We made it through the cold and snow yesterday morning to arrive safely into downtown Salt Lake and then trudged several blocks with thousands of other concert-goers (many from California judging on the footwear, flimsy and fashionable clothing and lack of expertise walking in snow) to the G&S.
The first 30 minutes was the broadcast of “Music & the Spoken Word”, followed by a “mini concert” that lasted about 45 minutes, followed by what my honey described as “30 minutes of stroking”.
This disorganized event consisted of “Mr. Mac” and President Monson meeting and greeting Brian Stokes Mitchell’s family on stage, presenting them with gifts, complimenting them, lauding them to the audience, hugs and simple words (e.g. “friend”) as if they were a bunch of simpletons or non-English speakers.
Mr. Mitchell’s father, an 88-year-old Tuskegee Airman, was presented with a framed copy of “High Flight” — an aeronautical poem. Monson attempted to read it aloud to the massive throng and it was clearly obvious that he was not familiar with it, nor of non-scriptural, or non-widow-visiting words.
The best part of the whole shebang was when Mr. Mitchell was asked to sing “Impossible Dream” — his theme song from Broadway’s “Man of la Mancha”. Beautiful.
Then last night, we attended an AIDS benefit concert at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on 3rd South and 9th East. Called “LIVE to Life”. This concert played to about 100 in the audience and was presented by about twenty extremely talented folks, a choir and a small orchestra who shared a combination of Christmas and non-holiday songs.
Simple, beautiful, heart-felt. Perhaps not as polished as the concert earlier with 20,000 in the hall, but nevertheless, a more powerful experience — and towards a greater cause than “be really quiet, since we need a clean copy for the DVD and CD” that will be out next season….
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds…and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of…wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up, the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, nor even eagle flew.
And while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space…
…put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
– John Gillespie Magee, Jr.