Yesterday after a week of high heat and humidity the weather cooperated by giving us a perfect evening for an outdoor concert by one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Carrie Newcomer. Tension evaporated as the richness of her voice and the power of her words filled the air in Bloomington’s Waldron, Hill and Buskirk Park. Accompanied by her friends, she sang many of our favorites–Betty’s Diner, Room at the Table, If Not Now, Breathe In Breath Out, The Gathering of Spirits, You Can Do This Hard Thing, and more. Closing my eyes to listen, I felt so relaxed I could have been floating on a cloud.
At the beginning of the evening her audience took shelter in the shade of nearby trees. This, of course, left a large gap between us and the stage, but it did make an ideal play space for children running off excess energy. By the end of the concert, the sun had moved farther west. We were standing, ready to leave, when her husband invited us to move closer. We did, and the musicians rewarded us with more wonderful songs!
All around me people were being themselves, tapping their feet, singing along with Carrie, enjoying snacks, and smiling as they listened to one of Bloomington’s community treasures. A few people persisted in talking during the performance, which made me sad because I wanted them to hear her message, but perhaps talk was what they needed in that moment. Meanwhile, children played nearby in this colorful playground and had plenty of green space for running off excess energy. It does the soul good to see the joy on their faces and the trust in their eyes. The evening truly felt like “a gathering of spirits” and “a festival of friends” (from Carrie’s lyrics).
Rooted in the heartland, Carrie Newcomer’s songs explore the sacred in ordinary everyday life and emphasize hope and an ethos of caring for one another. I want to believe these words, to have them be true in our lives, here in Bloomington and elsewhere. It’s so important to care for one another and the world in which we live.
A big shout out to Lisa J. Baker, DDS, the other sponsors, and the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department for making this evening of community possible. Even our canine friends had a great time!