If our first year was extreme, our second season was
A Warp Drive Roller Coaster Ride!
This time, the
began on September 18th, 1998, again in
Detroit, MI and the Funk similarly continued into
Washington, D.C.; then Vancouver, BC, Canada and San Francisco, CA.
opened with a Arctic blast in
Grand Rapids, MI
and then locked into a frigid frenzy of one week engagements from
Charlotte, NC; Pittsburgh, PA; St. Louis, MO; Indianapolis, IN
Cincinnati, OH; Rochester, NY; Columbus, OH to Baltimore, MD.
As spring approached, Noise/Funk concluded a fortnight in Cleveland, OH.
reveled in welcoming the vernal equinox
with a glorious month in the Sunshine State.
Palm Beach, Miami, Tampa and Orlando
put the smiles back on our faces as we shamelessly shed our outer garments
and gleefully re-energized in the warmth of the Florida sun.
In the following month, we
again headed west into
Houston, TX; and Tempe, AZ
We then cut a swath to the California coast where we spent
two weeks in Costa Mesa and San Diego.
AND THOUGH THE DAYS GROW
WITH THE APPROACH OF SUMMER WE ALL KNOW THAT
ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END
In the following three weeks,
this wild ride comes to a screeching halt.
As we headed back east, we hopscotched, almost gingerly from
Norfolk, VA to Toronto, Ontario, Canada and then to Richmond, VA
where we ironically and perhaps aptly ended this
African-American historical adventure; this truth told by youth
in the former capital of the Southern Confederacy.
Then, with a most bewildering and
entangled mix of
tears and cheers and gifts and speeches and embraces...
it was over; it was finished; it was closed.
Seventy six weeks on tour
Thirty seven cities visited
Five hundred eighty four performances given
Forty four plane trips taken
Eleven bus rides endured
Eighty nine outreach mini-performances done
Two false arrests made
One hundred sixteen rehearsals sweated
Four physical fights broken up
Seventy five laundry days organized
One hundred three reviews written
Twenty two opening night parties attended
$131,351.00 donated to charity
Three beautiful babies born
Two hundred ten paychecks deposited
Three earthquakes of at least 3.0 survived
Two onstage power outages suffered
One equipment fire quickly extinguished
1,586 hits on my web-site
Countless standing ovations to bless us forever
Dignity... Work Ethic... Artistry...
Decency... Reputation... Longevity...
Does life imitate art or does art imitate life? That's the chicken and the egg riddle for those of us who are performers. In truth, it's a little of both but, where lies the essence? Where is the wellspring from which one would draw creative sustenance? I believe that it is in the ardent maintenance of one's dignity. For me, art and culture cannot be engineered for they come from spirit and spirit is not substantive. It is not particular or bound by committees or legislators. It answers only to truth and when it is called upon to represent falsehood, it will expose the liar. Make dignity your runnin' buddy; then, both life and art will imitate you.
Our talents are immense; lauded by those who would aspire to our field and cherished, studied or even envied by those of us who stand shoulder to shoulder in our artistic endeavors. But don't dwell on these facts because, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." The body will grow and the fellowship will flourish, even with members who succumb to laziness and indifference. Ultimately, such appendages are culled from the society so that life may continue; but, our dedication to the uplift of the community, our willingness to toil beyond our commission, our attention to the mainspring of the clockwork; those components will ensure us a future generation.
Your children are not your
children. Your house is not your house.
They are only entrusted to you to
nurture and to strengthen
until you must give them away to
the world. Nothing comes
from us but all can come through
us. This great influence that
we possess, this ability to change
people's feelings, their lives,
without as much as a physical
touch or even a random meeting
of the eyes; this is the power
that will raise the race.
I quote the Book of Matthew, Chapter 5, Verses 14-16:
"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do you light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before the world, that they may see your good works, and glorify God, who is in heaven."
What is it that makes us so afraid to be polite, gracious, wholesome? What vestige of our Neanderthal origin still lingers to cause us to scowl at one another upon passing? What is this lifestyle that postulates: Gain respect by disrespect? What a grand opportunity we have to be distinct. What a splendid chance to be a page in life's book, sought by those who want to learn how to live beyond surviving. "Strive to be different!" are the words of my Grandmother, who showed me that, with decency, whichever direction I walk, people will follow. With decency, I will be drawn to all the wonderful things that are invisible to those who snatch and grab. With decency, I can hover above the bog and the fray and move on.
It doesn't matter who you are.
It doesn't matter what you are.
It doesn't even matter why you
are. It matters how you are.
Every new day, you paint a new
picture of yourself. As everything
changes and evolves, as we live
through paucity and abundance,
tribulation and triumph, one thing
remains constant: We are
awakened each morning by the Grace
of God. Every 24 hours,
we get another chance to do it
right. Every 365 days, we can
take inventory in a new green
pasture and maintain what would
advance us and discard what would
encumber us. Who has the
reputation? If not the sun for
light and heat, upon what would
we depend? If not the fresh air to
breath freely, upon what
would we depend? If not the cool,
clean water to cleanse and
refresh, upon what would we
depend? It really does matter
how you are.
So, how are you?
Music and Creativity and
Theater, they are my sanctuary.
I defend them and their truths with my life. I feed them and their Muse with my soul. I give thanks for them and know that they will, in return, sustain me.
If Dignity is my companion, my consort;
If Work Ethic is my vehicle, my fashion;
If Artistry is my endowment, my portion;
If Decency is my advisor, my mandate;
If Reputation is my herald, my messenger;
Then I will live forever.
Richard A. Cummings
Bring In 'Da Noise Bring In 'Da Funk
National Tour, 1997-1999
BACK TO YEAR ONE