It was perhaps the best I have ever played, though it would still take two hands to count the mistakes I know I made. I laid down a nice rhythmic groove and kept with it, letting the melody and dynamics breathe the words of well-known and well-worn standards for a solid hour.
I could not have asked for a more responsive audience. Some hummed. Some sang. Some merely mouthed the words. Many brightened perceptibly at up-tempo tunes, a boogie woogie accompaniment, or old hymns. At one point, a hall wanderer drifted by and commented with delight, “Look, you are putting them to sleep.” Sleep too, is responsive. It is my intention to play music that soothes and calms–to awaken sweet memories of long ago.
Yet it was bitter with the sweet; a very melancholy loving of the ivories. I sense it is the last time I will play for this audience. I grow older and so do they. In an ever changing group of approximately 50 appreciative listeners gathered there, only four were male. The reality is, women will travel more years single and alone than as partners, couples, or families. Performing music is a vulnerability that bares the soul in so many ways.