The greater Boston area is a hotbed of talented acoustic singer/songwriters. An organization that’s grown out of, and perhaps outgrown its name, is the Rhode Island Songwriter’s Association. RISA, as it’s called, did start in Rhode Island, but now has members and events all over the northeast. One of the newest events on the RISA calendar is a Songwriters-In-The-Round at the Harvest Cafe in Hudson, MA.
So what is this “in the round” thing about? A group of songwriters take turns playing one song each, then passing to the next person across the stage. Interesting things happen. Themes develop. Performers choose songs they might not have otherwise selected, but fit with what’s just been played. It’s a fun, interactive performance by talented songwriters who don’t usually get to appear together. This month, we’ll have Tom Smith, Paul Pasch and Bethel Steele joining hosts Dan & Faith.
There’s also a challenge. Each month, the audience helps select a topic to challenge the next month’s songwriters. Last month the audience chose, “Comfort Food.” So tonight, there will be five new songs written from that prompt. And you’ll get to help choose what gets written next month.
The Harvest Cafe Songwriter Showcase is a monthly event, on the 2nd Wednesday of the month. This month that’s tonight, April 10th. Music starts at 7:30PM. The event is hosted by us, Dan & Faith Senie. We play a song in each round (two, this month, in the challenge round, because we each wrote a new song).
Come out and enjoy dinner at the Harvest Cafe. The food is great, the people friendly, and there’s plenty of live, local music to keep you entertained.
Remembering Ed Koch
My family returned to live in New York in 1973 after some years away. The politicians were among the looming figures. Abe Beame. Bella Abzug. Mario Cuomo. Ed Koch. Some years later, Ed Koch was elected mayor of New York. I was in my first year as a member of the All City Chorus. On a freezing cold January day, our large group was arrayed on the steps of City Hall, with our maestro, John Motley and Ed Koch in front of us.
There were other times singing for the Mayor. On one hot summer day, a call went out to get to City Hall where Jimmy Carter was going to sign legislation to help the South Bronx. Ed Koch was there to greet the President, and we provided the music. There were nights in midtown hotel ballrooms where we were brought in as musical ambassadors for every visiting dignitary.
Above all others, the night that I’ll always remember was a particular evening at Gracie Mansion. The Concert Choir, a group of about 50 of us, were asked to perform on an evening when the U.N. diplomats were gathered on the lawn. Andrew Jackson was the U.S. Ambassador and the choir members were eager to meet him. Ed Koch gave us a tour of the mansion, and talked about every piece of art, where it came from and its significance, spending time with a bunch of high school kids instead of his guests. He was most gracious.
New York in the Koch years had its share of challenges and problems. Education did not get short-changed. The quality of the education was first rate and the investment in the arts opened doors and hearts. Singing with the All City Chorus and Concert Choir has had a life-long impact on me. I’ll forever be grateful to our director, John Motley, and to Ed Koch who promoted us, a bunch of high school kids from the city, as his musical ambassadors.
- Daniel Senie