Well, I made it through the performance in front of 500 people without screwing up too badly. Lots of nice comments afterwards by nice people. At one point, the clip-on mike started cutting out when I was in the middle of a song. I didn't know whether to quit and repair it or just plow ahead. I plowed ahead, although I could sense that the cutting out was distracting some of the audience on the right side of the room.

At the end of the song, I had to change gears and go to a hand-held mike. That meant I couldn't sing and play--so I had to go right into a monologue. It took a while for that to gather steam to make up for the uncomfortable hiatus when the mike conked out.

Most things went fine. One story that I had gone over in my head on the drive here worked, the other just went whump and fell flat. Blank stares. I have to figure out what went wrong there as I thought I had a good punchline and it just disappeared. Food for thought on the way home tomorrow.

I started playing piano too fast and was positioned six inches to the right of normal. So, I had to shift left during Maple Leaf Rag and I never did get in a comfortable position as I was still scrunched in too close. So, I cut off a couple of the refrains just to get to the end in good order. Basic rule: Sit at the piano a bit and make sure you are comfortable before tearing into your piece!

Weblog reader Irene, who attended the performance, had called one of the ladies who runs Minot's Hostfest and told her she should come listen just in case my act would be something they'd be interested in. She showed up, and we had a nice visit. I don't know if I am cut out for that sort of thing, but who knows.

This performance thing is just an adventure, anyway. Never did it until four years ago. It has helped me learn some of the dynamics of being on stage. I also have had to conquer stage fright. It creeps up at the wierdest times. Suddenly you feel completely bereft. It is scary.

When that panicky feeling comes and you don't know what the next note is, you sort of have to relax and it might well show up. If it doesn't, you just start the song over and probably most of the audience won't notice.

Tonight's challenges: An audience which didn't know me from Adam. An audience which had full tummies, hadn't been to the bar since social hour three hours before, and had just endured an annual meeting with its litany of reports, elections, slide shows, speeches and awards. Also, a huge room which was spread out wide with people sitting at tables with some pretty unforgiving acoustics.

And a fussy microphone.

All in all, I survived--but it was nice to get a call from Irene afterwards who said I did a good job! Thanks, Irene!