal with my daughter who had been mostly a series of cute pictures and quotes on his end until now.
Another moment of bringing families together was the presence of a familiar girl dancing around the audience area in front of the stage enjoying the bubble machine. My mystery of why this girl appeared familiar was quickly answered when I got home from the show and saw this picture, complete with the graphic caption:
This montage was composed by none other than Jennifer Esposito, owner of First Roots Music Studio, who had graciously invited me to perform at her wonderful Grand Opening event. It’s Jennifer’s daughter dancing in front of the bubble machine along with my own daughter, who’s been making new friends left and right at these kindie concerts — both mine and those of fellow artists.
Earlier in the day Sunday featured a birthday party hosted by a Morristown, NJ (coincidentally, my hometown when I was a kid) family that had become fans of ours at the Touch-a-Truck school fundraiser in Warren, NJ last spring. I gave a solo acoustic performance as the little ones rocked along on a blanket under a tent in the backyard. Being asked for an encore was a thrill, as was meeting former NJ Governor Richard Codey and hearing his take on the kids’ entertainment business. I felt that performance played a role in creating lasting memories between friends, brothers, sisters and parents.
Backtracking to Saturday 9/27 at Crane Park Family Festival, this was a hometown show for us, which means that my daughter would see some school friends. Just as with Marc and me, Holly was reunited with a good friend who had moved on to another school. They really enjoyed jumping up and down to the beat of the music together.
Musical and cultural events have a special way of bringing people together especially for the event. Think about fans who follow a touring band from town to town and can count on seeing each other at the shows. I would love to hear your story about how a concert, festival or tour brought you together with friends old or new. Please comment below.