Last night I had the honor of being the first live act to play at the 50's Diner and Smokehouse, which has excellent food and service, yet reasonable prices and an unpretentious atmosphere that is clean, bright and new, with lots of neon and 1950's decor. Everyone loved hearing me play my non-classical set, which is currently about one and a half hours long. When a Beatles song is only about two minutes, it takes a lot of music to fill that amount of time, but I had enough advance notice to prepare, and I did a lot of searching and arranging, and I also bought a bunch of sheet music. To be honest, my contemporary set of cello solos probably has more music from the 1960's than any other period, though it ranges from the 1920's to 2003. I now have my own cello arrangements of classic rock/jazz ballads such as The Girl From Ipanema and Mona Lisa, as well as the obvious choices like Blue Suede Shoes and Peggy Sue. There was a capacity croud at the restaurant (probably about 50 in the room) when I started, and I was told later that a couple of the larger reservations (for something like 14 and 11) had come specifically to hear me play. Applause came for A Day In The Life (Beatles), I'll Have to Say I Love You In A Song (Jim Croce) and Puttin' On The Ritz (Irving Berlin). The applause always makes me smile, and though I have some regret that I didn't have the courage to start performing as a cello soloist earlier in my life, everything feels like it is as it should be. Next time I play at the 50's Diner, I'm going to bring a camera, and begin a collection of "gig shots."
Tomorrow (Sunday May 8) I am playing at the Robin Hood Restaurant for Mother's Day brunch 11-2. For that one, I'm going back to my old format of classical (Bach, etc.) mixed right in with contemporary songs. Depending on how I feel, I will take either one or two breaks.
Today I am going to spend some time putting some original songs I wrote for vocal in college into cello arrangements for myself. Next Saturday, I'm playing for a wedding in Allyn.