This was a fund-raising event for the UREC, with an open mic. Performers were asked to submit a short video of themselves performing music, or reading, & then attend the “Coffee House” on Zoom. If you don’t know about the UREC, based in Albany, NY, check out their website &/or Facebook page. I like to support the work of the center so I made my donation & sent in a video of myself reading “When Donald Trump Farts” since this event was just 2 days after the ex-President was sent scurrying back to Florida.
It was in many ways a family affair with the family members of many of the performers attending, just like an in-person open mic coffee house (I mean, if your friends & relatives don’t show up when you perform, who will?). Zoom said there there 21 “participants” but that means separate Zoom sign-ins, with many couples clearly present, so it was certainly more than 21 attending.
The other performers were Nell Stokes who read the philosophical “Life is a Circle;” Toussaint Santicola Jones singing & playing the intricate piano lines of his tune “Tumbling Down” (which his Mom said is from a forthcoming album titled Gravity Waves; Pat Burke sang “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars to piano accompaniment; Dee Wind had a tale of “Elijah & the Poor Man;” our host for the event wasBrittany Beyus who performed Elton John’s “Your Song;” storyteller Frank Wind’s piece “Old,” inspired by about emails he’s been getting from his son, was about how he, Frank, has lived a long & colorful life (this inspired a remark by Nell Stokes later how “Old” has caught up with her, but old can be your friend); & the most intricate piece a performance of “Colder Weather” by the Zac Brown Band performed by The Colgate Thirteen, in this case 14, an a cappella group, the piece introduced by Francis Criscione (his Mom attending the coffee house).
This evening was another ironic example of the flexibility, & creativity, of artists — of all genres — to respond to the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to find ways to get their/our work out to audiences who are hungry, as they have always been, for the messages, the solace, the inspiration that Art has always provided since even before the cave paintings.