Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Remembering Memphis

Some years ago, my band, Marcille Wallis & Friends, performed for the Memphis Scottish Society's Burns Nicht Supper. In addition to its being an amazing event -- one of the world's highest-attended celebrations of Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns -- it was a time for our band (Donna Chapman, Frances Pisacane, Ann & Cal Lloyd, Greg McGrath) and me to get to really know each other as not only musicians, but as friends. We've reminisced a lot about that time ... about the long hours spent in Greg's and my mini-van as we all made the trip from Tampa to Memphis and back, telling stories about our respective pasts and sharing glimpses into our present lives.

And we reminisce about the wonderful dinner to which the Scottish society treated us, the experience that a few of us had sampling haggis for the first time (and the "bullet" dodged by Greg and Frances, both of whom were vegetarians), the fun of playing for the Memphis Scottish Country Dancers, and of course, the fun we had in our own performance set. The trip wasn't all work and no play, either, as the night previous to the dinner we visited the legendary Beale Street, birthplace of Rock 'N Roll, to see the iconic Sun Record Company, BB King's night club, and hear The Blues spilling out from practically every open doorway. For me personally, the trip afforded my first-ever glimpse of the Mighty Mississippi.

It's the Mississippi River and the many friends we made on that trip to Memphis that are on my mind as I write this note. Though as of this moment, the river has crested to just shy of its all-time record high flood stage, and soon the waters will begin receding, there will be weeks and months -- if not years -- of massive clean-up efforts. I'm sure that every one of my band-mates, as well as every one of the friends who like this page, join me in sending our heartfelt best wishes to the citizens of Memphis -- indeed, to all who live along the path of the raging river. We know your indomitable Scots spirit will see you through!