I wasn’t sure if I belonged. For the longest time, I was the only white person there. No one made me think I shouldn’t be there, but I felt I was intruding – that I was crashing someone else’s party. The scene was both a large party and an intimate gathering – a family reunion. When I went up to the KJ to request a song, I felt like I had to explain myself; I said I was from Portland, OR. I babbled that I had been in Detroit less than an hour and was already loving the place. Then, I sat down and wondered if I was ever going to get a chance to sing – so many people getting up and sharing their amazing voices with the crowd. The KJ did call my name eventually, and when she did she let everyone know I was new in town; I received a warm welcome. Then I sang, and people clapped along, and at the end, just like they did for everyone. I was another singer in the group, another person enjoying good music in the sunshine.
I only sang that one time; I was enjoying myself too much to sing again. I shared a table with people who welcomed me to Detroit, then left to get out of the sun; there I talked with some others who found shade at the side of the building, but were still able to enjoy the show.
So many words describe this day. Magic. Happiness. Comfort. Joy. A large gathering of people in a back parking lot, singing, dancing, laughing. Amateurs like me baking in the sun, while most knew better and brought umbrellas or event tents. People setting up and settling down, because they were there to stay. I went for a walk, then came back to hear the music. When I left again after 8, they were still there. I want to believe they are always there.
- Location: Bert’s Marketplace, Detroit, Michigan
- Miles traveled: 316
- Songs sung: Still the One (Orleans)