Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The tears have got to stop!

But what can you do? The night is magnificent! A clear sky, a setting sun and an evening Concert on the Square that is set to bring down the house (indeed, it was so crowded that people turned a bit vicious in overlapping their blankets on top of your own).

Tonight, the New Zealander, Hayley Westenra sang in her debut orchestral performance. The music was deliberately powerful: Bocelli’s “Time to Say Goodbye” from Romanza (download it, the version with Sarah Brightman, everyone! Guaranteed tears! Or is it me? I heard this song repeatedly on my very first visit to China several years back: I will always think of it as a mix of China where I heard it and Italy – the country where I secretly buried my roots way back when... more on that next month), and then a beautiful piece from New Zealand – Pokarekare Ana. Sob city! I could not stop bawling. My co-listeners shifted the blanket a bit to disassociate themselves, but it was no use, because the songs call for hugs and embraces and tears. Schmaltzy? No, not at all. Beautiful.

My pal, John, from the L’Etoile bakery crew was there, performing with the Madison Chamber Orchestra. That, too, was sad – he’s leaving next month to study in Switzerland.  I know he’ll be famous someday, especially if fame is determined by kindness and a good soul.

In the end, as I wrote in Japan, what you notice every time is the presence of the children. These little girls (see below) climbed up to the podium and swayed to the music. But then, so did the grownups. God, it was a beautiful evening. (And we got back just in time to catch the Edwards speech.)

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