It almost, ALMOST, worked out that my last Odyssey performance of 2020 was for the same school as my last performance of 2019.
But I booked a last minute show for a high school in Texas that happened a few days after my November 17 virtual engagement with Pomfret School so... not quite the perfect framing moment about which I thought I might get to write.
But... it's 2020 and there are no rules... so... I'm going to write the "end of the year" blog I was planning on writing for this show and do something different as a postscript for the actual last performance of 2020.
On November 18, 2019, I flew to Providence, RI, and drove to Pomfret School in Connecticut to perform the Odyssey for a high school class. I wrote about the show HERE and reading this post now is almost like considering an ancient culture. I loved this trip and it is dizzying to think about what I had planned for 2020, plans that were mostly made moot by the third month of the year. I did get a few wonderful trips and shows in, most notably to Texas for my 300th Odyssey show and to Hawaii and Wyoming to notch performances in my 40th and 41st states. I did get to go to San Francisco in March (when I probably shouldn't have looking back at how the virus was exploding) to premiere The Blues of Achilles.
I didn't get to do driving tours in March and April to the east coast for both Odyssey and Blues of Achilles shows.
I didn't get to perform in some of the new states I had booked: Maryland, Alaska, Oregon, Kansas... or any of the other five remaining states in which I had strong leads.
I didn't get to go to Europe for a monthlong tour that had confirmed shows in the UK, Ireland, France, Greece, Italy, Sweden, and The Netherlands.
A younger Telemachus-aged version of myself would have been unconsolable about this, but my Odysseus-aged self more or less shrugged his shoulders and immediately pivoted to exploring how my two classically-rooted works might function in a distance-learning environment. And somewhat to my surprise, it turned out there was a demand for them and they seemed to bring value to teachers and students across the country (and the world).
So some totals for 2020 are:
22 Odyssey shows (7 in person, 15 virtual) plus 10 Blues of Achilles shows (1 in person, 9 virtual).
A discussion about a video of a performance (and plans to explore this format and more in the future).
Online audience members in Greece, The Netherlands, Canada, and China.
Repeat business from a number of institutions, both colleges and high schools.
A handful of confirmed virtual shows for 2021 already and promises to rebook canceled in-person shows when conditions allow.
Not a bad recovery at all.
I have these online shows down to a pretty solid routine and so on a bright Tuesday afternoon, I set up in my office and joined a Zoom room. My contact at Pomfret, that same great teacher that hosted me last year, had his dozen or so students gathered in an auditorium on campus (masked and distanced). I launched into my talk and then my song, keeping an eye on the audience in the small window on my computer screen (more on this when I write about my final performance of the year).
After a great discussion, I exited the Zoom room and thought about all that changed this year with respect to my work and career.
And all that stayed the same.
I love performing and talking about the Odyssey. Audiences dig it. I find new things every time I engage listeners.
November 2020 doesn't look like I thought it would in November 2019, but if it's anything the Odyssey teaches us, journeys rarely go as planned.
And we sail on towards 2021...