I awoke on Tuesday with my manic Monday travel schedule still echoing in my brain and body… but feeling refreshed after just a few hours of sleep. A hotel breakfast, a shuttle ride back to the airport to pick up a rental car, and I was on my way for the hour drive to Pomfret School, a private mostly boarding high school in northeast Connecticut.
An English teacher at Pomfret runs a class that spends an entire trimester reading and considering the Odyssey… so basically my dream audience. I played there in person in 2019 and virtually in 2020 and 2021. Reading back through those posts is really something. I can see the entire arc of the pandemic through my responses and work.
The 2019 show with its hopefulness and plans of 2020 (something I wrote about in the first post of this tour). The 2020 show with its acceptance and investment in virtual performances. And the 2021 show with its tentative step back into more in person shows while still working on Zoom.
Which is all to say, I was thrilled to be back in person in the same beautiful room in which I performed in 2019.
It was a chilly but beautiful fall day as the small group of students settled into the big arm chairs in the late morning sun. The room has an amazing echo in it, creating a warm depth without any muddiness. My voice was immediately present and even after the previous day’s travels I felt energized and an open conduit to the song.
After an exceptional, deep discussion, my contact and I had some time to get lunch and catch up. The first time I visited in 2019 I had to run right back to the airport but because I had shows the next day just down the road at another school, I booked a hotel and had the luxury of the rest of the day off.
We wrapped lunch with discussion of a 2023 show and I went to my hotel, grateful for some hours of quiet. I tracked down a river running path and got in five glorious miles among leafless trees. I found a steakhouse walking distance from my accommodations and enjoyed some regional cuisine (clam chowder).
Settling in for the night ahead of a forecasted winter storm, I took stock and thanked the Muse and Apollo that my voice felt strong and I was healthy. Two more shows the next morning, the final Odyssey shows of the year, and then home. Only one more trip in 2022, a Blues of Achilles show in Tulsa the week after Thanksgiving.
As has been the case 4 years running, my Pomfret show is a moment to reflect on the year that’s passed and anticipate the year to come… and I’ll do so in my last blog about the final shows. For the moment, I’ll just say that I’m ready for whatever 2023 brings, whether it’s exactly what I have planned, what the universe gives me, or something in between.