The middle is the long part of the story. It covers about thirty years. I will give a Reader's Digest version of the story. (Some reader may not be familiar with what Reader's digest is) It was a magazine that was started in1922 that was filled with short stories.
I continued to play and practice my guitar. Most of my guitar playing took place in church during this period. I would play my guitar for kid's church, an occasional Sunday night music special and eventuall I was part of the praise team. I did this for years until i went to a church that had way to many guitar players. I still wanted to play guitar. So I went to a local coffee shop and requested an opportunity to play there. They agreed and that was the start of my singer songwriter journey.
I would go up to the bluegrass festival, north of Holton. It was held at Prairie Lake. This was the same group of musicians that I had played with in Topeka years earlier. They would have a three day, camping, guitar picking and concerts at night. They had a stage, a sound system and shade trees to sit under and listen to the music. I wanted to play of the stage and have people listen to me.
I would attend the festival and take my guitar. I would sit under a tree by the entrance and play. I would sing songs I had wrote, or songs I knew, and occasionally I would even play a bluegrass tune. I met other musicians who would stop by and talk and play songs with me, But mostly it was just me, Being me, playing songs I loved or songs I wrote.
I carried on this tradition for ten years. Oh , I would miss a year, here or there, but the next year I'd be back in my normal spot entertaining people was they walked by. I played songs I loved that didn't fit the audience. I played Stairway to Heaven, Layla, and lots of current country songs. Mostly, I played songs that I wrote.
It was about five years ago, (pre-covid) I sent an email expressing interest in playing on stage at the festival. I explained that I was a singer songwriter and I would love to perform at their event. I received a nice email back. It explained that they only used bands. ( Bluegrass bands to be more specific.) It didn't hurt to try. You never know if you don't ask. So I continued to got each year, sit by the entrance, Say Hi, and play for people coming to hear bluegrass music.
Last year I was doing my normal routine on Saturday. A guy with the organization came up and asked me if I wanted to play in the Open mic. They had twenty minutes of space that they needed to fill. I told him that I didn't have a band and it would be only me playing. He said, That is fine. and he signed me up.
I got up and played all orginal music that I had written. It was a great time and I was so glad to get to do it. I was getting to play on a stage with an audience that wasn't walking by as they listened. (to be continued)