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First Gig Post Tx

fishmanpa's picture
Posts: 1218
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi Folks,

I'll be posting this and hitting the shower to get ready for my first gig post treatment. It's a wedding I booked last year for a lovely couple I met while performing on the Skyline Drive at Skyland resort. I hired a violinist to perform with me. Fortunately, this gig doesn't require vocals and is instrumental only.

I'm looking forward to it as the selection of music is wonderful. The wedding party will come down the aisle to "Canon in D" (pretty common) but he bride is walking the aisle to "Oh Shnandoah", a beautiful instrumental version I found that rings of mountain music. They will leave after saying "I Do" to George Straight's "I Cross My Heart". Prior to the ceremony, we will be playing some beautiful selections of traditional music and waltzes. The rehearsals the last few weeks sounded wonderful.

It will be a rather long day between travel, set up etc., but knowing we'll be a part of this couple's special day is a wonderful feeling. A few short months ago, I didn't know if I would be able to do this. The meds have kicked in and I feel "Ok". I hope to get a burst of energy as I'll need it! 

Unfortunately, I'm coming to the realization that the gigs I have booked for August and September will have to be cancelled. I've tried singing and my voice is no where near ready to do a 2 hour gig. Due to the surgery my throat is narrower and still has a lot of healing to do. While I can sing some songs, my higher range is no where to be found at this point in time. Time will tell if I'll regain pre-cancer form. The scar tissue that has narrowed my throat needs therapy to help break it up and I still need many months to heal. At best, I may be able to do a gig or two before the end of the year. Realistically, I'm looking at next year before I can perform at the level I'm accustomed to, if in fact I ever will again.

This is a very sobering realization and one that has my spirits in turmoil. My worst fear was not being able to perform. I know, I know... I'm alive. I get that but part of living for me was performing. It's what I've done since I was a young teen. I also know it hasn't affected my playing but my voice and expressing myself through song is a huge part of who and what I am as a person. 

I know I'm still early on in recovery and things may change but this is where I'm at right now. I'm very thankful for today and the opportunity I'm being presented. I can only hope and pray that I will continue to heal and improve. Progress is measured in weeks and months so time will tell. 

Congratulations to the Bride and Groom. See you in a little while!


MICH4EL's picture
Posts: 73
Joined: Mar 2013

Good luck with your first gig.  What a milestone!  There are lots of unknowns in our future.  Judging from your extraordinarily helpful and insightful posts here, I am sure you will cope and adapt to your new future successfully and with a great attitude.


debbiejeanne's picture
Posts: 3095
Joined: Jan 2010

t, wish u the best 4 ur gig.  i'm glad u r well enuf to do it.  u've come a long way and i pray it only gets better.  don't give up on ur voice quite yet.  time heals a lot.


phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4678
Joined: Mar 2012

so hooray on this....your first step back out in the public music world.  Don't go jumping into the future...."out there" is always a fearful place, and putting ourselves there before we get there has us worrying and fretting about something that may not even happen.  So many times, what we see as the worst possible thing at the moment, turns into something we couldn't have even dreamed up to be so good when it actually comes to pass.

wolfen's picture
Posts: 1313
Joined: Apr 2009

Please know that you make beautiful music for all of our hearts, no matter what manner you use to express it. Best of luck in this gig and all your future ones.



robswife87's picture
Posts: 208
Joined: Mar 2013

Rock it out and love every minute of it T. 

So glad you are doing well 


CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4372
Joined: May 2012

Hi T,

Enjoy the gig, one step at a time.

You are still early in the post era, it can take time to heal (and retrain).  My voice still gives me fits, but is still getting better all the time.  I was afraid of talking on the phone, my voice would give out and I would get flustered and try to restructure my conversation to fewer words.  Lately, I have had some extended phone calls and I have done alright.

Keep trying, get help if needed, modify your repertoire, hang in there and do not give up (it will happen).  Learning to live with the side effects is the hardest side effect.

Best always,


donfoo's picture
Posts: 1649
Joined: Dec 2012

Thanks for the update. I am sure it will be a joyous day for all, including you. Cancer is a life changing condition and it takes time to wrap your head around all changes in the ways and paths and options going forward. Some paths may narrow while others may open up or widen for you. Do enjoy living and you will find happiness and contentment. don

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8292
Joined: Sep 2009

It's Early Yet.. and like you say, you may never get back what you had..., but maybe you will also...

At first I was thinking fishing of course....

Flounder gigging naturally , LOL.




Posts: 27
Joined: Dec 2010

ya see the light was't a train

jim and i's picture
jim and i
Posts: 1788
Joined: May 2011

I pray you have a successful gig and that your voice recovers swiftly. My best to the newly weds.


josh r.
Posts: 251
Joined: Oct 2010

Great news "T". My guess is that this will beat playing a "harp" at a different venue! All the best with your new beginning, josh r.

fishmanpa's picture
Posts: 1218
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi folks,

All in all it was a successful gig. There was a chance of rain and the decision was made at the last minute to hold the wedding outdoors. The rain held off! They had a 10'x10' canopy for us which kept us in the shade. The rest of the guests and bridal party had to tough it out but it was "partly cloudy" which kept it cool enough for the most part and at 3500' up it's typically 10* cooler than it is in the Valley.

The wedding was very nice. They were a lovely couple. I felt old as they were so young!... early 20's at best. I just wish they would have had a wedding coordinator to tell everyone what to do. The bridesmaids and ushers practically ran up the aisle as did the bride with her dad ~lol~ We had to shorten the arrangements dramatically! After the "I Do's" we played for about 10 more minutes going through the songs we rehearsed. We received many compliments.

Now... how did I do? Playing wise was not an issue. When you've been doing this as long as I have, it's like riding a bike. The young lady who played violin with me did a wonderful job. She's a talented musician and very easy to work with. From the physical aspect it was a struggle for me. While my shoulder was painful and weak, I was able to get myself in position to play with proper technique. However, I'm so incredibly weak! I carried a speaker down to the area and was totally winded. During the ceremony my upper back muscles started to sing with pain. Fortunately, we got a maintenance guy to carry the speaker and amp back to my truck. By the time we were don and packed I was totally exhausted! The reality is as I expected. Besides the vocal aspect, I'm in no way close physically to being able to perform a normal show (90 minutes). Maybe by the end of September I can give it a shot. The peak season is late September until the end of October during the Fall and the changing of the leaves. People from all over the world visit the Park, especially for the Fall. The manager that books me gives me prime nights as I do quite well there. Pay wise it's Ok but it's the tips that make it worthwhile. There are tip jars set up for the entertainers and all it takes is a few well placed "hints" and I end up going home very well compensated (I miss that extra $$ believe me!). 

The best part about today was seeing some of the employees and managers. I was greeted very warmly and it made my day being told I was missed all season. They all were asking how I was doing and all noticed the 60lb weight loss. The manager that handles the entertainment said to just let her know and I'm back in the rotation. I perform in several locations here in the Valley but by far, playing the Park is my favorite. It's like home for me. If I had to pare down the places I work, I would drop most of them and just play there. It's one of the few places where I truly get to "perform". What could be better than doing what I love the most in one of the most beautiful places on Earth? Being a tourist destination, I typically have an audience of 60-100+ in the lounge and they're there to listen. The crew there set me up well with dimming the lights and setting the mood. There are many times you can hear a pin drop during my performance and the graciousness of the crowd never ceases to humble and amaze me. 

Today was definitely a reality check and while I'm doing well for 10 weeks post Tx, it's obvious I have a very long way to go. All I can do is hope and pray that I re-gain my voice and stamina. Thank you all for your kind words and support. It means a lot to me.


sin9775's picture
Posts: 199
Joined: May 2013

that you made it through the day!  It sounds like it went very well for you.  I can totally understand your concern about your voice.  It truly will be a shame if it does not come back as good as it was before.  It sounds, however, that you just plain have the music in you.  I am sure you will be able to find great satisfaction in your playing if it doesn't work out for you the way you hope.  My brother sings and plays guitar as well -- not to the extent that you do, not by any means, but nevertheless, the very first thing he asked his doctor is if he would be able to sing after this was all over!

Keep trying, but it probably wouldn't be good if you pushed it too much.

Blessings to you.


Posts: 839
Joined: May 2013

your first gig went very well!  Congrats, as that is a HUGE accomplishment!!!  I pray that you get your singing voice completely back and that there are many, many more gigs in your future! 

alligatorpointer's picture
Posts: 131
Joined: Jul 2012

Nice to know that you are feeling strong enough to play for a wedding, "T".   An instrumental wedding performance sounds beautiful and your music selections are very special indeed.  It must be really difficult to have to wait so long for healing when you want to sing right now.  Your voice may not be the same as before tx but your positive attitude will help you find a way to adapt and sing again after your throat tissues heal.  Consider that some of the least melodious singers have styles that bring enjoyment to their fans and their unique voices have made them famous.  Joe Cocker and Bob Dylan are two examples.  I love listening to someone who sings in a deep growl and draws an audience in with personality and warmth.  You will find your voice and sing again because you have talent and the music inside of you needs to be heard and shared.  Believe.

Posts: 1914
Joined: May 2012

You are truely an inspiration of strong will and determination to get back into life !  I truely do understand the feelings you and many other's are facing head on with these issues.  But T you're doing what you love !  What a treasure we have in you !  It sounds like things went really good and you  brought joy to a young couple and made their day grand !  Hugs sent !  Katie

fishmanpa's picture
Posts: 1218
Joined: Jan 2013


The way those two young people were looking at each other I don't think they heard a word the preacher was saying (and boy did he preach! ~lol~) or a note that was played!


Duggie88's picture
Posts: 703
Joined: Feb 2010

Happy to see your back at it. Sorry I was on the web site prior to wish you luck but sounds as though you didn't that wish. Maybe you need a roady for a while. I turned down a truck driviing job for Bon Jovi back in the late 80's but I did install a wall unit in Rich's house a year or so later. Come to think about it I was young then. Anyway as everyone said, one step at a time. PT should bring back the shoulder in no time and the voice won't be to far behind.


Take care.........I'm happy to see your progressing


denistd's picture
Posts: 587
Joined: Apr 2009

Glad you got through that Tim. I can imagine how tough it must have been lugging gear too. I had my cancer in my larynx and my voice was back in a relatively short period, high notes are the last. Good job we were not Frankie Valli types or even Steve Perry's, who by the way had surgery on his face for melanoma. Also hope they fix this site soon, growing a beard waiting for things to happen.

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