It's Friday in St. Louis and I'm laying low, taking it slow and getting ready for tonight's house concert. I arrived into town on Tuesday. I played on Open Mic night at 1900 Park, a venue owned by my friends, Eric and Janel. I love playing there and I love coming to a town where I can meet up with friends and feel right at home. Before I had even made it to 1900 Park, I stopped by Concordia Seminary where my husband, Jon, studied and met up with our good friend, Josh, who was in town for a symposium. I got there just just about 10 minutes before he was supposed to leave for the airport. It was so great. And there we were, talking in the street, when who should walk down the path? Ben Haupt. Ben was in school the same time we were and we spent the same year together in Oberursel, Germany. Life is crazy and amazing.
An unexpected meeting of old friends, then an evening of new songs and making new friends and then I drove over to Mark and Leigh's where they've been kind enough to host me this week.
I love St. Louis. I have great memories of living here right after Jon and I got married. Our first apartment, my first job, our first year of life together. Great times.
This visit has been filled with them. Great times. Why do I love music so much? Because of feelings and friendship and togetherness. But most of all, I love music because it creates a space that you've never seen before. The evening, the people who gather, the artists who play, the feel of the room. It's different every time and it offers something priceless that only exists for as long as the evening lasts and then it's gone. I love that.
Tuesday was new music, a great space, old friends, a chance to reconnect after time apart.
Wednesday was an amazing room full of open ears and open hearts and four songwriters who were completely in sync and dialed in to the moment for the whole show. It was incredible. The best kind of evenings are when the artist and the audience are in step with one another. That's what Wednesday was. It was the best kind of evening.
Thursday was walking into a place I'd never been to to find of group of ukulele players circled up and singing songs. I can't resist that so I sat down in the empty chair in the circle and joined in. We were all strangers and then we weren't. We were friends and were singing and laughing and having a great time. From there, Bob, Jane and I took the stage and we had a great time playing songs and having fun. Bob and Jane are such great songwriters and such kind, friendly people that it made playing a real pleasure.
Tonight's the house concert. Tonight's the one where I play all the songs. I'm really excited about it because these gatherings are always special. That I get to sing for my dear friends at their house makes it even better.
Tomorrow I'll pack up and head home. I miss my boys, I miss my husband. I take refuge in knowing that I'll be home for a while and will have a chance to catch up after some lost time.
I'm just so thankful for these days and these moments and these people who fill my life. You're one of them. I'll see you out there. If you haven't had a chance recently to find the kind of magic that I've been describing, well, I would say now's the time to walk into an unfamiliar room filled with unfamiliar faces and see for yourself how music makes the stranger feel right at home.