Well, now we're both sick here at The Big House -- actually three of us, counting a sniffling Mollie the cat -- but yesterday evening, as my symptoms abated a bit and Fellow Traveler's just started manifesting, we decided to honor a commitment to hear our friend S sing at The Brass Cafe -- especially since we'd invited three other out-of-town friends to join us.
S is an academician, a professional philosopher; until this week we had no idea she could sing. She'd sent us an e-mail awhile back inviting us to meet her at The Brass to listen to jazz, and mentioned something about a new singer
we might or might not enjoy...and then, a couple of days ago, finally revealed that she was the new act.
When we got to the restaurant, S was setting up with her guitarist -- also, interestingly, a philosophy professor. She greeted us warmly, if nervously, then told us that one of our favorite Brass artists and a close friend of hers, Lois Hartzler , was in Ann Arbor, receiving treatment for an aggressive brain tumor. This made us so sad; we've only spoken with Lois on a few occasions, but we fell in love with her the first time we met her. A self-described "old hippie" who lives on an old farmstead with her husband a county or two over from Outer Podunk, she decided several years ago, at age 58, that what she really wanted to do was sing professionally...so she got some coaching, and then got some gigs, and started taking her show on the road. She's been a weekend regular at The Brass.
"I decided to do this when I found out about Lois," S explained to us. "I'm doing this for her." She smiled, gave us a little gassho bow, then made her way to the microphone.
S did a great job -- sang several sets of pop standards like "How High the Moon" and "Isn't It Romantic"; even scatted a few times. Our friends, who showed up midway through the evening, enjoyed themselves immensely, and we provided S with an enthusiastic cheering section. FT and I buoyed our flagging physical strength with small plates and spicy Virgin Marys.
Remember the old hymn, "It Is Good, Lord, To Be Here"? That's how I felt last night. It was good to be there, with friends, for friends.