I wasn’t going to write while on vacation but something happened yesterday that forced my hand.
Phil had a piano gig in Waterloo. (He has one everyday except one, while we’re here and 2 on New Year’s Eve. My cousins from Toronto drove down to be there with us and Joan Caesar, the lady who can move mountains, and single handedly got CAM, the Canadian Association of Magicians, off the ground came to be with us as well). Our gracious hosts, Joan and Romaine were there too, of course.
Phil was at senior residence and played his ragtime as usual, and all the old tunes. This is a huge residence and usually the place is packed, but this year it was half empty. The girl in charge explained that one of the sections was in lock down, no one goes in or out because there was an outbreak of some illness.
After the show some of the residents came over to tell Phil how much they enjoyed him and how he was the best piano player ever, and when is he coming back, etc. All this in spite of his unusual number of mistakes and once he had to interrupt the show completely as the sound system failed. The battery went dead as he forgot to charge it after the last show. I must say he handled it well. He said excuse me, this will only take a minute. He untangled a wire and plugged it into a socket and got the ball rolling again.
So what does this have to do with why performers perform. On our way to the back of the theatre, where our gang was sitting, one man and his wife who were still seated, stopped Phil and said, ” I want you to know how much this meant to us. I was a pilot in the war, (World War 2) and when we came back after a mission we would all get together in the rec room and there was always some guy who sat down at the piano and played all the songs you just played. My mind was flooded with all the memories of those days, my buddies and the times we had. Thank you for that. It was wonderful.”
There were tears in his eyes as he spoke, as there were in mine and I had to walk away. Phil too, was overwhelmed by his and his wife’s reaction. That’s why performers perform!