Monday, March 08, 2010

Vaca in Superior

Jesse and I headed up north to Superior, along with Doogie's girlfriend Bre, to see his choir concert. It's a very long drive, but it was made a little easier with the new car. The ride was smooth, and the mileage was a lot better than we got in the van. It was one of those trips where we were doomed to go the wrong way no matter where we went and spent a great deal of time turning around to go back to where we should be or taking a completely alternative route to get there. Despite that, and the pain from so much riding, I had fun.

To be honest, I kind of expected the concert to just be a college version of a high school choir concert. Wow, was I completely wrong! It was held at DECC, the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center which is in downtown. I knew they were performing Carmina Burana, and Doogie had played us portions of the songs on YouTube, but it didn't thrill me. We went to a short lecture before the concert that explained the history of the piece, the meaning behind it, and some musicology.

I learned a vital lesson at the concert: never buy the cheap seats! I bought the cheapest ones, and we were one row from the very back of the theater, plus the seating in our section was so steep, Bre and I were both terrified at the thought of having to try and walk back down them, especially because there were no railings! It was horrible, and we weren't the only ones complaining. I actually hardly heard the first two pieces played (which didn't include Doogie's choir), because I was panicking about having to leave. Eventually I had to offer up a prayer for my safety and let it go.

The groups performing Carmina Burana were he Duluth Symphony Orchestra, Duluth Symphony Choir, a middle school choir, and UW-Superior Acapella Choir. When Doogie finally took the stage, all three of us watched him looking for us. He eventually saw us, partially because I was waving like a maniac. My eyes rarely left him during the entire performance, and I'm surprised that my heart didn't burst right out of my chest, I was so proud.

Carmina Burana was written in 1936 by Carl Orff. It's a group of 25 medieval poems set to music. The piece in the video below begins and ends the piece and is entitled O Fortuna. It's become fairly popular in movies and even commercials. For more info on the piece, go here.

Doogie has always loved music. When he was two years old, he was able to identify Elton John singing Rocket Man as the same voice from The Lion King's Circle of Life. In school concerts, he was always placed front and center, sang at the top of his voice out of pure joy, and usually was dancing because the music so filled his soul he just couldn't stand still. He stayed in choir through junior high and high school, but dropped out his junior year, and I think of that as a dark time in his life. He wasn't happy that year, and not having music in his life only exacerbated the problem.

He didn't join choir first semester up at college, and he had a really rough start in Superior (for more reasons that just music). He started the second semester with a whole new attitude, and I think part of that was joining choir. There's a fire in his eye when he's onstage singing that I never see any other time. It's as though he's most himself in those moments.

So watching my son sing a stunningly beautiful piece with joy on his face, puts joy in my heart. I loved every moment of it. The pictures I took aren't the greatest because I couldn't use a flash (although some people did, tsk tsk), but the video gives you just a taste of the sheer power of the music. In the close up photo, Doogie is in the second row from the bottom,