Monday, October 28, 2013

The Story Of Autumn Song

Once upon a time, I was working on a committee at church designed specifically to help create sports and recreation activities. Alison Bowers was a brilliant leader. She gave each of us a chance to host a big event. I got to organize an event at Rob and Robyn Larkin's reception center--Le Jardin. My idea of a good time is a relaxing atmosphere where people can be invigorated by good conversation, food, smells, sights, and sounds. I invited a bunch of singers to perform and everyone had a great time!

Fast forward a few months. I had been dreaming of putting on another event at Le Jardin. I was trying to imagine what I could do. I kept coming back to the idea that I should do something more personal. As scary as it was to think about--I really had this desire to put on a solo concert. One day, Rob Larkin came up to me and said, "When are you going to put on another show?" Santa Claus himself could not have made me happier at that moment.

My brain started whizzing with ideas. The first person I contacted was the amazing Ben Mayfield. We chatted briefly, and he immediately agreed to play the piano.

We decided on a date--November 8th. And immediately, I knew the theme needed to be Autumn. 

I have had the opportunity to perform with amazing people--and trust me when I say--I have imagined asking several of my favorite people to perform with me. (And we will perform together again!)  But little by little, the right collaborations for this night arose. I was with Katie Krein Boatman at her wedding reception--talking about the event. In a moment, I knew that I needed to perform with her at the concert. I knew I wanted my dad to perform something. I love his voice and I love watching him perform. I had sung with Lisa Benson in church, and Paul La Marr sang with us in the choir. When Rob Larkin suggested we invite them to sing something--I was hoping they would agree. And they did! And finally, about a month ago, I invited Jim Dale to sing at the concert. He and I played opposite one another in Sweeney Todd two years ago at Midvale Main Street Theatre. Because he was performing in Brigadoon, he said he wasn't going to be able to make it. BUT--Last night, he messaged me and asked if I would be interested in reprising "A Little Priest". I am delighted! Of course, Ben is in Mexico this weekend--so he doesn't know he's going to have to play Sondheim, (a true delight for all accompanists), but he's a total pro! (Sorry Ben!)

But the heart of the concert will be the solos I'm doing. And that's the scary part for me. It's difficult to indulge in your own story. I love playing the part and bringing other people's vulnerabilities to the forefront. But this concert is me. Some of the songs reflect very real experiences I've had and feelings I've felt. And some of the songs are just really fun to sing.  If I get a little teary eyed singing "Sort Of" by Ingrid Michaelson, it's because I am imagining a dying puppy. It has nothing to do with the fact that she wrote that song after spying on me during a really "fun" time. Nothing at all. Dying. Puppies.

I was thinking about how nervous I am going to be building up to it. I've taken certain precautions. One of those precautions is making sure I know everything backwards and forwards. It's just easier on the nerves when you're uber prepared. But it dawned on me yesterday that it would be really relaxing for me to make homemade cookies and brownies for the people coming to the concert. I figure, the whole place is going to be filled with people I love--why not give the people I love a treat to enjoy during the concert!

It's not your average concert. It's better. It is one night only--but it will be a magical night. Imagine a starlit evening. The smell of blossoms around you. Lush greenery at the tail end of Autumn. The brilliant piano arrangements of Ben Mayfield. Dedicated singers. And you. Eating a homemade cookie.

The details:

When: Friday, November 8th, 7:30pm
Where: Le Jardin, 1910 E 10600 S, Sandy, Utah. (Specifically, in the Chateau)
Who: Paul "Cactus Jack" La Marr, Lisa Benson, Katie Krein Boatman, John C. Speer, Jim Dale, Eve Speer, and Ben Mayfield
How do you get tickets?
You can purchase them at the door for $7. We'll have one of those handy dandy card readers to take credit card payments if you're like me and always forget cash.
OR--to make life easier--If you send me an email at and tell me how many tickets you'd like--I'll send you a paypal invoice for tickets at a special $5 rate. This way, you don't have to worry about it that night.

I can't wait to see everyone there!

And because I like pictures, here are the people you'll hear perform!

Eve Speer
 Katie Krein Boatman

 Lisa Benson and Paul "Cactus Jack" La Marr

 Ben Mayfield

 John C. Speer

Jim Dale

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