to Champaign and Urbana
Both Claire and I over slept and Claire did not feel very well, due to an upset stomach, so we did not get to explore Wookey Hollow and Starved Rock, despite being a lovely sunny warm morning. On the way to Utica we stopped off for fast food. I chose Taco Bell and Claire chose a Chinese take away. Interestingly this reversed common comments about Taco Bell :-)
Around noon we set off back along the flat corn fields landscape of Illinois towards Champaign, and dropped off at our camp site for the night just outside of Champaign, almost in a wide cornfield. There we could shower, change and prepare for our last concert of this year’s USA tour.
We turned up at Jan and John’s Heartland Gallery in good advance time with excellent close by parking. It was great to see both of them again. I was stunned by how the Heartland Gallery has developed further with much more inventory and truly looking like a Celtic gallery, not contrived, but a true presentation of Irish and Scottish art and crafts today. I loved Jan’s Irish Wedding Display along with a list of services for this that they are now agents for.
The Urbana Concert
This was a late afternoon show, and Jan revealed that we were competing with another harp concert show in this small town, at the same time. This did mean that we had a much smaller audience than during the previous two years. Though the audiences of the other years were fabulous both Claire and I thought the concert at Heartland Gallery this year was the best yet. It was so relaxed and exchanging.
This was perhaps a relief for Claire. She still did not feel good from the stomach upset that had caused her to feel weak, tired and just not comfortable. During the first half this showed in Claire’s performance, but the audience did not know different as a weaker performance from Claire is still a great performance. The response from the audience was actually very healing for Claire because for the second set she was back in top form and performed outstandingly.
I did a very different story set from the rest of the tour, both stories in the second half, including a Pottering Harry story I have never told before and have never written down.
We also had a wonderful dance to harp from Philip Johnson from Belfast with his dancing partner Cathy (?) Simpson from Wales. What a treat, what a performance !!!
Cd sales after certainly responded to the audience response. Each person seem to go off with quite a wad of cds. We were delighted with their enthusiasm.
The delightful after show dinner then home party
First, Jan and John took us and treated us to a local Spanish restaurant managed by on of their daughters. What a treat! We shared several plates of exotic tapas in a very cozy restaurant before heading off to Philip Johnston’s for desert of waffles and strawberries.
Finally it was back to the camp site to continue some packing and cleaning before completing this tour in Chicago.