On a cold January day in 1999, as I was just getting started in this music business, a friend told me she was going to see John Gorka at Godfrey Daniels in Bethlehem. That statement meant nothing to me at the time, because I had never heard of John Gorka, or Godfrey Daniels for that matter.
Back then, if you had a computer in your house, you were very fortunate. Most of us had them at the office, and we were starting to use email as a real form of communication. But, websites were still very rudimentary. Godfrey Daniels’ website was simply a listing of shows with a bit of clip art. It was very linear, created by a computer programmer who worked in a corporate platform. Back then, there was no YouTube, and no social media, not even MySpace. So, it was not so easy to learn about either of those soon-to-become legends.
One year later, I was living in Bethlehem, and I discovered Godfrey’s, along with the folklore that was passed on from generation to generation. When the house lights went down and focus was turned to the artist(s) on stage, there was a palpable energy shift, a give and take with the audience – no matter how large or small.
I was smitten. I became a regular at Open Mike, and began volunteering at shows. Within a couple of years, I began the process of developing a state-of-the-art website, and email marketing system. I created posters, and postcards, and all of the visual tools necessary to compete with the slick venues that were beginning to pop up everywhere. That wasn’t an easy task, because there was a very meager budget for these things. Translation: Work for free. And I did so, very willingly.
Fast forward to the present day, I recently completed Godfrey’s website re-development project; created an in-house promotional slideshow; installed new window graphics; and along with a great team, refurbished the front room. Think about it, 20 years later, you can now browse the website and buy tickets from your smartphone!
How does this happen? People care. People act. People donate – Time and Money. And people appreciate each other.
Last night, I had the unique opportunity to open the show for John Gorka, at Godfrey Daniels, in front of a sold out audience – John Gorka’s sold out audience. I would say this story has come full circle, and I am very appreciative.