Music on a Summer Afternoon

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’Tis the season of summer music, and our band, Stepping Out, has played three dates in the last couple of weeks, all of them here in Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada.

(We’re not exactly a stadium band, and we don’t travel far, although if there’s someone out there who’d like to book us for a gig in, say, Greece, or the Bahamas, we’d be happy to negotiate.)

The first date was in St. George, in Magaguadavic Place, the community centre named after the Magaguadavic River that flows through the town. (The summer music series is no longer al fresco, in the bandstand by the river, because the weather close to the coast here proved too unpredictable, causing immense confusion when a change of venue had to be made at the last minute as rain or fog blew in from the sea.) Admission was a contribution to the food bank, which also sold refreshments during the intermission. We debuted Burning in Colorland, the song I wrote to accompany my novel, Colorland, taking it at a slower tempo than the recording on YouTube, giving more time for Julie’s poignant vocals to convey the anguish Isolde feels at her loss of Ridge:

And I yearn for the days before all this begun                                                                                         When we were boy and girlfriend hanging out, just having fun                                                                 But we lost all that when we made a stand                                                                                                       Said goodbye to innocence, became comrades hand in hand                                                                         Still burning in Colorland …

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The second gig was in our neighbour town, St. Stephen, on the border with the U.S., in the picturesque setting of the David Alison Ganong Chocolate Park (so named after the famous Ganong Chocolates made in the town). We played in the new bandstand, with the St. Croix River behind, so that the audience, on benches and rugs and lawn chairs, could gaze past us at Calais, Maine, on the other side of the river.

The third was back in St. George, in the bandstand by the river – in perfect weather! – when we (just the quartet this time, of drums, guitar, keyboard, and Julie on vocals) provided background music for a Community Barbecue (hamburgers, hot dogs and, of course, fresh salmon) (‘of course fresh salmon’ because St. George is an important centre of aquaculture). The barbecue, in aid of the Charlotte County chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, was also the culminating event of the Rally in the Valley Veterans’ Ride, so incorporated a display of motorbikes.

We thank the towns for inviting us to play, and the sponsors for their support, and we think – hope! – the gratifyingly big crowds enjoyed the music. Certainly the little kids who danced their way almost non-stop through the programme in St. Stephen did.

And what better way to spend a summer evening than listening to music and dancing with such enviable, happy abandon?

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