This is from a blog awhile back by Jonathan Miller, the director of Chicago A Capella, a very fun and talented professional chamber choir in Chicago. I love the fact that Jonathan talks about music affecting people in a personal way, and I certainly enjoy hearing about how silly music, not just serious music, can make life special (and a piece of mine plays a small part in this).
Jonathan Miller Making Someone Happy Mon, 7/9/2007
Last weekend, Chicago a cappella had a special performance, along rather unusual lines. A longtime patron was having a big birthday, and his wife hired us to go the Unitarian Church of Evanston for a surprise party and concert.
Sometimes it's hard to know if you're affecting someone, but this was not one of those times. The fortunate birthday boy, Craig (who was turning 50) sat up in the front row, enjoying all of it. One of the requests was the hilarious song by Paul Carey, "Mashed Potato/Love Poem" from the cycle "Play With Your Food!" We hadn't sung it in a few years, and it was wonderful to once again witness that song's effect on an audience.
It was especially touching when Kathryn Kamp and Betsy Grizzell sang a duet that had been written for Craig's wedding thirteen years ago. Then we sang "Happy Birthday" in wonderful harmony, with all the people who had gathered in that reverberant space. At that point, Craig said, "I don't know if my heart can take much more of this," to which I replied, "Okay, we're done!" (which we were).
I have often taken pride in the intimate connection we have with our audiences, even with 300 people in the concert hall. This was a lovely occasion when the intimacy was the total point, and all of the singers totally delivered.
To Amy, Kathryn, Susan, Betsy, Trevor, Hoss, Aaron, Matt, and Ben: thank you.
To Craig and Judith: thanks to you of course, and congratulations, and many happy returns!
I heartily recommend CAC for a festive occasion! Almost two weeks later, Craig is still talking about the performance and how moved he was and so are our friends. He laughed so hard at the Mashed Potato song that he couldn't catch his breath and tears were streaming down his face (although that might have been sweat, as it was 95 degrees outside and the church has no air conditioning where the party was held).