Sunday, July 16, 2006

Command Performance

Friday July 14
Weather: the hottest day so far this year.

AM: Cram rest of Sondheim lyrics for this afternoon's Sondheim in the Park festival performances. Dress in white. Shoes: comfort or cute? Comfort.

1:00 take bus. Review lyrics on bus.
2:00 rehearse at Cultural Center. We run our set of songs to the interest and applause of passers by, then review some problem spots. Still not quite confident with beginning of Have I Got a Girl for You, where I have little solos. Simple lyrics but challenging rhythms. I downloaded the song from iTunes and ran through it many times.
3:00 supposed to have sound check at our performance space in the Lurie Garden.
But, it's POURING rain. All look out windows in despair. Was our preparation, our memorization for nothing?
3:20 rain has miraculously stopped. Sun comes out. Group heads over to Millenium Park. Air is so humid it's hard to breathe. Audience begins to gather, sitting on puddles on rock ledges. Sound people set up our microphones but there's no time for a sound check. Makeup is melting.
4:05 Performance number one begins. Word is that Sondheim is on his way. Several my friends, mom, sister in law and niece and nephew are in the audience. More people gather as we begin to sing. Much applause. No Sondheim.

5:00 Sondheim due at any moment. Several sightings occur, but I can't see him as places have been called. Despite sweltering heat and relentless sun, several friends decide to stay for performance #2, a couple more friends arrive. We sound great. No Sondheim, despite rumors.

5:30 Audience begins to scatter. We get word that Sondheim has finally arrived. Would we be willing to reprise a song for him? Wow. I will get to sing for the great composer and lyricist, tho for the chosen song I don't have as much to do as in some of the others. As we sing his music, I can see him watching and smiling. He applauds with the remaining and newly arrived audience.

A once in a lifetime opportunity, well worth all of the effort.

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