Last night I heard six people get up on a stage and tell a story about the song that changed their life. Four of them knew ahead of time that they were going to perform, but the other two did not. They were willing tellers though, because they had thrown their names into the hat agreeing to speak if their name were drawn, but they’d had no time to plan or make notes.
This is an event presented four times a year by KUNC, the local Public Radio station in Greeley-Fort Collins. Admission is free. The venue is the newly-opened, funky art theatre, the Lyric in Fort Collins. The evening is reminiscent of the Moth Radio hour on National Public Radio.
This evening was special because after each story, a talented singer-guitar player played and sang the life-changing story. One storyteller remembered how her dad’s rendition of Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore often followed by Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley and the one about that life-long ride on the MTA in Boston quieted six rambunctious kids bound for Cape Cod squeezed into the back of the family station wagon. Somehow, the repetition of round after round calmed down the fractious siblings and they made it to the beach in one piece every weekend, a routine that continued all summer.
Others remembered songs that helped them out of a tight spot, saved them from possible harm when they accepted a ride from a questionable hitchhiker, set them on the road to a singer-songwriter career or even saved their lives at a dark point.
These people were poised and funny, emotional and authentic, so willing to share, with a roomful of strangers, how a piece of music had changed their lives. I admire their guts and their talent. They make it look easy. I don’t think it is.
Thanks to KUNC and National Public Radio for giving them the opportunity and making possible a fun-filled and meaningful evening.
By the way, Still Running a book of stories about my life on the run will be available soon on Amazon. I’m waiting for a final proof.