November 18, 2010

Birth or Not

Today I learned from American Papist via Facebook that there is a couple in Minnesota who is considering whether or not they want to abort their unborn child and they are making their decsision based on the votes they get on an Internet Poll.  This is the most sad and disturbing thing I have heard in a while - the couple has even given their baby a nickname and they are still trying to decided whether or not to kill it!  Right now the votes for "Give Birth" are in the lead, and we need to make sure they stay overwhelmingly so. 
Now is your chance to make a difference in an actual birth or abortion decsision.  Go and vote for life!

November 10, 2010

Random Running Commentary of the CMA Awards

Hurray!  Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood hosting, setting the stage with great humor and teasing of their fellow country singers, all in good fun.  Cute dress btw, Carrie!  Dresses, I should say... why do you guys change clothes so much?  Woah... that green dress is... *cough* Um.... yeah, it looks weird.  But your purple dress for your song that you are singing is gorgeous.

Congrats Lady Antebellum on getting the Best Single award for "Need You Now!" and Vocal Group of the Year. By the way, your song "Hello World" is beautiful, love the beautifully religious second verse!

NOOOOO..... I'll never be able to listen to Rascal Flatts the same way again.... I thought the lead singer was 20, dark hair and skinny!  Not... 30-35, not skinny with blond hair... he's not fat... but... he's not skinny either.  Eck, that's the downside on listening to just the radio.

 Congratulations Miranda Lambert on getting Best Song and Music Video of the Year for "The House that Built Me". That is a beautiful song!  Yes!  And I love when people openly acknowledge Jesus in their speeches... I missed who this guy was,someone with Miranda, but hey, he's on the CMA stage, in front of millions.  That is what I love about country singers.

Yep, George Straight has won more CMA awards than anyone because he's older than anyone else there... Aww, I love this song.  "Life's not the breaths you take... but it's the moments that take your breath away."

And award for the New Artist of the Year goes to the ZAC BROWN BAND! WhoohooooO!

Yay!  Kenny Chesney is performing "The Boys of Fall" I love this song... plus in the introduction to it, they have a brief glimpse of my college's stadium.

TAYLOR SWIFT!!!!  Beautiful white dress darling, and you know how to play the grand piano!  Gorgeous show, string accompaniments, lanterns, fog and fence... And Taylor Lautner, pay attention 'cause she is singing your song!  Let's go "Back to December" now... FAKE SNOW!!! Now that looks COOL.  Can we give her an award for best stage performance?

Little Big Town... great accapella rendition of "You Belong with Me".  You should have sang the whole song!

And Album of the Year goes to..... it goes to.... come on.... who does it go to???  Miranda Lambert!  Her first Album of the Year award, way to go girl!  Cute dress, by the way.

So I missed what this guy's name is... but it's kind of distracting, he looks like a basset hound. *shrugs*  He didn't win an award, he's just singing.

Brad Paisley's turn to perform!  He's debuting his new song "This is Country Music".  "You're not supposed to say the word cancer in a song, and talking about Jesus might rub some folks wrong... this is Country Music."

Vocal Duo Award... is it Brooks and Dun, Joey and Rory, Montgomery Gentry, Steel Magnolia or Sugarland?  SUGARLAND  GETS THE AWARD, making their 4th time claiming this award.  Congrats you two!  *cheers and applause from the audience*

Martina McBride announcing the Male Vocalist of the Year award.... and it goes to... Blake Shelton!  Congratulations on your first win for this award!  Aww, Reba is crying for him!  Actually, this is his first CMA award ever!

THE BAND PERRY PLAYED IF I DIE YOUNG!!!! Giving the link to their music video 'cause I like it so much.

Loretta Lynn makes an appearance in a lovely white gown and sings "Coal Miner's Daughter" with Miranda Lambert and someone else... such a sweet performance!  And following up on that... Female Vocalist of the Year... Miranda Lamber, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Taylor Swift or Carrie Underwood?  Miranda Lambert takes the Female Vocalist of the Year!  Wow this girl is doing pretty well tonight!

Here's someone I didn't expect to see tonight... Gwynth Paltrow singing a song from the upcoming movie "Country Strong", and she's pretty good at it too.

Oh my gosh!!! DAWN TREADER SONG BY CARRIE UNDERWOOD WITH FOOTAGE ON THE TV!!!!! *hyperventilates*  Oh wow... this new footage looks soooooooo cool!!!!!  It's not the full song, but way does that look AMAZING!  And Anti-hug Edmund gave Caspian a hug!  =)

Now, does Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban or the Zac Brown Band get the ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR Award?

"If you see a turtle on a fence post, you know it had help getting up there.  I feel like a turtle on a fence post... God bless everybody and thank you for a great night." - Brad Paisley

And that is the 2010 44th CMA awards!

November 8, 2010

The Three Christines

This is a reflection that the director for my school's production of Phantom of the Opera wrote following the closing show yesterday.  It is truly a beautiful story, I was there when it happened and I want to share it with all of you.  
Note: Names of people and places have been either removed or changed.

Reflections by the director of “The Phantom of the Opera”:
An event happened this weekend with “The Phantom of the Opera” that needs to be shared. It’s a human interest story that reflects so beautifully on one very talented young lady and her willingness to help a fellow performer when she was down. That young lady is junior Laura.
Let me backtrack. At the final audition for the role of Christine, we had narrowed the part down to three actresses: Agnes, Grace and Laura. We decided to doublecast the part, partially because the role is so vocally demanding, but also to have a built-in understudy should something happen. We ended up casting Agnes and Grace in an extremely difficult final decision. It turns out that, in this case, two was not enough.
Both girls cast in the part were magnificent on their respective opening night performances. However, when Grace came in for the Saturday matinee, she had developed a cold that was affecting some of her high notes. She felt she could sing the role and, using her best technique, was able to perform the matinee. The best thing for her to do was rest before she sang the following evening.
As we were waiting to meet as a cast on Saturday night before the show, I noticed Agnes sitting by herself looking a bit upset. She told me she felt “a little scratchy.” Apparently she’s allergic to flowers and I can only imagine that she was flooded with roses following her opening night. I told her don’t worry; a little scratch is no big deal. Well, as she warmed up backstage, sounding beautiful, suddenly her voice was gone. There were notes she simply could not sing. (By the way, I found this out after I heard her onstage.)
It was obvious to me as she started singing Christine’s opening aria, “Think of Me,” that she was having severe problems; not so severe that many of the audience members knew, but severe that those of us who knew the show were gravely concerned for her. I met her backstage after the “Phantom of the Opera/Music of the Night” sequence only to see her collapse in tears. As I told her later, there’s nothing worse than having to perform in a show where you are the lead and everyone is waiting to hear a particular number. (Case in point, a few times on the road with me and “Bring Him Home.” You can feel 4,000 people staring at you wondering why you are out on that stage.)
As I tried to calm Agnes down, Laura ran up to her and said she would sing the entire part off stage for her good friend. “Whatever you want me to do, baby. I am there for you. I’ll sing the entire role if that’s what you want!”
Remember, this is the girl we did not cast in the part. We figured out exactly how to make this work and proceeded to have Laura do her own ensemble role in the show as well as singing Christine to help her dear friend, Agnes.
It worked. People were so caught up in the story that the audience either forgot or forgave what was happening on the stage. On curtain call, the audience responded with a unanimous standing ovation. But that was not quite the ending of this amazing night of selflessness. When Agbes came on stage for her bow, she grabbed Laura’s hand and made Laura bow with her. The cast began sobbing seeing yet another selfless act. The two girls bowed together, leaving the stage sobbing in each others arms. When I talked with Laura afterward, her comment to me was “Well, I got to sing Christine. Not quite like I wanted to, but I got to sing it.”
There is still more to the story. You see, Saturday night was sold out and we still had two performances on Sunday. I waited to find out how my girls were doing on Sunday morning before making any decisions as to who was singing what. Maybe Agnes would be better. Maybe it was some freak reaction to some medication and she would be able to sing like a bird on Sunday. Maybe Grace would be fully over her cold and able to sing both shows. Yes, I needed to be concerned about my cast and their safety, but I did have two potential sold-out performances staring me in the face.
Agnes was first in. She wanted to speak with me before anyone as around. No, there was no miracle cure. In fact, she sounded a bit worse. Once again, being selfless and caring about the good of the show and her fellow performers, she said I should put Grace on and that she, Agnes, could not sing it. Agnes said it would not be fair to the two men playing the Phantom and Raoul to be onstage with her lip syncing the part when we had another Christine.
Grace was not in yet, but I knew that she would not be able to sing two shows at the end of a difficult week. I told Agnes that I also needed to think about Grace and getting through both shows and needed to save Grace for the evening performance, giving her as much rest as possible. Again, the tears started, this time from both of us. I asked her what she wanted to do. She said that she wanted to sing Christine. I told her that could not happen, so what was her next choice. She said that if Laura was willing, she wanted to at least be on the stage as Christine, since she had so many people in the audience and after she had worked so hard on the part. Lauren was once again willing to be the unsung hero who, in this case, sang and sang beautifully.
It was, in many ways, even a better performance than Saturday night because Angie seemed resigned to the fact that she could not really sing the role given her allergic reaction. Thunderous applause, standing ovation and the same bow as Saturday night once again brought us all to tears. It as a good thing we allowed Grace to rest too, because her cold closed in. Through sheer force of will Grace was able to give us the closing performance of “The Phantom of the Opera.”
Was it the Theater ghost? Was it fate stepping in giving all three wonderfully talented ladies the chance to sing this role? Whatever it was, we owe Laura huge debt of thanks. Her complete willingness to give of herself without any of the glory enabled us to have the show go on. She is a truly wonderful young lady who makes me so proud to be a part of this college.