Saturday, July 17, 2010

It Takes a Village

We'd been looking forward to this day for weeks now and the time had finally come to spruce up the house, set out some tables and get the place ready for the 2nd Annual Claremont Food Not Lawns Fundraiser Talent Show Potluck. Yes, I said that...... fundraiser talent show potluck. It's a mouthful, true. But it barely begins to cover the variety of things that transpire at a gathering of this nature.

This particular bunch of diverse, interesting peoples could meet a hundred different times a year in a hundred different ways and probably never repeat the same theme twice. There is that much skill, talent, knowledge and ability among them. But tonight we all gathered  in the gardens and by the stage at Pomello Farm to celebrate the stuff of which this community is made. There was a spread of vegetarian dishes both savory and sweet, some organic lemonade and even a keg of locally brewed Dale Brothers beer for the crowd to enjoy. We held a raffle in which an assortment of eco friendly gifts, from a basket of handmade natural soaps to a homemade pomegranate liqueur to a basket of organic gardening goodies, was offered up at a dollar per ticket. There were dozens of raffle items.... too many to mention and all highly sought after!

Conversations flowed freely and connections were made. At one point I sat back to scan the mix of individuals in attendance. Our guests included everyone from a raw food chef to a woodworker, a ton of great parents to a documentary film maker, many musicians and performers to owners of a solar energy business to a farmer, a photographer, a martial arts instructor to a massage therapist to a handful of artists, a doula, a histomologist, a radio host to a big collection of environmental activists, to college professors to radical thinkers to a screenwriter to you name it! My mind buzzed with all the potential of the collective! Mingling happened. Regular laughter rose up out of the crowd in little pools and it seemed that everyone enjoyed the company.

Our multi talented MC, MaryBeth, called out raffle winners and announced  performers throughout the festivities. She is an absolute force of nature!

Well-fed, our guests start to settle in for some lively entertainment.

Both kids and parents alike soaked in the relaxed and mellow surroundings.

Guests gather, serve up plates of food on the dishes they brought themselves and strike up conversation with both familiar and new friends.

Here at Pomello we have a little stage we've created from the standing foundation of an old house that burned to the ground a few decades ago. It turned out to make an ideal stage due to its great acoustics and the absolutely nurturing view of the mountains as it's natural backdrop. Many performers have already graced this simple little stage and most have expressed their desire to perform on it again as soon as possible. Our guest talent line up for this Food Not Lawns event was a dynamic and down to earth mix of all ages. Everyone did their part. A local folk band, the Sugar Mountain Mama Serenade started our evening of entertainment with a great set of songs that really helped to warm the crowd. There was a charming Mother-Daughter singing act, a troop of fun spirited jugglers, a talented hula hooper, a beautiful interpretive dancing duo, a fresh voiced a capella solo singer who was later accompanied by her dear husband, and an awe inspiring rather sophisticated harp song performed by a six year old! It really does take a village to throw a fundraiser talent show potluck!

Our talented hula hooper, Ivy, was accompanied by the Sugar Mountain Mamas as she worked the routine that she had prepared especially for this event. This young lady could swivel that hoop just about anywhere!

Face recognition anyone? Yes..... these are some of the kids, plus instructors, from the juggling class at our place the other day, complete with banjo player. One can squeeze a lot of practice into just three days. And yup... those are my two guys, Keoni and Kai,  front and center. They all impressed the heck out of me!

Over the last couple of years I have shared in two different , 8 week  long discussion groups with Lynn ( pictured above). In these groups we spoke in depth about all sorts of topics, sometimes diving deep into our personal life experience or understanding. So... Whoa! Who the flip knew this woman could sing! You think you know a person! It's wild. I'm still blown away by the hidden talent of people in our life. Her husband, Leroy, joined her on stage for the second number at which point I was called away by a child in need so I am hoping that someone elses camera holds some pictures of those moments.

There is just something about certain selections of music that just fit the persons performing them. Last year, members of this family sang a charming folk tune that won the crowd over. This time around was no exception. There is such a sweetness about the way this family engages that I now will look forward to their participation every year ( no pressure! )!

This is the first dance performance here on our stage at the Farm. And what a great first! It was a particularly beautiful experience to see these two friends dance by our three sisters garden as the sun was just starting to set. There is something magical about confident young ladies twirling and leaping as their hair catches the light that just makes you breathe in the abundant beauty of it all. And also a wonderful experience that this was a nurturing community to receive that beauty as it unfolded! Thank you Ellen and Sara!

Nara's harp solo was so elegant and soothing in it's sophisticated simplicity that it was easy to forget that our little centered performer was a first grader............. that is, until the end of her musical number where she jumped off the stage into the warm embrace of her proud mother. A great moment.... a happening! 


Oh yeah......... and then there was what I will now refer to as " the ambush". I was called on stage, by the Sugar Mountain Mamas to sing a number with them. So I did the only sensible thing you can do in a situation like that.............. I hid behind a tree....... until I was discovered and lovingly nudged on stage by person after person. I sang and people were kind about it. We'll just leave the actual performance to your imagination.

The sun set and it was time to go home. But what's this?....... someone lit a campfire!.......... and someone else started a drum circle! The spirited after party had just begun. Marshmallows were shared and toasted by the kids and a small yet soulful jam session ( guitar and banjo ) broke out in another part of the garden.

It was a joy and a pleasure to welcome this circle of people to Pomello for the evening! Thank you to everyone who showed up early and stayed late to help set up, clean up and prepare! And another great big thank you to all our brave and talented performers! We love you all! And we look forward to many more magical nights with you under the sky at our place!

And now, dear ones, I will leave you with a few images of some of the unique and wonderful people who came to play:

Thanks for bringing the love!


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