Thursday, July 6, 2017

Micki and Steve pop in for the Pops

“May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” — Peter Marshall, Scottish-American preacher, pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC and twice-appointed Chaplain of the United States Senate

SINCE childhood, Micki Fairchild has been one of Paul's two favorite girl cousins. Micki, Anne Fairchild and Paul — he was sandwiched in between the two of them in age — were all really musical, and they just 'got' each other in a fundamental way. 

And so it was with great delight that we hosted Micki and her equally musical husband Steve Bradburn, who's an operatic tenor and choral director at Estherville High School, for the Des Moines Symphony's 24th annual Yankee Doodle Pops concert.

Staged on the Iowa State Capitol grounds with the majestic, gold-domed edifice in the background, it was a magical evening. The only thing that would have improved our experience was a cool breeze. 

It was the four of us in front row center seats . . . and 100,000 of our closest friends. Des Moines hosts the third-largest Independence Day pops concert in the country, only behind the one held on the National Mall in Washington DC and the Boston Pops concert. 

Once again Turner Center Jazz Orchestra was the opening act for the event and featured vocalist Tina Haas Findlay. Micki, who adores Paul, making her stellar in my book of course, has been an enthusiastic fan of his musical career from the start, and thus was mega-excited to get to see and hear him play in person.

But here's the serendipitous, really cool thing: Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture is Mickie's favorite piece of classical music. When she used to commute from Terril, IA to Estherville for work, she would listen to the 1812 Overture on the way. It happens to be exactly as long as the drive was, and after traversing that route so many, many times, she has gotten into the habit of measuring driving distances by the number 1812s it takes to get somewhere!

I didn't know when we invited her to join us that hearing the Overture performed live and in person has long been on her bucket list. It was glorious kismet.

Micki warned me, "I know I'm gonna cry when they play that piece." She did. 

The 1812 was the grand finale complete with fireworks festooning the night sky and howitzers shaking the ground. Before the big finish, internationally-famous Frank Sinatra tribute singer Steve Lippia performed classic Sinatra standards backed by the symphony. He just might do Sinatra better than Sinatra. Paul has actually played with Steve before, and thinks a lot of him both as a musician and a person.

Below is a little tour of the evening in pictures.

We had — is it linner or dupper when you eat at 4:00 PM — at Court Avenue Brew Pub 
owned by a pal of ours

The crowd that grew to 100,000 began assembling early

Turner Center Jazz Orchestra opened for the Des Moines Symphony

Because we manage Turner Center Jazz Orchestra,
we had front row center seats

Paul takes a solo on This Could Be the Start of Something Big, TCJO's theme song

Tina absolutely burned the house down singing I Will Survive.
Maestro Joe Giunta and Steve Lippia

We were thrilled to provide Micki with a bucket-list experience 

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