We were asked by Lisa Coons to play the Solstice festival at Good Counsel Hill, an event the School Sisters of Notre Dame do annually to give props to the earth and the nature that unites us on the historical celebration of light triumphing over dark. Lisa and Ann had met earlier in the week to discuss the program and how Fish Frye would fit in. Wait, though. Did you see that first sentence about uniting us? I wouldn’t have talked like that a week ago. But this event has stuck around well after we said goodbye. And why not? Optimism, warmth, earth … it was all part of this gathering of a couple dozen people, many of whom we knew. Lisa and friends guided it beautifully. No politics, warnings, lessons or – double bonus points – hand-holding. It was truly a gathering for all. Anyway, as a veteran of Catholic mass sing-alongs and, in third grade, a fan of Lou Fortunate, it was a pleasure to put something together for use in a religious setting. Granted, it was just a refrain and about as complex as Twinkle Twinkle, but there it was. We entertained for a half hour or so, then in a a small “ceremony” Lisa would read, Ann would read, and then everybody sang the refrain: Deep Peace to All. And I found an unexpected shot of pride – I think we both did – being connected to the melody sung by the good sisters and the great people. I’ve since found myself using that line, that wish, deep peace to all, several times. Borrow it. You’ll be surprised how well it fits so many situations.
Fish Frye’s television debut was thwarted by the lack of a third studio microphone. We were to both join Mankato Symphony Orchestra director Sara Beuchman on the two-minute KEYC-TV mid-day interview show to promote Saturday’s “Rockin’ in the Park” ordeal. We arrived to be told there were only two microphones for guests. I don’t think I literally pushed Ann, but I did engage in some behind-her-back gesturing and finger pointing. She went on, did wonderfully and of course cringed afterward. But I ask you, who leaves a local TV news program with local TV lights and says “I think that went really well.” Somebody in a different band. Here’s how I saw it.
That night we played at the YWCA fundraiser at Chankaska Creek Winery in Kasota. Scenic place (and we’re there a few times in the upcoming year) We played before at least 100 people who were milling about, sharing bottles of wine and placing silent-auction bids. There was an issue with sound equipment that resulted in being short a mike stand, so for the first time since the very first time we played, Ann went hand-held with her microphone. As our promo materials say, we’re a band that draws lots from ‘70s era pop and damn if Ann didn’t work that mic like Cher stepping onto the CBS soundstage circa 1972 — swaying, nodding and owning the hour. To switch channels for a second, there was no looking at each other without realizing we were a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll and a whole bunch of being totally fine with it.