The Victorian Village of Chautauqua
PHC staffer Ella Schovanec is on the Radio Romance Tour with Garrison, Fred Newman, Aoife O'Donovan, Sara Watkins, and The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band and will update us periodically from the road.
On Friday, we did our show from the Chautauqua Institution. A unique place. A sort-of gated community founded in 1874, and every summer thousands families come here to learn from the lectures and see concerts and relax by the lake.
The amphitheater was packed to the rafters and the show was unusual in that many members of our audience were able to come see the show simply by showing up. That's how Chautauqua works — you buy a pass for a day or a week or a season and you can see any lecture or concert you wish. I imagine that some of them didn't know what to expect from our show. And it was fun to see the performance through their eyes — there were moments when they would collectively gasp with surprise — during Sara Watkins' hit "You Just Miss My Kisses" and during "My Little Pumpkin Pie," a kicking instrumental piece written by Rich Dworsky. Man, when the band got rolling on that song, you could just hear the collective wonder, followed by the roar of applause. So many great moments tonight, and the audience surprised us, too — by joining in on Garrison and Sara Watkins' duet "My Grandfather's Clock," this obscure Reconstruction-era song, but the audience knew it by heart and they sang it beautifully. A wondrous night. And we're headed to Williamsport, Pennsylvania.