I wanted to share with you how the final weekend of April showed up for me. It was a whirlwind (there’s that word again!) of wonderful musical events that strengthened my faith in humanity. I stumbled into May exhausted and hung over from the adrenaline rush, but also, and most importantly, knowing: we can do this. We can make a difference. We can be the difference. We just have to do it together…and out loud.
We kicked off the final Friday of the month with “Maids of the Maid”, a benefit for Mothers in Charge at the legendary Mermaid Inn. Four female-fronted bands rocked the Mermaid to raise awareness and funds for this violence prevention, education and intervention-based organization. Part way through the night, with the room all warm and vibey from the music, two representatives from the organization stood up and spoke about their mission and shared their stories. It was powerful and empowering. We were the final band, and just before midnight, we closed the show with all the female performers joining us on stage singing “River Rock“. Cue the chills.
After a short night, we organized the kids and the puppy, and geared back up for a busy Saturday of two shows in two states. Saturday afternoon we were honored to share “Responsibility“, “River Rock” and “Sing Louder” at the closing reception of We Are All Homeless right here in our home town. This profoundly moving project was created by artist, Willie Baronet, in response to the awkwardness he felt whenever he encountered someone holding a sign asking for help. So he began asking them if he could buy their signs. Willie has purchased more than 1,300 homeless signs over the past 24 years, and uses this collection to create art installations to raise awareness about homelessness.
In the process of gathering signs, he found himself engaging and connecting with people living on the street, and experienced what a difference that simple act can make. Willie went on to film the award-winning documentary, “Signs of Humanity” (which was also screened at the closing event) chronicling his trek across the country speaking with homeless people and buying their signs. If ever you have an opportunity to see this exhibit or the film, please jump at the opportunity…it is beyond description.
Thank you to Father Jim at St. Miriam’s Parish and Friary in Flourtown for bringing Willie to our community and for all you do to help the homeless population right here in Philadelphia.
We drove straight from Willie’s incredibly powerful event to Oxford, CT for yet another connection-fest…a house concert at the home of our great Falcon Ridge Folk Fest friends, Barbara and Paul Kelemencky. We were greeted at Chestnut Tree Hill with yummy food, festive drinks, and a room full of warm and welcoming hearts. I love a house concert, and this was no exception. The vibrations unifying us all as we raised our voices together created a palpable shift in the energy of the room. It was just what I needed to confirm what I’d been experiencing all weekend: When we raise our voices together, we create change. In the room, in our lives, in the world.
We finished our show, but it was hard to end the evening (in fact I did a piss-poor job of it! Sometimes I have trouble disconnecting. I’m okay with that.) Eventually we wrapped the music and conversation and fell into bed, only to wake up a few hours later at 4:30am to drive to Berwyn, PA to load in for our final concert of the weekend…
I can’t tell you how many 100’s of people gathered in the park Sunday morning to run for awareness and prevention of melanoma cancer. You can check those numbers online at melanomainternational.org. But I can report that Team Jackson kept us awash in bananas and soft pretzels throughout our 3 hour show, and then brought me to tears when their fearless leader, 10 year old Jackson, stepped up to the mic to accept an award for raising the most funds that year…in the name of his mom who had died of melanoma.
These people are strong. And they are strong for each other. And I was honored to be sharing my music and my story with them.
That was how April ended for me. I wanted to share it with you.