I always love hearing from my sister-in-law. She is a sweet lady, and we are all rather partial to her being a member of our family. Her phone call this past week, however, only made me love her more.
She said she was in quite a quandary. She had been given tickets to the hottest show in town and was looking for people to join them in attendance. I hate having my arm twisted, but I like her. So I gave in.
Ironically, this concert had been something which begged for my attendance when we first heard they were coming last August. And by “they,” I mean the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square. They had been invited to perform for the Arizona centennial, which we will be celebrating all year long.
Yes, we were all shocked to discover that this great state is just now turning 100 years old. It was the 48th state accepted into the United States. Isn’t that crazy?
After seeing the ticket prices, I simply accepted the fact that our present budget wasn’t going to allow an in-person attendance. So when I got a call that we could get free tickets, I was elated. Being with family on top of that was just icing on the cake.
The evening was fantastic. We ate burgers at Fez, a local hamburger joint. When asked why they always pick a gay hangout for family dinners, I was accused of being small-minded. I’m just saying…we could try other places to eat, too! I bet there are lots of eating establishments in the Phoenix area!
After dinner, we wandered around downtown Phoenix and happened upon a Yogurtini store. Somehow, only one cup per couple was purchased, and it ended up being a perfect treat before the incredible show began. I tried the cake batter yogurt and patted myself on the back when I realized how healthy I was for eating yogurt. Please ignore that the yogurt was buried somewhere underneath the Peanut Butter M&Ms, crushed Butterfinger candy bars, and bits of cookie dough. There was healthy yogurt in there, I promise.
Just half an hour before show time, we headed to the US Airways Center to find our seats. Receiving free tickets is a treat, but receiving good free tickets is an entirely different matter! I loved being close to the stage, and also slightly to the side. This vantage point helped me watch the conductors when they were resting. Mack Wilberg takes off his suit coat as soon as he is off the stage, by the way. And then he puts it back on when it is once again his turn to conduct. He was my favorite to watch. Hands were a blur! So intense! And what he can make that choir do is just incredible to me.
Perhaps I took my growing-up in Utah for granted. I lived just an hour away from listening to these people sing live any time I wanted. However, I only managed to do just that only a few times before. So being able to attend this concert was simply amazing. They sound even better in person, by the way.
Luckily, they humored the encore clapping and came back with four more songs. One of those was even led by Sandra Day O’Connor! She kept quite the beat to “This Land is Your Land.” Exceedingly old people can carry a tune, too. Who knew?
When the lights came on and the choir slowly left the stage, I didn’t want to leave. It made my appreciation for this group even more humbling when I heard that they are in the choir for twenty years, or until the age of sixty. Did you know that?! Twenty years?! And no one is paid to do it, but the choir and orchestra are made up completely of volunteers. I was blown away even more by their music when realized we were lucky to be getting any of it at all!