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Chris Bates

The Day’s Delight: Backstage – On Stage – New Stage

When you move all the lamps and set up the laptop on a plant stand.

When you find the prettiest potted plants to decorate the piano top, and move your Golden Gnomie award into the frame.

When you walk around the house singing harmony parts and recording them into your phone, and then singing the melody along with yourself.

When you strew papers about, looking for those story notes you haven’t needed since last March.

When the day job lasts the longest it ever has and you just can’t settle because even though the theatres are closed, even though there are no tickets to sell or comps to give magnanimously, even though it’s impossible or at least improbable– TONIGHT THERE IS A SHOW.

And Then:

It begins. Two bass players and a Swedish folk singer who thought she’d irrevocably chosen the path of words, not music, more than two decades ago.

A year ago I had less than zero interest in doing zoom concerts. A year ago a lot of other things were different in my life, too.

Now, as with the almost-March wind blowing the ice away, as with the faint memory of green growing things becoming more real and less like a dream, I become a performer again. Slowly, in small doses, in a way I never knew I could be.

We took it in turns, plucking at strings and transposing fairy tales. The audience watched from their own little windows and unmuted themselves to applaud. They said we ought to collaborate as a trio, that they would come to see that show in the Magical Future when such things are possible again.

After the show we talked about collaborating– no big deal, just me and Liz Draper, who plays with the Grammy-winning Okee Dokee Brothers and Charlie Parr (and pretty much every band in Minneapolis, it seems), and Chris Bates who was once her mentor and who plays with the esteemed Sam Miltich and who surely has a longer list of credentials than that. We talked about making music in the harbor, on shore or in boats: kulning and jazz bass– antiphony al fresco.

You step out into what’s new and find you’ve been loving it all along. And when you look around, there are some pretty cool people loving it, too.