Friday, October 8, 2010

Over That Rainbow

This past Sunday my sweet hubby, Alex, took part in the debut concert of a young man that we have known for a short while who has biiiiiig dreams to become a professional singer/entertainer. Justin Williams, a local kid, recent high school grad, produced by the Lampkin Music Group, gave his first pro concert at the Palais Royale in Downtown South Bend. The concert was called 'Just Me'.

Now a couple things come to mind for other musicians/thespians/performers when we see a local boy getting such an opportunity. First of all, every single one of us says WHY ISN'T IT ME?? You see, some of us work much harder than others, and still never get an ounce of credit. Justin was scouted. He's taken lead roles in several of our local theater gigs and performs on the amateur level pretty frequently.

Some of us are happy and excited for him. What an exciting opportunity! How amazing! Someone young, local, not a celebrity - yet - not someone related to a celebrity or a contestant on a reality show - no, a genuinely talented young man who was performing actually got seen by a talent scount and music producer! That's great!  But some of us can do nothing but complain about how he never shows up to rehearsals and how big his ego is and what a little jerk he is when he doesn't get what he wants - like a lead role in 'Rent' this past summer? - et cetera, et cetera. Yeah, we performance oriented folks definitely have our issues with each other.

Alex really enjoyed taking part in the performance. I enjoyed seeing him on stage, dressed up so handsomely in concert black, wearing his black fedora as requested by Justin, playing his guitar. My favorite part though, as I knew would be so, was when Justin sang 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' as performed by Israel Ka'amakowiwo'ole (that Polynesian name might have a couple extra letters in there, I can't quite remember and I never pronouce it right, I just call him IZ) who was an 800 pound Hawaiian singer with pipes of a golden god.  Alex accompanied Justin on a ukelele, which he picked up from his dad exactly 7 days prior to the concert. I loved it.

There were a few things that I would have changed. For example, I don't think Justin is more than 19 years old. And when he talked to the audience he had the tone and candor of an old man. In fact, I actually heard him say "it came about in my youth...." and my mother in law, sitting next to me, leaned over and said "In his youth?? He IS in his youth!" Justin - enjoy being young. There will be plenty of time to draw on your past experiences in the future! You sound rediculous talking like you're Frank Sinatra when you're actually little more than Justin Beiber right now. (Notice I said 'more' than J.B. I do NOT condone that particular variety of pop music.) And speaking of Frank Sinatra, I absolutely detest it when people change the words to a song so that it can be personalized to someone. Justin's performance of "My Way" should have been sung as it was written - and not changed to "Don's Way" so that he could dedicate it to his grandfather. My feeling on the matter is that if the song holds meaning the way it is written - dedicate it and perform it AS WRITTEN! Otherwise, write a song to dedicate to your amazing grandfather who taught you so much about music or have a song commissioned. I've been writing a song about my grandfather for 2 months now because he meant so much to me. And I don't have to change any words to any existing pieces of music.

But I digress.

Justin's producer is already talking about the next performance and Justin is already planning on including Alex in the show. I hope this young man has a great future ahead of him and that all the troubles of most young performers in my industry will pass him by. Lord knows, we musical types make some of the WORST choices known to man. Something in our little musician brains. :) Good luck Justin Williams! And thank you for including my husband and I in your debut.

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