What are the dreams that you had as a little kid? To be an astronaut? President of the U.S.?
Mine was to sing in a big venue, specifically the Kennedy Center Honors. Last weekend, that dream came true.
Since 1978, the Kennedy Center Honors celebrates the best in lifetime achievement in the arts and culture. They keep the show’s celebrities secret until they tape the first week of Dec.,but they always have amazing artists and great opportunities for choirs that back them up.
Some of my earliest memories was watching this program with my mother, always marveling at the work of the honorees and loving the performance. To me, the level of the show is up there with the Emmys and Grammys – it was consistently a show I’d always watch and dream that one day I’d be there.
A few days ago, a friend said that the choir that was backing up James Taylor and Mavis Staples needed more singers and asked if I could come and sing for the one… the only… Sir. Paul McCartney. Um.. yeah! (said without hesitating and a lot of OMG and squealing). During rehearsal, we listened to Steven Tyler, Dave Grohl, No Doubt, Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson and Norah Jones perform. I just walked around the Kennedy Center with my jaw dropped and my eyes wide open.
And then today was a day for the record books.
We started with a 1pm call and taped the dress rehearsal. Each time when I walked up backstage (always walking past the greenroom, peeking inside to see who was there), I had the most intense case of butterflies I’ve ever known. Its fascinating to think that you get to live a dream, one that you thought never had a chance of happening.
When the curtain pulled up last night after James Taylor and Mavis Staples sang “Let it Be,” it was the most exhilirating rush of my recent life. All I could see was some of the audience members and the President, and I kept looking around to identify celebrities’ faces.
Then, we broke out the “na na na nas” for Hey Jude… and Paul McCartney started getting down. Seriously. I’ve seen Oprah boogie (and she was dancing right beside him), but watching Paul get into the song was a whole new experience. They passed out lights to the audience, and everyone started waving their arms – it looked like we were in the best rock concert of all time.
Oh, and Steven Tyler said hi to me backstage. I freaked out!
So, please excuse me if you catch me daydreaming or talking about this incredible day. I mean, its not every day you get to sing for Matthew Morrison (aka Will Schuster of “Glee”), Julia Roberts, Brad Paisley, Diana Ross, Alec Baldwin, James Taylor, Oprah and the President and First Lady. 🙂
Make sure you watch the Kennedy Center Honors on CBS Dec. 28. Check your local listings. It was an incredibly powerful show and I know you’ll enjoy it. If you look at the Paul McCartney choir, I’m on the right side of the men in the middle, 2nd row, third woman from the middle.
Here’s CNN’s quick clip of the evening. If you can’t view it, click here.