This week, I got what the band Tower of Power would call a “soul vaccination”. A shot of soulful music and music that’s good for the soul. A great combination.
A few months ago, I saw a poster advertising that the legendary band, The Temptations, was coming to Salt Lake to perform with the Utah Symphony. (The Temptations sing songs like “My Girl”, “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”, “I Can’t Get Next To You”, and like… a million other soul classics. Check them out in their prime here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfyFI-4ZsaE.) I don’t think I can describe the joy that poster invoked in my heart. It was like winning the Kentucky Derby, landing on the moon, and discovering a sunken pirate treasure, all wrapped into one glorious advertisement.
The concert also coincided with my best friend’s birthday and college graduation, so we decided to celebrate by attending. I went with my awesome friend, Steve, who plays tenor sax in our band, The Soulistics, and Irene went with Marty, who is another great musician in the Salt Lake area.
Logistically, it was kind of a crazy night to be downtown. The Utah Jazz were in a home court playoff game, and Utah takes its basketball seriously. Traffic was backed up pretty badly, but we all managed to make it to the hall just as the concert was starting.
The Symphony started out with a short pops concert, including broadway selections and a tribute to Louis Armstrong. The majority of the evening, however, was dedicated to letting the legends do their thang. They first brought out a great rhythm section that started laying down some heat, backed and sweetened by the orchestra. Then the Temps themselves exploded on to the stage with their signature dance moves and high energy.
Every song they sang had me dancing in my seat from the beginning, but with it being in a symphony hall and partially a symphony crowd, it took a while for the audience to lose their inhibitions. But the performers were so charismatic and worked the crowd amazingly well, and soon they had us all clapping, waving our cell phones in the air, and dancing. They even had the conductor of the symphony doing dance steps with them at one point. Classic. It was especially great to be there with Steve, who knew all of the music and appreciated it. He had me laughing a lot throughout the evening.
After the concert, the four of us went out for a bite to eat at a diner that was still open. Our waiter was a character, and it was really fun just laughing and talking with everyone. They eventually had to come over and ask us to pay our check because we stayed until they closed. It was a memorable and fun evening.
Part two of my soul vaccination dealt with music that is good for the soul. Last week, a friend of mine told me about her friend, Andrew, and that she wanted to set me up with him. He sounded like a great guy… a physician’s assistant, a home owner, great personality, etc. The catch was that he lives in Boston and would only be in town this weekend.
She gave him my number and we agreed to meet this morning to hear the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square perform “Music and the Spoken Word”- the world’s longest continuing network broadcast. (The show we attended was their 4,207th!)
We met early and had some time to talk on the way to the broadcast. I was impressed by Andrew’s interests and accomplishments. One of the most impressive things I discovered was that he had just run the Boston Marathon for charity. Anyone who can do that is my hero.
We arrived during the choir’s final rehearsal before the taping, so we got to preview the music. The choir had just added 70 new members this week after the same number had reached their retirement (-you can be in the choir 20 years, or until age 65, whichever comes first). I was impressed by how well the new members were able to blend in.
The musical selections were beautifully performed and the peace in the tabernacle was palpable. My favorite selections included a beautiful arrangement of “Come To My Garden” from the musical The Secret Garden and a John Rutter arrangement of “The Lord Bless You and Keep You”. After the broadcast ended, they sang the song they always conclude with, “God Be With You Till We Meet Again” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjrWu5K4u8s), and we headed home.
It was a great way to start a Sunday morning, and all-in-all, a wonderful weekend with some really fantastic music and great company.