Playing Music In Public

how I got started

During my years in Missouri I gradually learned to play the fiddle. A teacher would have accelerated the process, but I lived out in the sticks.

Betsy and I were invited to a party at a local intentional community; I think it might have been at Sandhill, in Scotland County, not far from our Knox County place.

At that party there was a musical duo, a couple of Truman U. women who sang some good songs. After their first set one of the singers approached me. She said “I hear that you play the fiddle. Want to accompany us?”

I sat in with those women during the second set. I had never done this before, but I think I did okay. Just three-chord songs, after all!

After that set the other singer said to me “You know, there are some musicians in Kirksville who are trying to get a musical group going. Go to [a club name I can’t recall] some Wednesday night and maybe you will find some other musicians to play with!”

So, the following Wednesday I drove to Kirksville and found that club. There I met Christine, a banjo and tin whistle player. Was Rebecca, a guitarist and singer, or Claire, a mandolin player, at that first meeting? Frankly, I don’t remember. There was an oboe player there, a student at Truman U.

That musical meeting was the seed of a band’s formation. For several years Christine, Rebecca, Claire, and I played about once a week, practice sessions at Christine’s place and gigs at Kirksville restaurants and bars. Those were fun times!

At that time both Christine and Claire were professors at Truman, and Rebecca had some sort of administrative job at a Kirksville school. One time I said to Christine:

“You know, if things had worked out differently for me, I might have been teaching at a university!”

Christine said gently “We know that, Larry!”