Music = Life

This past weekend, I revisited a place I used to call home: The Stage
The hubs & I were invited to perform an hour-long set at an American Cancer Society 5K here in Grand Rapids. It has been awhile since we performed together. Sure, we sing at church once/month, but we don’t get to choose the songs. Even when we sing at weddings, we don’t always have control over what will be sung. We can give the couple a selection of choices, but they may not always pick our favorite. For example, I can’t even tell you the amount of times we sang Shania Twain’s From This Moment over the years. 
The catch to our commitment to perform? We had 2 weeks to get our act together. 
2 WEEKS?!
I didn’t think it was possible. 
Then we’d learn a song in an hour and I’d think… we totally can do this! 
A day or two before… I was doubtful again. 
I felt frustrated and exhausted. Trying to balance all the things I had to do along with what I really wanted to do was not easy. But, music is my passion, my first love. It was not that hard to find the motivation to practice singing & playing songs I love every day. That being said, I did pass out in my recliner about 15 minutes after crashing in it every.single.night. 
Then… after eating, breathing & drinking music for 15 days, my fingers were appropriately callused up, voice was in shape… we were as ready as we could be.
My nerves made way to doubt again as we drove downtown toward Rosa Parks Circle early Saturday morning and saw rain in the forecast. If it rained, they wouldn’t allow us to go on. That was unsettling… because we had worked really hard to get to this point. What if we didn’t get to perform at all?
But we arrived, set up… and the rain held off. Thanks to a motivational text from our drummer-friend who’s anti-rain dance obviously worked. 
It was windy & chilly, but people actually stayed [in spite of the weather] to watch us.
 At one point, I looked out into the crowd, and there were hundreds of people watching. I saw a few people taking pictures & video of us with their phones in the crowd. Gotta tell ya, that was inspiring… 
My hands shook through my first song on bass, both from nerves & the cold. But when I perform, if I’m not nervous, I’m not alive. Nerves aren’t always a negative thing. And once I get on stage… no matter what level of nerves I’m feeling, I feel most like ME when I sing. I am transported to a beautiful place where nothing else matters. Sure, I can hit a sour note, but it’s usually (or should I say hopefully) just one note. Even if I fail miserably and beat myself up over it, for some reason, I don’t feel bad about it for long, because the positive vibes I get from performing overshadow negativity. On top of all of those fantastic feelings of happiness & self-empowerment, being able to share this gift with the hubs is a huge bonus. Motivating each other, singing together, learning new songs… just absorbing great music together is such a beautiful thing.
The hour went by really fast. We had a few technical difficulties mainly due to the wind, but it went really well overall. I can’t wait to do it again.
On a personal note, it was truly a joy to look out into the crowd and see my children dancing with some familiar faces — thanks to all of you who came out and supported us!! Really means a lot when you work so hard to do something you love. 
I hope to attach audio or video to this post soon, but for now, I’ll share our set-list. There is [older] audio if you click on the first song-link. 

These are Days 10,000 Maniacs
Kelli Vocals, Greg A. Guitar

Blackbird The Beatles
Kelli Vocals, Greg A. Guitar


Set Fire To the Rain Adele
Kelli Vocals & Bass, Greg A. Guitar

High & Dry Radiohead
Greg Vocals & E. Guitar, Kelli Bass & Harmony

My Favorite Mistake Sheryl Crow
Kelli Vocals & Bass, Greg E. Guitar

You Know I’m no Good Amy Winehouse
Kelli Vocals & Egg-shaker, Greg A. Guitar

Me & Julio Paul Simon
Greg Vocals & A. Guitar, Kelli Harmony & Tambourine

Something To Talk About Bonnie Raitt
Kelli Vocals & Tambo, Greg E. Guitar

Express Yourself Madonna
Kelli Vocals & Tambo, Greg A. Guitar

Lucky Jason Mraz/Colbie Caillat
Kelli & Greg Vocals/A. Guitar

Dear Prudence The Beatles
Kelli & Greg Vocals/A. Guitar

The Story Brandi Carlile
Kelli Vocals & Bass, Greg A. Guitar

Wish You Were Here Pink Floyd
Greg Vocals & E. Guitar, Kelli Harmony & Tambo

This is Love PJ Harvey
Kelli Vocals & Bass, Greg E. Guitar

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8 Comments

  1. Posted May 10, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Yay! Congrats, I’m glad it went so well (aside from the rain).

    • Posted May 11, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      Thanks so much, Alissa!! We set fire to the rain. 😉

  2. Anonymous
    Posted May 10, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Wish I could have seen you perform. I bet you guys really rocked out Rosa Park Circle! Cool pics!

    • Posted May 11, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Thanks! I’ll be more vocal about it on twitter next time. 😉

  3. Posted May 12, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Awesome! I’m so glad you the opportunity to perform again. 🙂

    • Posted May 14, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Starr!! Wish there was a way to merge my writing into writing songs, but I’ve tried & failed several times over. Every song I’ve written sounds too damn cheesy. Not How Lovely to be a Woman cheesy, but maybe a notch or two above that level of cheesiness.

  4. Chris
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    It WAS a hell of an anti-rain dance. Glad I was able to help in some small way and hope to rock with you guys next time.

    • Posted May 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      HA! Love it. Barney & I held our own just the two of us — however, a drummer would’ve definitely woken up downtown GR’s ass that morning! We’ll be in touch. Got a couple of gigs on the horizon thanks to this one…

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    Kelli Williams

    Kelli Williams

    Keeping up with 2 little girls, writing assignments, music gigs, the house, laundry, ETC, backwards, wearing ass kicking boots and a smile, without spilling my beer. Ok, ok, so I spill my beer, but my floors have never been more germ-free since I started putting a little alcohol on them. Who needs ammonia...

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