"Before there was recorded music, the only place a song existed was in the moment it was played, and then in the heart of the listener." -- Carrie Newcomer
Hundreds of people shared an evening of moments Wednesday at Elkhart's Lerner Theatre.
If you were there for native daughter Carrie Newcomer and Philip Gulley's "Home and Habitat," you already have your own memories of her songs and his storytelling.
If you missed the show, description of those moments may convince you to watch for the next chance to catch Newcomer, Gulley and pianist Gary Walters when they collaborate, as they've done from time to time over the past several years.
Description will not serve to replicate the experience, though.
The magic was too ethereal.
Newcomer said as much in introducing a song she'd written just for the Elkhart show.
"I make air," she said, describing a nagging shortcoming for an artist whose creation exists in the moment but can't be touched.
A longing for permanent, tangible results has brought her back to canning peaches, as she and her mother used to do.
The song touched on that hobby, as well as the efforts of other laborers who produce things we can eat, sit on or drive.
As if to emphasize the point, Newcomer never said what the title was.
"The Work of Our Hands" seems like a good guess.
Newcomer had not guessed the reaction she might hear when describing her Elkhart roots.
Several audience members cheered when Newcomer told what street she grew up on.
"How many places can you play and people cheer when you say 'Frances Avenue?' " she asked.
Newcomer praised the restoration work on the Lerner, too.
"We're in the old Elco Theater!" she exclaimed. "I used to watch movies here.
"I kissed someone right back there. Ssh. Don't tell anyone."
Such youthful scandal was at the heart of Gulley's most effective story of the evening, a winding remembrance of summers spent at the county fair in Danville, Ind.