Slowing down wasn’t in musical performer Gil Kirk’s plans and, even though the venue he played at has closed down, he’s still musically active.
At 66, he’s just not performing as much.
“I’m performing three for four times a month instead of four or five times a week,” Kirk said.
The nightly performances were at Sebastian’s Seafood Grill across from Sporthaven Beach. He began playing there 16 years ago when it was Smuggler’s Cove.
Kirk said he enjoyed playing there.
“I appreciated the house situation,” Kirk said. “I didn’t have to bring in my equipment, and there was an ocean view.”
The electronic piano was always there. All he had to do was sit down, play and sing.
The songs he performed were those he knew people would enjoy. Often he would be playing and diners would be socializing. The room would suddenly grow quiet and people turned their attention to the music when they heard a familiar tune.
He also played requests. His slogan was “My version of your favorite songs.”
Those songs included old standards, country, dance and easy listening. Gil’s wife, Marie, said fans would go there to dine on the days he was performing.
But then the restaurant closed earlier this year, and Kirk found himself spending quiet evenings at home.
Those quiet times didn’t lasted long.
“I’m looking forward to new adventures and activities,” Kirk said. These activities are musically related and include refurbishing his repertoire, archiving and recording.
“People often asked, ‘Don’t you have a CD?’” Marie said. He never made one. “He never had time to do that.”
That’s become one of his projects.
Fans can still hear him perform, too. For example, he now plays twice a month at Chetco Brewing Co. His next performance is tonight (April 21) at 5:30.
Kirk began playing music when he was 4 when growing up in Oklahoma. He received encouragement from his father, who also had a musical background. He recalls his father would come home from work and ask the young Kirk to play a song for him.
This is how he learned to play people’s favorites and it created a successful career that has lasted 42 years.
His career took him to Chicago, Sacramento and finally Brookings, where he has been for the past 26 years. His career includes being a choir director.
Kirk thanks the community for allowing him to entertain, and he thanks Marie for her support.