Music, High and Low Notes

Friday night I had the great joy of seeing one of the projects I’ve been prepping for a considerable time come to fruition: An Evening of Music,

the one and one half hour concert/recital/talent show/whatever that K and I put together along with the other 3 members of a committee that we assembled for the occasion. Doug and Stephanie Dixon in particular did excellent work in helping make sure this event happened, as we had to delegate a fairly large amount of the groundwork to them since K and I had to go out of town during a critical timeframe for the event’s preparation (namely identifying, recruiting and booking the initial lineup of talent). The event was the type of thing that K and I have wanted our tri-ward group to do for a long time, and the need for fundraisers to help the kids go to that week-long conference in Utah provided a perfect opportunity to make it happen, hopefully laying the foundation and support for future events of a similar nature (minus the fundraising aspects). Another of our major projects right now is the conference that the event was intended to help fund, but I’ll mention that later.

The priests and laurels showed up promptly on time and got the cultural hall set up swiftly and efficiently, and the sound checks went smoothly. Sun-hee and I had to talk down one of the korean boys that got cold feet and tried to back out at the last minute, but we encouraged him and he consented to go on. The audience assembled and it was time at last for the show to begin, and everyone basically knew what to do.

My role? I was the MC and impresario (manager/producer) for the evening, not only handling the mic but helping make sure that everything ran smoothly from one act to the next, including helping a few young performers get over stage-fright or related jitters and coordinating between the artists and what little tech support was needed.

The show itself went wonderfully. We had 20 numbers performed, with a wide variety of styles and forms. Half of those were classical numbers performed by Korean members young and adult. We had pianists, violinists, cellists, a string trio and a french horn player. They played beautifully. I was personally pleased that two young women selected works by Bach, my favorite composer, and the trio performed A Child’s Prayer.

The remainder were a vibrant mix of rock-influenced folk, humor, yet more classical and show tunes (Popular from Wicked, Matchmaker, Matchmaker from Fiddler and C’est Moi from CamelotMatchmaker, Matchmaker and C’est Moi being performed in full costume.). One performer mixed his act with some stand-up (actually pretty good, and it helped liven things up), though easily the funniest bit was performed by one of our ward members along with her friend the opera singer Nita Graham. Nita sang Gershwin‘s Embraceable You in french, while Cathy would translate into english, humorously… and then Nita finished and said she’d do it again in english…. so Cathy then translated into (broken) spanish for the audience. I’m sure it was much funnier in person than talking about it. The last number was all of our young men and women together singing We’ll Bring the World His Truth (Army of Helaman) accompanied by Aaron, the same brilliant music professor that helped repeatedly with accompanying various performers throughout the evening. That got mothers and other ladies all teary-eyed, so it went over about as we’d hoped. The folk-rock singer-songwriter performed two numbers, and was most excellent. I’ve been wanting to hear him for some time now. He’s a good guy. Plus it was great to hear Aaron play something on his own… something that’s his own choice, and that displays his full talents.

Afterwards, folks from all 3 wards commented to me that we need to do something like this again (as I had anticipated, my ebil little self… this was part of why I pushed for making this activity hapen at this particular time… muhahhahah). Parents loved it, others raved over it, all was well. One amusing thing was that  one sister (of thai origin) had spent a chunk of the day representing the asian-american community in LA on behalf of her foundation…and a big part had been about stereotypes of asians. She told folks there that asians don’t all play violin… when what did she find at our event? a whole slew of asian kids that love playing violins, cellos etc. She jokingly threw up her hands when talking about it afterwards and conceded that okay, maybe all asian-americans do after all.  On the plus side, she loved the concert.

Also, after cleanup was done, where did I find almost all of the korean boys? Up on the stage behind the curtain, playing ping-pong. I almost teased them about living up to stereotypes (violins + ping-pong back to back!!), but decided it wasn’t the time. I had a good chuckle over it myself, though.

Anyhow, life is good.

I’ll spare you details on the grumbles that escaped K and I when we took a look over the bookkeeping info the stake sent us about the money for the YC… and it was sloppy, messy and off by (after we exhaustively checked, double-checked and ran it through XL spreadsheets) what turned out to be over $700, and also our frustration with a certain bishop determinedly telling us and numerous other people on stake and local levels a “fact” about certain kids already being fully paid for… for over a month… yet now, the day before all funds are due, telling us that as a matter of fact, that’s not true, and he never told us any such thing and he has no idea how we ever got such a notion. Never mind that he’d been using the “nonexistent” statements as barriers against any and all questions we asked him that were remotely related to the issue. Don’t worry about anything with them.. they’re all covered. Yeah. Well, at least one of them legitimately is. Never mind the other 4, who sudenly weren’t covered at all. Bah. This prompted us to have to sit down and really go over things with a fine-toothed comb, leading to the aforementioned day of crunching and re-crunching numbers to fix the errors both clerical and informational, so we can deal with what we actually are facing.  They should’ve put it on an XL spreadsheet to begin with, that’d have saved a lot of grief… but at least it’s on one now.

Then, when we were about to send out the finalized spreadsheets and full info? The power dies. A hundred degrees plus humidity, and apparently that was a good time for the grid in our neighborhood to collapse. Ah well. A lot of legwork, a Pioneer Day gathering (filled with frenziedly chasing down parents to personally deliver them the info they needed) later and everything is more or less in order. Oh, and eating pie and chili, then lemonade and nestle crunch ice cream bars. MMmmmm.

So now we’re home, the power’s back, the emails are sent, the calls are made and things are okay. And there’s a pleasant breeze from my window at last.

So much for sparing you the details, eh?


2 Responses to “Music, High and Low Notes”

  1. lucretiasheart Says:

    I’m glad to hear you had fun and that (most) things went over so well. I know how hard it is to organize such an event– I have some experience with similar things myself. But if you think LDSs are challenging, try doing something similar with a bunch of wacky neo-pagans! Ee-yikes! *chuckle* But, you know, it’s a labor of love!

  2. uhlrik Says:

    Organizing the people itself isn’t that huge a challenge. At this point the challenge is coordinating with three different bishops (and our stake leaders) at once, all of whom we are accountable to. Most YM or YW presidents (the positions K and I hold) don’t have to deal with that added headache.

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