Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Three Posts in One

For three days in a row, I attended the biggest event in Columbus of the day. (I have written and re-written that opening sentence and can't get it to sound grammatically correct. You all know what I mean though. I hope.)

Where do I even begin? I guess chronologically, with Thursday.


My dad had tickets secured for the sold-out Yo-Yo Ma concert for a long time -- front row seats in the historic Ohio Theater (on the very edge of the left side, but front row nonetheless.) I've always been a fan of Yo-Yo Ma, ever since my elementary school music teacher Mrs. Stoll introduced him to me with a CD in which he collaborated with Bobby McFerrin to do Flight of the Bumblebee. I also love the work he's done for movies such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha and... well, probably every movie ever made featuring Asian actors. Anyway, enough rambling.

I love classical music and am always up for an orchestra performance, but I was not expecting to be so blown away. Ma's cello-playing is absolutely flawless. His big strokes sound like spreading honey and his runs sound like trickling water. With our limited view from the corner of the theater, I could see that written music is completely unnecessary for him: he just looks up at the ceiling and feels it, as strands of horsehair break off of his bow one by one and wave passionately in the air.

I was also not expecting to be so inspired by the maestro, Junichi Hirokami, a 5-foot tall Japanese man whose little body could not contain all his energy. We were seated ideally to see his profile view throughout the concert and I have never seen a man exude more love for what he was doing. I definitely saw air between his feet and the podium more than a couple of times. With the duo of Ma and Hirokami, there was never a dull moment.
Lastly, I was not aware of the dire financial situation of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and that this concert may in fact have been the last for them. Understandably, lots of people are upset about this. (You can read more about it here. It's a poorly written article but you'll get the gist of the hornet's nest.) We joined the masses in standing ovation-ing and encoring the heck out of every song. It was awesome. I've never seen so much support for an orchestra before. Long live CSO!


Although we'd been in possession of the tickets for only a fraction of the time we'd had the ones for Yo-Yo Ma, my sister and I had been every day in delirious anticipation for the Flight of the Conchords, which, as you can read in my previous blog post, was a result of Divine intervention. Our shirts turned out exactly the way I'd envisioned them, which is more proof of the inspired nature of the event. I'm not an artist by any means and have never done caricatures before but I was able to whip up the pictures in no time Friday morning.

Bret and Jemaine were as adorable as can be sitting up there on the stage with their guitars and other assorted electronic instrumentalia. They charmed us with all of our favorite songs and included three new ones which I look forward to seeing on their show next season. They specialize in parodies and comedic banter, but I'm here to tell you that they are way talented as musicians as well. At the beginning of the show, their harmonies were right on and they had some awesome guitar licks not featured on their TV series. Granted, they started slipping near the end but they were noteably exhausted; seriously, they'd been playing for 2 hours straight with no intermission. And Bret did an impromptu mad dash through the crowd on the main floor, even in his (probably) worn out state, to the delight of the audience. We were only about 5 rows away from him... I could almost smell his delectable sweat. So we didn't get to go up on stage like in my dream. But I still feel like I have a more intimate relationship with those boys now. Or men. Yes, technically, they are.


On a more sobering note (although the other two events are already plenty sobering), I got home from the Conchords concert late Friday night only to wake up at 6am for a more charitable cause. Race for the Cure is an annual event in downtown Columbus but this was the first year I actually considered running it, for some reason. Again, I was not expecting to be so awed. About 40,000 people showed up this year and at $25 a person, that's a heck of a lot of money raised. I'd never run a 5k before and had not done any running for years, so I knew I was going to be pathetic running it cold turkey like that. But how can I say "no" to a cause like breast cancer research? It was packed tight with people as far as the eye can see, and even when the race began, at first we could only inch along. I decided to run with my dad (who has been working out) and was only able to keep up with him for the first mile or so. However, I probably wouldn't have been able to run even a mile straight if it hadn't been for the crowds of people and live bands lining the streets, cheering us on. Talk about encouragement! And not to mention I could see the backs of all the people running in front of me, where they had pinned on the names of loved ones and victims of breast cancer. As a sea of flapping pink paper bounced in front of me with names like "mom" and "grandma" and "my teacher," I couldn't help but get a little teary-eyed as I ran and fought a little harder to keep running. The last stretch of road was lined with Harley Davidson bikers, revving their engines and giving high fives. As I snailed across the finish lines with all the other tightly-packed people, the air was rich with endorphins and good feelings all around. It was incredible to see so many people of all different backgrounds united in a cause like this. Waking up at 6am for it? Definitely worth it.

Overall, you could say that I am significantly prouder of Columbus right now.


Michael Powers said...

You live a charmed life Sayaka. Yo Yo Ma is my favorite (I've seen him play live before too), and the Flight of the Conchords is my undisputed favorite show. Running....not a huge fan, but I've got plenty of breast cancer survivors in my family to know that it was well worth it.

Ranteumptom said...

I hate to nitpick (who am I kidding, I love nitpicking) but they only played 2 new songs. I'm not sure what you thought the third one was, but they recorded Angels and Jenny before they made the TV series. Haha, out snobbed you.

peetie said...

Delectable sweat? My whole theory on women just got blown out of the water.

Sayaka said...

chris, you're a jerk. angels was new to me, ok.