It was Kelly DeWayne Richard's birthday. He celebrated by playing the piano at The Abbey for Musical Mondays. I couldn't get off from work until 9pm. Terry went there around 7pm and I rushed to meet her. She was seated in a wide leather love seat in the front row. Kelly was singing a flamboyant version of the Piano Man. I sat down, the leather squeaking. Terry and I kissed and she snuggled against my chest asking me to put my arm around her since she was cold. I was hot having just walked many blocks from my parked truck. My eyes were busy composing a possible sketch. This wasn't a great angle since I couldn't see Kelly's hands on the keyboard. I felt a bit like we had just made love and I was wondering how much longer I was expected to hold still. "Relax!" I thought to myself. "Enjoy the moment, you don't always have to be sketching to be happy."
She must have read my mind because after a while she said she was going home. She had waited several hours for me to arrive and that meant a lot to me. She knew I was itching to work. I moved to the next seat over. It was still a horrible vantage point. I ended up unfolding my artist stool and leaning against the wall. The lighting in the Abbey is magnificent. As soon as I started to sketch, Kelly took a break. It was my chance to hug him and wish him happy birthday. Chris Equality Leavy took his place at the Baby Grand piano. Chris sang a moving rendition of "My Way." I sang along as did most of the people in the crowd. My heart warmed.
Later a female singer took to the stage. Kelly introduced her saying she had a wonderful voice. The mic was on the far side of the piano so I could only catch a glimpse of the top of her head and the thigh high black leather boots she wore. She sang "Someone Like You" by Adel. Her voice was astonishing. She truly sang the song with more heart and sincerity than the pop star. There was a skit on Saturday Night Live this week where women office workers played the song and they all cried together. A man entered and he cried, his mascara running. A janitor mopping the floor broke down and a window washer pressed his ear to the glass and bawled. The singer at the Abbey was Emily Heffelfinger. What a find! A true raw, heart warming talent.
The stage was soon full of cabaret singers who sang a moving patriotic medley. Voices were raised in perfect harmony. I spotted Andrea Canny, who waved. I sang along, my sketch now complete, swept along in the fervor. I basked in the warm glow of this vibrant artist community.