April 26, 2022 - University of Illinois, Chicago

After a wonderful virtual show for Vassar, it was equally wonderful to do an in person show at a place I've come to think of as a sort of home: UIC. The last true classroom show I did was... also at UIC last year, somehow already seven months ago.

Surveying those seven months, I find a number of notable in person shows: at two conventions, in a new state, and in three new countries

This time I was able to perform safely without wearing a mask, which was a nice logistical improvement over last semester's show. I've mentioned before that I love UIC's austere classrooms and diverse audiences and this time was no different: by my account it was my 11th hometown performance there (spread out over 7 years).

The students in this myth class were particularly predisposed to what I do: their study of the material included a healthy dose of reception (a fancy word for (more) modern versions of the Odyssey) and their questions reflected their understanding. We also had 75 minutes for the program (rather than just 50) which left time for a really fun and varied discussion. 

Maybe it's celebrating 20 years of doing Odyssey performances this month or getting back to in person events as pandemic restrictions moderate or beginning The Blues of Achilles shows in earnest or working on several creative ways to expand what I've done with epic or a combination all of these things I've listed in this near-run-on sentence but (takes breath) I've started to be nostalgic about these songs. Nostalgic and... truly comfortable with them as a part of my unique legacy.

A student at the UIC show asked if I had a favorite song of the 24 I sing. I pointed out as I often do now that I was Telemachus' age when I wrote the collection and now I'm Odysseus' age, so my perspective on my own material has changed.

It's been a couple of decades full of twists and turns (to steal a phrase from Fagles) but every Odyssey show feels like home to me, whether I'm singing in my city or one across the Atlantic closer to Homer's turf or somewhere in between.

Who knows what the next 20 years will hold for me and these songs but the first 20 have been so good I can't wait to find out...

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