Bert & Angus [1]

Here we are!  Bert Marshall, who also performs the Gospel of Mark, and I met for breakfast this past Monday at the Chelsea Royal Diner in West Brattleboro in Vermont.  It was wonderful to meet with him and compare notes on our experience of learning and performing the Gospel of Mark.  We shared stories, and talked about the various questions we are habitually asked (and how we respond to them), and the joys and challenges of performing scripture in this way.  The two hours we were together passed in no time, and we parted by exchanging gifts (like two old Indian Chiefs – he gave me a couple of his own CDs he’d recorded – he’s also an accomplished musician/recording artist, and I gave him a copy of Monk on the Edge), and we talked of meeting again – not least to experience one another’s performances and even perhaps to perform together!  Wouldn’t that be something!  One of the joys of this trip has been to see embryonic future plans beginning to be conceived (to say “hatched” might be a bit premature!).

I’m now writing this from a Starbucks on the edge of the Northwestern University Campus in Evanston, Illinois having driven this morning from Kalamazoo up to Chicago and into downtown Chicago to visit the Jazz Record Mart on East Illinois Street!  From the window I glimpse a view of Lake Michigan.  Sky overcast but sun breaking through.  Shortly, I will drive 16 miles due west to Arlington Heights where I will be performing this evening at St. Simon’s Episcopal Church.

Last night I was at St. Timothy’s in Richland, Michigan (about 11 miles from Kalamazoo) which is situated in its own parkland of 44 acres complete with its own lake and canoe launch for the boy scouts!  I have to confess the performance itself was a bit of a struggle, though it seemed to go OK, and I think I performed OK though I was conscious that I was having to make a real effort and draw on all the energy reserves at my disposal.  Partly, I was battling with a microphone that kept booming and at certain points made a loud BANG (which had the spin-off benefit of waking up anyone who might have been dozing off!); but mainly, I think, I was struggling with tiredness.  On Monday, after meeting with Bert Marshall, I set off from Vermont heading west to Cleveland, Ohio and was on the road for a full ten hours.  I had a much shorter drive on Tuesday (yesterday) from Sandusky, Ohio, but I think I was still feeling the effects of that long drive on Monday – a reminder not to mix long driving days with performances, but then again, in part it was because I squeezed in the visit with Bert, and that was more than worth it – priceless in fact!


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