On Saturday, November 12th, 2022, we held the very first community music Hangout. In San Francisco, voters had just approved the permanent car-free status of JFK in Golden Gate Park. Armed with the confidence that this vote provided, Rikki and I went out on that Saturday for the very first Community Music Hangout. It was a very modest gathering in terms of scale, but the vibes were good and we were motivated to come back the following weekend.
🎼 🎶 🎹 🎷
And so we did that. We came back out on November 18th, 2022 for the second Hangout. But then, if you recall, it rained and rained and rained and rained and rained and rained and rained. It must have rained for 40 days and 40 nights there in December and January! The baby grand piano that was on-scene was more or less destroyed by this onslaught of precipitation. Walking by the spot where the piano used to be there on JFK, I felt wistful. At the time, I did not know if there would be another piano or if we would get to hold additional music hangouts. I thought, “Well, you know, we gave it the old college try. Not much you can do about weather” etc.
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But I really want to do run more hangouts! I really did. So I was beyond excited to walk around the bend in mid-February and discover that Illuminate placed a new piano there! And with that, we were back on. From that time in February through to yesterday, roughly 85% of weekends contained a Community Music Hangout. We did 36 in the first year! Fabulous. Fantastic. Unforgettable. I’ll never forget this year, and I’m so excited for next year!
🤗 🥳 🎉 🌳
Well, that’s enough nostalgia. Here’s the regular post: The Community Music Hangout gathered on Sunday, November 12th for the ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of the very first Hangout. It was also CMH #37. We gathered under sunny skies, but with the lowered sun here in November, we had an hour or so of delightful shade from the tree across the street.
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When Rikki and I walked up to the piano, we met Eric with his guitar. Eric had been in the park on Saturday and saw someone playing blues at the piano, thought he’d bring his guitar on Sunday to see if he’d find a jam. And he found the CMH! Eric played great blues guitar, awesome. Hope to see you again! Soon, Joe biked up with his cajon and then we had a new comer in Mike stroll up with his bass guitar. Always great to pull in a new rhythm player. Mike held down the low end all day. Thanks Mike!
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Sunday was a good day for newcomers as well as for horn players. We had 2 sax players join the hangout for the first time in Jesse and Andrew. Welcome, fellas! Thanks for making CMH #37 the very first time where we had a legitimate HORN SECTION. COOOOL!!! And as someone who has often been the only horn in a band or a jam, I really enjoy meeting new players. Soon, Hangout regulars Brian and Sage joined us. Welcome back, friends!
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Around this time, a woman named Lilianna from the crowd stepped up and asked if she could sing a bit. We said, “HELL YEAH!”. She sang Valerie by Amy Winehouse and Respect by Aretha. Oh man it was fun. Moments like that are what the Hangout is all about! I like to say that we never know quite what is gonna happen right up until it does. And, whatever happens, it’s always good. Always.
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As we continued reeling off songs, we saw some faces which were new last week but who seem to be well on the way to becoming regulars! Love that. It’s such a validation of the Hangout when people come back for their second Hang! I’m talking about the crew of Will, Leon, and Aurun. Really great energy, guys. And great playing as well! Leon led the Hangout through a couple of songs by ABBA, much to the delight of those gathered. Check out the video!
🤗 🥳 🎉 🌳
We were really feeling good yesterday as the day wore on. There was a great crowd and lots of players and singers! To top it off, Luis joined in the singing all the way from Uruguay! Awesome. And we had Sohail jump in with a really cool Yamaha travel guitar. All in all, it was a fabulous jam and a very fulfilling way to celebrate one year of this endeavor. My huge and heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who took part this first year. I’m so excited for what we’re building together! Join us for CMH #38 on Saturday, November 18th, from 11:30 until at least 2:30 (most often ending around 4!). Thank you!