I was on an airplane one day in December when I learned about Croce Plays Croce.
Just hours before the flight, I had grabbed the January issue of Boca magazine from my bedroom coffee table and stuffed it in my bag, knowing these are the only kinds of moments multi-tasking moms even think about having the opportunity to hold and actually read a glorious magazine or book.
A few articles caught my eye… a great feature on radio host Paul Castronova, Office Depot’s “Superman” Alex Price and Boca’s newest wellness hotspot, Gro Yoga.
Then there was one small section from the Backstage Pass Calendar that got my attention:
Croce Plays Croce at Duncan Theatre at Palm Beach State College, 4200 S. Congress Ave., Lake Worth Beach; 8pm.; $99; 561-868-3309, duncantheatre.org Singer-songwriter AJ Croce, who lost his famous balladeer father, Jim, at age 2, and then went blind at 4, has transformed setbacks into creative gold as a vocalist, guitarist and pianist. At this performance, he plays iconic songs by his father (“Operator,” “Time in a Bottle”), a few of his original compositions, and tunes that have inspired both Croces.
I knew I needed to be there.
My dad loved Jim Croce’s music. He played it often throughout my childhood and I grew to love it too. Along with the likes of John Denver, Hank Williams Jr. and Jimmy Buffett, we would listen to Croce on road trips to North Carolina, in the living room of the house or in the car on the way to school. I’d always include Jim Croce songs within those cassette tape mixes so many of us used to make. Pretty sure I even used a Croce soundtrack for a college Film/Video Studies editing project, dedicated of course… to my dad.
But it was in Dad’s last few years of life that Jim Croce songs touched me the most.
Dad had Alzheimer’s Disease and that—coupled with several tough falls—didn’t allow him to move around much at the end. He passed time watching a lot of news and University of Michigan collegiate games, listening to my children read him their story books and music I’d choose for him from his dozens of CDs layered perfectly in his wooden CD tower.
As much as Alzheimer’s Disease takes from those who are diagnosed with it… and from their loved ones, music often somehow stays in their memory. My dad couldn’t process what he did that day or the names of the amazing aides who helped me help him, but the words to songs like Jim Croce’s… well, he remembered every word.
When he’d sing along to favorite songs or even those ol’ Irish ballads, I didn’t see a dad with Alzheimer’s Disease…
I saw my dad.
So that’s why I don’t want to miss Croce Plays Croce.
That’s why I went right to A.J. Croce’s website and wanted to learn his story (quite a story). And hear his music—part New Orleans, part juke joint, part soul. And how he, too, continues to connect to his late father, through song.
I always say to keep the loved ones you’ve lost present.
A.J. plans to do that on stage Tuesday at Duncan Theatre.
And out in the audience, I sure will too.
Sure hope you join us.
Tickets to Croce Plays Croce at Palm Beach State College’s Duncan Theatre and A.J. Croce tour information can be found at www.ajcrocemusic.com.
Connect with Paige at www.PaigeKornblue.com and @PaigeKornblue for Community, News, Travel and more!