I am going to play my first performance in more than 20 years! I’m more excited about this than I can articulate at the moment! It wasn’t quite so real until last night. But here’s the while story (it’s short – for me).
The mother of one of my students teaches cosmetology at Snow College, where I’m teaching some CIS classes. She came by my classroom a couple of weeks ago with one of her students, Anna. They tell me how Anna has been asked to sing “something patriotic” at this event coming up for “the elderly” and she needs a guitarist to accompany her. It’s on a Monday, so I tell her I can do it if it doesn’t interfere with my class schedule. She agrees to get me the information I need, (like the exact time, what song she wants to sing, etc.) and life goes on. A couple of days ago, she confirms the time and says she wants to do “Proud To Be An American” by Lee Greenwood. I’ve never even thought about playing this song before, so it’s a challenge, but I think I’m up to it.
So, Tuesday night, I’m looking at internet tabs for this sing, and they’re all just simple chord charts, which is fine because that’s the kind of song this is, but when I try to play it along with the recording, in order to learn the arrangement and timing, it’s just all wrong. I tried figuring out the bass notes, and it’s like F# to A#, and I’m trying to figure out how he’s doing that with what sounds like open string chord fingerings, and why is every tab I find insisting that it’s something else, none of them sounding correct, and none of them saying anything about using alternate tunings or capo.
Then I found it! Using a capo at the 3rd feet, the chords fall very easily into some rather common chord fingerings, and I’m off to the races. Unfortunately, in order to get a decent night’s sleep, I had set a timer for my practice, and by the time I found accurate sheet music, I only had time to go through it once or twice before my time was up.
So, Wednesday night, I meet Anna at her house and play the song for the first time. Years ago, this was a fairly regular thing for me, but it hasn’t happened in so long, I wasn’t sure how I’d do. I’m glad to report that, although the arrangement we’ve decided on isn’t 100% in my fingers yet, and I did stumble a few times, I’m still pretty damn good at learning a new song very quickly, and it suddenly feels much more real that I’m actually going to perform again!
Turns out, this event coming up is the annual Veteran’s Day celebration in the Sevier Valley Center theater here in Richfield, and it’s kind of a big deal. This town is pretty small, and the level of patriotism is pretty high, so an event like this is very well attended. This makes it that much better for me, ’cause I’ve always had more fun when there are more people in the audience.
So now, I just have to practice! 🙂