Out and about in Houston, Texas I heard a soulful and solitary trumpet reverberating off the glass and steel skyscrapers. The sound led me to "Pops" and his friend Reginald. Pops told me he comes to Main St. every day because his "horn" is too loud for his neighborhood and he just needs to play. I sat down with the guys for a while and talked musical philosophy. We all agreed that it's a musicians duty, nay, responsibility to play; that their gift belongs not to them but to all who hear them.
This is a belief I carry with me on stage every time I walk out there.
You never know who really needs you in those moments. Which member of your audience is grieving or lonely or despondant; which have traveled from violence-torn cities (some Mexican friends I met in Austin who came from the heart/den of the drug cartels); who has returned from war and needs their belief in humanity restored so as to live a normal life (a vet I met in Austin who told me he was sorry to have missed the show in Dallas - beacause he was in IRAQ!).
It is our job to serve our audience... humbly.
Pops, Reginald and I agreed that we were meant to meet today. I needed my faith in humanity restored and in his reaching out with his soul through his instrument, I found real human beauty again.
Also: I loved that he played with a lit cigarette and told me that he'd been playing the horn through fifty years and lost his four front teeth to it! And... Reginald told me I was "One Foxy Lady", which made my day especially since this Irish cailín's only experience of such wildlife would be either in the woods across from our house in Kilconnell or a Jimi Hendrix song.
Thank God for character. Here's presenting "Pops" and his orchestra of one: