This weekend is a busy one for those in the Irish Music business. The Riley School kids performed yesterday at the Cincinnati Museum Center’s Celtic Lands Festival, and will do so again today. Many of the older kids, who generally take charge in these sorts of venues, were off playing their own professional gigs. This left the leadership position to my son Jack and his fiddling friend Robert. They carried themselves with grace and poise, developed a set list that enabled even the newest beginners to play, and answered questions from the audience after the performance. They represented themselves, and the Riley School like true professionals. I couldn’t help feeling a little bit proud. Meanwhile, advanced beginners like myself get to just hang out and session with other musicians at our display table as we show off what we do at the Riley School and why we love it. It’s like practice, only more public. The school as a whole will perform today at 1:45. I think this may be the first year I am not feeling any trepidation about going up on stage. Not that I feel so confident about my playing, I think it’s all the puppeteering I have been doing.
Speaking of puppets, I took a few hours away from the St. Pat’s music scene to attend Larry Smith Day. This was a commemoration event in honor of local puppet pioneer, childhood hero and broadcasting legend, Larry Smith. I did not spend my early childhood here but those who did remember Larry and his puppet friends with great fondness as a part of their after school television routine.
The crowd was treated to shows from puppet greats Kevin Frisch and Wayne Martin, both of whom consider Larry a mentor. Cincinnati has a rich puppet history that continues to develop today through the efforts of the Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild, of which Larry Smith was the founder and I personally am proud to be a member.
Above is Kevin operating a marionette who is operating his own marionette. A good time was had by the entire “gang”.
My artist friend Dan Carlson sent me a scan of some recent dog sketches he has been working on. He considers them “just sketches” but to me they are lovely finished drawings that are full of personality and life. Dan’s drawings are often studies for paintings and illustrations he is working on or even potential 3-d figures. I am excited to see what he does with these little guys!
My own dogs are lucky to get their daily walk in past weeks with my life in the world of my “real job”. I haven’t had as much time as I’d like recently to sit and draw. I am also not feeling like the best house-mom either. But I think the notion of feast or famine is a common theme in the life of an artist. The trick is maintaining some semblance of balance both in the busy times and later, when things inevitably stagnate a bit. Today I am off to soak up (and maybe play) some more Irish Music. The muddy paw prints on the floor and the ever looming dust bunnies in my house will have to wait a while longer. I’ll have the sketchbook with me as always if I ever sit still long enough to draw in it!