Some thoughts on winning Newton Has Talent 2018 (adult division) last night with my pal Emily Prenner:
1. It was fun! It’s great to play music with people and especially when you’re clicking on the same wavelength. We had conversations that went: -Let’s audition with Carole King’s “Beautiful” -I love that song! -Should we support the Newton Schools Foundation? -Perfect! -How about “Gone at Last” for the live show? -I was thinking the same thing! The speaker is not identified because I’m not sure which of us said what.
2. Really inspiring to see all the acts and realize how many talented neighbors we have. The hammered dulcimer guy is pretty great, Isabel Stover is a terrific jazz singer (and had an amazing accompanist on a 6 string fretless bass), and all the young people blew me away: the family band that does Depeche Mode covers, the pop-punk band Just a Phase who performed an original song full of earworms, and the super tight jazz combo Upswing Jazz Quintet (winners in the Youth division [I just pledged their Kickstarter to get their album]) — all the contestants were worth seeing. There are amazing people all around us; reminds me to get out more.
3. Speaking of getting out and seeing music: Porchfest Newton is coming on the afternoon of June 2! More than 5 dozen acts playing for free on porches around Auburndale. I’ll be playing that day and will post info and updates as it gets closer.
4. So cool that we live near Berklee School of Music. A lot of the performers had connections with the school as faculty or students. The judges all had Berklee connections, too, and it was a thrill to have them consider us so favorably.
5. It’s all about the kids. So glad to have raised some money for the Newton Schools Foundation. Especially with the news of the underfunded conditions in schools around the US, I feel lucky that we live in a community that prioritizes education and is willing to pay for it. Newton Schools Foundation raises money for our schools and funds cultural, STEM, and other projects aiming to close the achievement gap and inspire all of our students.
5a. Just kidding. I’m glad the Newton School Foundation got a check but I wasn’t thinking about them on stage. Was mostly super psyched to be up there with Emily.
6. Speaking of whom, after our soundcheck, I ran into a guy I recognized. He was taping the show for NewTV. He asked me what I was doing at the show and I said I was with Emily. “I just saw Emily!” he said, “She was great! What are you doing with her?” Me: I was standing next to her playing guitar.
7. I’m so glad that I’m part of the Newton Family Singers. So many of our NFS friends came out to the show, and even more sent their support through social media and texts. What a great bunch of people. The best compliment I can express is that I was encouraging Melissa Askew and other contestants to join our chorus. (Our show is next Sunday! http://www.newtonfamilysingers.org/events.html)
8. Art is not a competition, and I certainly don’t feel like we “beat” the other contestants. The prize really feels more like a gift.
9. Best comment, from a 13 year-old acquaintance: “Are you coming to the show next year? Because I’m going to enter!”