An unexpected pay-off of playing live music is sharing an important moment with members of the audience.
The other day I was playing live music for the patrons of the Winery at Bull Run. There were quite a few folks there enjoying the day. One fellow in particular was struck by my delivering “Heart of Gold” by Neil Young. He really enjoyed it, and hadn’t heard it in a long time.
We struck up a conversation, and it turned out that he played some himself, though not professionally. As I usually do when meeting a fellow musician, I offered to let him have a go on my guitar and sing a song for all of us. He declined at first, but I couldn’t resist asking him again since music clearly gave him so much pleasure. He decided to give it a try.
He sang “Come Monday” by Jimmy Buffet, and I sang back up for him. His two girls and wife cheered him on, squealing and taking movies. After he finished, he beamed and basked in the lively response from the crowd. His family gathered round him, very delighted and pleased, and he wrapped his arms around the three and they wandered off, a tight, happy group.
As I watched them retreat, I was thrilled to have been able to share that moment with them, to be able to help them have such a fine time and a memory. Honestly, I forgot what I was about in the sheer pleasure of that moment. That was a pay-off that goes beyond money or a good crowd response.