Sunday, November 29, 2009

These are a few of my Favorite Things

Actually, this song is not really among my favorite things, though I like it much more than I did before we played the pit in the Sound of Music. The movie came out when I was a youngster and popular radio stations alternated that tune with 'Climb Every Mountain' and 'To Dream the Impossible Dream'. Remember, it was the Great Society and we could make everything better just by trying.
But I do love the American songbook and familiarity makes that affection stronger through the years. And that familiarity can, to a great extent, be laid at the feet of the Brownville concert series. I don't know what made us first decide to attend a concert in Brownville; its been quite a few years ago now. I know we first heard Herb Ellis play guitar and the concert was in January, so perhaps we had made our perennial New Year's resolution: that is, to listen to more live music. Tough resolution, huh. But we are habitually spur of the moment, and concerts and tickets require planning ahead or driving long distance, so we don't do it as often as we'd like.
Enter the Brownville concert series. It isn't far away and every other month, one has three opportunities to hear the artist of one's choice. We can make up our mind at noon, or four, or five, call over and still reserve our seats. The venue is more intimate than any cabaret or bistro because the performance is the reason and the audience respects the musicians. No clinking glasses or loud cross table conversations. We can talk to our companions any old time but we can't listen to Tony deSare, or Klea Blackhurst, or KT Sullivan, or Joe Cartwright. Well, I guess we can go to Kansas City and hear Joe nearly any time, but those other folks are only in Nebraska because Jim Keene sought them out in their normal haunts on the East coast.
There are a goodly number of regular attendees, mostly Nebraskans, I guess, though we often see folks we know from Rock Port. There is usually a table or two of travellers, in from Omaha, or Lincoln. The crowd can vary from 100 down to 30 or 40. Those smaller numbers make for a great experience for the audience, but its such a shame when that occurs; we are missing major league culture right in our backyard.
We Midwesterners are clearly interesting specimens to the performers. Two appealing brothers who were raised on Broadway melodies made their first trip to a Super Walmart in Nebraska City during their booking in Brownville. They even took pictures. Even without that quintessential outing, all of the musicians note the inarguable smallness of Brownville and the comparative bigness of the country in general and Nebraska in particular. We in the audience laugh in agreement; yep, we know we're small and we know we are odd specimens to them. Wouldn't it be fun to know what they say when they go back? I look at my fellow concert goers and cosmopolitan is not the first word that comes to mind.
We come back from the concerts finely tuned and humming. Refreshed and optimistic again about living where we do. We've never had the chance to see the Christmas extravaganza promised in our email, but this year one of our favorite performers will be there. Even the family Scrooge is looking forward to it! Wonder if he'll buy a CD?......

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