Life On the Second Wind Tour Bus

April 11, 2014
Dr. Bill Thomas, ChangingAging.org

The first week of the Second Wind Tour came to a dramatic conclusion with people dancing in the aisles at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC. What a journey.

We opened the show at the Merkin Concert Hall in New York City in front of a boisterous crowd that seemed to enjoy all that we had to offer. We brought the show off without a hitch and, in doing so, validated the theatrical truism that it’s good luck to have a bad dress rehearsal. Our dress rehearsal was pretty awful and it paid off with a pretty good premier!

The bus ride to Pittsburgh which was supposed to last five hours but took 11 hours because a car crash led to the closure of Route 80. Our driver, Greg Blohm, had to cut across the median, backtrack 35 miles and then navigate the back roads of central Pennsylvania, but he got us to the show safe and sound.

We played the New Hazlett theater which we all just loved. They helped us create an intimate performance environment (that seats 440 people) for the show and we were delighted to see a wide range of ages in attendance. Santi Angelelli won the prize for youngest audience member. He is four years old.

After the show we explored a bit of downtown and had a great meal at a friendly neighborhood Italian restaurant.

Back on the bus we had a swift and uneventful journey to Newark, NJ. We played the Victoria Theater in the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. If you haven’t seen a show there, you should. It is a splendid venue. Windsor Healthcare was our local sponsor. The house was packed and not at all shy about getting into the spirit of the event. On top of it all I was able to formally welcome two new organizations to the Eden Registry. After the show, road manager Virgil Thomas and I walked to a Spanish restaurant where we met a delegation of 12 German long-term care experts who had come to the USA to study the Eden Alternative. We had a very lively conversation and they gave me a gift of beer and a beer stein. The beer is gone. I still have the stein.

It was a short hop to Baltimore where we found ourselves in the very capable hands of Jackie Harris and her firecracker EMA Communities and the Maryland AARP team. Dr. Janet Taylor and I held an early morning strategy session at the Maryland State Office. These folks are GOOD. Thanks to the collaborative vision of Terry Simonette, CEO of Capital Impact Partners, we were able to stage the event at the Hippodrome and the venue also made it possible to do a reception for community leaders including the one and only Baltimore Ravens superfan— Captain Dee-fence. This is a gorgeous downtown theater that has been meticulously restored. It offered the best of old and new. They lit the show beautifully and it looked great on their wide deep stage.

After the Baltimore show we were met by Dara Padwo-Audick’s film crew. They shot the load out and rode the bus with us to DC. And that brings us to Friday. The SWT team walked into an empty auditorium (the Mellon) and in the space of just a few hours built a stage, set up a sound system, and installed lighting. Janice Lynch Schuster from the Washington Post sat down with me to do a Q&A. And I saw many familiar faces in the crowd and the show ended– as you already know— with people singing and dancing.

After load out the bus carried us home to to Ithaca and I closed the front door of my house behind me at 3 am. Glad to be home and intensely grateful for all those who have and will make this extraordinary journey possible.

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RT @edenalt: Life On the Second Wind Tour Bus @secondwindtour @drbillthomas http://t.co/uWzSC15RNA

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RT @edenalt: Life On the Second Wind Tour Bus @secondwindtour @drbillthomas http://t.co/uWzSC15RNA

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