I have been working pretty steadily with few breaks. Last Friday afternoon I raised my head from in front of my computer, looked around the room and said to myself: I could be at the conference center tonight listening to Spanish music and DA! This could happen!
Of course I had no tickets. I have not been on the receiving end of tickets for events at the conference center for quite a while. There are so many offered and so many apply, that the odds are just not really good. But I have always (so far!) been able to attend if I was willing to go standby. I was. Of course!
So I dressed warmly, got a bottle of water, climbed in the car and headed out to begin the 30 minute drive to SLC. It was just after 5 pm. I hoped to get there by 5.30 or so and be at the head of the standby line which begins to form (officially) at 6.00 pm. For Christmas concerts, I have seen the line 50 – 80 people long by 6.10 and I wanted to avoid being at the back. I had heard that there was a big turnout for the Thursday dress rehearsal.
I made good time and arrived at Temple Square, by the Tabernacle, where the line usually begins. There was no one there. I realized I had not eaten. Small item overlooked. It was cold. I had at least a 2-hour wait. None of my sons could come with me – too short notice. I did end up eating— I wandered across the street to the big mall and got (ha, ha!) a frozen yogurt with bananas and blueberries. And a spoon. I don’t think I need to tell you how cold I got eating frozen yogurt while standing in front of the Tabernacle waiting for the line to begin.
Dayzee would have been proud. I was at the front of the line.
It turned out that the attendance was less on Friday than it had been on Thursday and although the wait was long, there was no trouble getting in. I met some very lovely people while waiting and we ended up sitting right in the center balcony three rows back. Great seats!
I had heard from the ushers that the attendance on Thursday was upwards of 40,000 people. The conference center holds about 21,000 seats. They put the rest of the people into the Tabernacle which they had fixed up with large screens and everything. It looked like every effort was taken to support whoever wanted to come, but I wanted to be in the same building. Of course.
There was a bit of drama because the ushers did not want us waiting in the cold. So they sat us in the Tabernacle in the order we came. One lady kept saying how this was bad and how this had happened to her more than once and that she had missed out on concerts because of this. Nope. Not. Going. To. Happen. I felt certain that I was there to hear DA and all the music and that was how it was going to be.
The concert was more than I had ever imagined. They have held these Spanish language concerts before, but I had never gone because of the way they were advertised so I did not know what to expect. I felt somehow that I would be taking the place of someone else who was “officially” Latin. But this time the advertising said that all were welcome. That was good enough for me.
Oh my! The music was amazing! The bands, the musicians, were wonderful. I loved the little older man who played what looked like a harp but sounded more like a xylophone. Everyone was clapping, moving, joining in however they could. I lost track of how many countries were represented, each with their own music, dance, traditions, etc.
I loved watching the people around me. Almost all the people there seemed to be families sitting together, grandparents on down to young children. The Dad’s, kids, and all would inch forward until they were on the edge of their seats, bouncing, swaying, and leaning towards one another like they were all trees enjoying the same spot of sun.
I had a good view of the family right in front of me. The Dad got so excited that he spent almost the entire program on the edge of his seat. The times he sat back? When DA sang. I thought at first – maybe he doesn’t know or like DA? But then I saw how he clapped. For DA it was solid, firm, appreciative in admiration. It was just that DA’s songs were more laid back than almost all the rest of the program.
When the different countries were represented, you would hear calls and whistles from different parts of the audience, like they were cheering for their home team or for some participants that they knew. The people I sat by were there to support friends who were playing in the orchestra. I don’t think they knew much about DA.
But by the end of the program, they did. Every time he came on stage he filled the center. It is not him, himself. It is like this globe of love, kindness, energy, anticipation, a conduit from another place, that slowly invites all around to join in “his” space. We are gently gathered, released, enlivened, restored, comforted and…. sang to!
It was an absolutely lovely evening. I am so thankful for all the hard work, love, and talent that went into the whole program. Where can one get that sort of experience for free?
DA, thank you so much for just being you. For being willing to be more than you are. For being willing to share, learn, serve, and….. sing your blessed little heart out.
After listening to him sing “His Hands” in Spanish, I could not ask for a better ending for my long week.
I. Am. Grateful.
All video credits: Pattycake04