Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Two hour delay

So, all week long the news has been about getting ready for the "wintry mix" and brace yourself for ice. Young Audiences of Virginia scheduling Director, Anna Heywood, sent me an e-mail to keep alert. I prepared myself last night by "bookmarking" the websites for the two school districts I was going to be performing in. Then I went and watched the BCS Bowl Game, got home late, woke up early and looked online: First School: 2 Hours Delayed. Yeah! A little extra sleep.

However, my Scheduling Director was not asleep, she was busy trying to rearrange the time of my program so that I could a) fulfill an obligation, b) give the students a great arts experience, and c) continue my revenue flow. Gotta love all those reasons, and I love Anna for working so hard.

One of the "downsides" of running a business are when you have no control over the "natural" things that happen. I have been postponed for programming due to weather, and not gotten paid on that day. I have been delayed an hour or more, and had to change later in the day in programming or transportation arrangements. I have been snowed in my hotel room and had to creep across the parking lot to get a hot meal, before I went stir crazy. I have had the joy of sitting in the nook of a warm kitchen with a friend, as we worked on computers across from each other, watched the snow pile up (and then melt) and drink tons of coffee! (Thanks, Christa.) All uncontrollable by me, but this I have learned - God makes a way.

I have rarely seen cancellations, postponements or delays as terrible - it's just life. How I deal with these things is the proof of my character - for good or bad. I think that's how we need to think of anything that happens through our day. Yes, we might get cancelled, but then can we enjoy a leisurely day watching the snow fall. Yes, we might get postponed, but the reality is the money will come later. Yes, we might get delayed, but look around maybe there is aomething at that moment that we could otherwise be doing....or we can get some more sleep. :) Peace, my friends.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Little Diddies

Do you remember some of the "little diddies", short songs, that you learned at a younger age in life? I think that must have been communication for my mother to me, because songs always find their way bubbling to the surface. Not just hymns and spirituals (although I am well grounded in them), but the short, and sometimes silly, songs. Some I still remember.

"Rhoda, where are you going? Upstairs to take a bath. Rhoda with legs like toothpicks and a neck like a giraffe. Rhoda turned off the water. Rhoda took out the plug. Oh, my goodness, bless my soul, there goes Rhoda down the hole. Rhoda, there are you going? Glub, glub, glub." (the last words said as if Rhoda has gone down the hole). Why would I even know this song? What was its purpose? Why did my mother teach it to me? She still knows the song and she finds it funny that she and I still remember it.

I have done the same to my son. Here's one of my songs with and for him, "I got my boots on and I'm goin' a-walkin'. Got my boots on, and I'm goin' a-stompin'. Got my boots on and I'm filling like a man. I got my b-o-o-t-s on." I started singing this to my son when he got his first pair of boots. He was a little guy - 3 or 4 and he wore those boots for days, stomping around the house. (Makes me wonder if my mother wanted me to get out of the bathtub - if the songs have purpose, that is. :)

Why did all this come up now? Well, I'm always making up songs, particularly for my pre-school programs, but for other stories as well. Some songs are a moment and some are here to say. "It's cold outside" was made up so I could have song about the changes in the season. Yesterday I needed a song about manners, so here it is:

Please, thank you and how do you do
Excuse me, sir, and after you
These are the words that we say
When we are polite, each and every day.

So, what are your "little diddies"? If don't have any - just let me know and I'll send you some of mine. :) Peace and belief.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Today I had to cancel and then postpone my performance at Miller School, Charlottesville, VA. I will tell you this is the worst case scenario for me - cancellation on the day of performance. I think this has happened (not including weather related) only two other times in my life. Now I don't count my Worldstrides evening programs, because I have wonderful performers and we just trade positions and they get to perform.

But to cancel on the date of performance is for me breaking the cardinal rule of performance. Right now I just feel bad and yet, it could not be helped.....and yet, I feel bad....and yet....do you see the circle?

So how do we as performers make a cancellation "right"? First, immediate contact and as much disclosure as possible about circumstances. Call the moment you know things are falling apart, even if it's early in the morning or late at night. Second, a date offered immediately. Never call without another date available. Third, return any and all money, or, if it's a free show - give above and beyond the the next time. Instead of one show, give two. Do something special by visiting classrooms, etc. Fourth, and this is my hardest, work out the problem, the reason for the cancellation, fix it if possible, and forgive myself and move on. As I said the hardest.

Sometimes "the show must go on" and sometimes you have to close the curtain, apologize to the audience, return the money and invite them back for a different night at no cost. Then go back behind the curtain, quietly or loudly scream, fix the problem, get a good stiff drink (lemonade or Southern Comfort - pick your poison :), and go to sleep. The next day wake up and live life.