The Historic District Coffee House (HDCH) has been virtual since March 2020, due to coronavirus precautions. That performance consisted of recorded segments, available for viewing on the UUFD website, but not a live online experience. Since then we’ve hosted live Zoom coffeehouse evenings in May, September, and most recently on November 21, 2020. In case you weren’t there, here’s what you missed:
David Cooper, who traveled the greatest distance to be here (from Bath in the UK), played three old favorites, comfortable tunes for a November evening: City of New Orleans, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and Mister Bojangles. Marian Maciej Hiner covered Alyssa Zasada’s version of Better Boat, followed by Give Yourself to Love. Next, we saw a video version of Awful Purdies’ This Woman’s Work. It was accompanied by a Super 8 home movie filmed 41 years ago by Art Roche, featuring his two young daughters, Katie and Liza, depicting the girls existing without benefit of parents. Katie Roche, a founding mother of the Awful Purdies, joined us from Iowa City live to sing two tunes she wrote, Why Would I Be So Small? and Mosquito Flats. Maureen Leytem charmed us with Falling Leaves, transported us with My Little Grass Shack, and nourished us with Thanksgiving Eve. Next, something that can only happen when the coffeehouse is on Zoom: at the stroke of 8, RRS Stewart, from the chilly belfry high atop St. Luke’s Methodist Church, serenaded us and all of downtown with For All The Saints, May Angels Lead With Gentle Hands, and I Heard The Voice of Jesus Say. In a very physical performance, we watched her pull the cables to strike the chimes above her.
Sandy Nickel, as the Irish Lass Colleen, quizzed us on our recollection of her previous visits to the Coffeehouse, finally settling some doubt about her Air Harp! Chris Ross was happy to rouse the audience with some early country favorites: D-I-V-O-R-C-E, Honeycomb, and Tiger By The Tail. Nancy McMenamin took us back to Crystal Gayle’s Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue, and then Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love. Alyssa Zasada made her Coffeehouse guitar debut with Gonna Feel Like Heaven. Crediting Bruce Schmidt for his guitar instruction, she joined him in a back-and-forth Zoom duet of Rollin’ In My Sweet Baby’s Arms. From their home, Bruce and Kathy Schmidt did fun covers of My House and I Still Miss Someone. Bruce then did a masterful guitar instrumental of Blackberry Blossom. Coffeehouse co-host Karen Buechele was joined by her daughter Laura Buechele (and Katie Roche’s childhood friend) for Come On Home (written by John Prine who died of Covid early in the pandemic.) Art Roche wrapped the show up with Little Potato, a song he had sung to his daughter Katie many years ago.
We are all so grateful to UUFD for initiating the Historic District Coffee House and continuing to host it during the pandemic and beyond. Special thanks to Alyssa Zasada for masterful Zoom engineering, and to the faithful audience members who added immensely to the entire experience. Join us next time, for the first ever Palindromic Historic District Coffee House, on 1-23-21!