Rockapella Holiday Day 2
Sunday, December 4, 2011 7:30 pm
Show 2 -- New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Prudential Hall
Dinner was tasty, although the guy gave us way too many forks, considering that two of the orders were for sandwiches. The fries were good, though. I had a couple of Wendy's, since I had only ordered crab rolls, which had no rice and had mostly crab. Now happy and fed, we did our little touch-ups and walked across the street to the theater. Yes, it was across the street. Coolness. I didn't see any CDs being sold in the lobby; rather, there were other things being sold, like hats and stuff. No, none of the stuff was related to Rockapella or even the Pops. It was like a little upscale outdoor market indoors. I know that makes no sense. We got free media player holders, and my phone fits into it, so maybe I'll actually use it if I remember that it's there. Wendy needed to stop and apply lipstick. I don't know why this wasn't done back in the hotel, maybe we were in a rush. KP made a comment about applying it in the lobby, and I said she didn't understand because she doesn't wear makeup. As I was saying this, I noticed that KP was wearing makeup. OK, shut up, Sher. Idiot.
Pretty lips were at the ready, and we made our way to our seats. Wendy had scored us awesome seats for this show. She was in the front row, and we were right behind her, in the center section. There was an empty seat next to me, on the aisle. Somebody's missing out on a great show! The guy seated next to Wendy was festively wearing a Santa hat, and he was quite friendly and talkative. The theatre is absolutely gorgeous. Here is a link to a virtual tour of the theatre (it uses Quicktime).
|Even the ceiling is beautiful|
A Christmas Festival
Are there actual sleigh bells back there in the orchestra, or is it Jeff Thacher? :)
I Wonder As I Wander
So now that we're so close to the stage, I kept watching Kathryn Skemp Moran breathe. I'm always in awe of great singers, but she looked like she was about 5-6 months pregnant, and I wondered if it was her baby kicking or her breath that was making the little movements while she sang. Do you know how hard it is to breathe when your diaphragm is pushed up against your ribs? She amazed me. She also looks like a cute soprano friend of mine, and I kept picturing her up there with the orchestra.
Trois pour Noel
Suite from The Nutcracker
I forgot to mention that for this performance, we brought Scotcherbreadman, GingerGeorge and ThacherFredman with us. Scotcher was not content to stay inside a purse, and sat with me in my seat. But for this piece, he couldn't help but get up and dance, especially during Waltz of the Flowers. I was having so much fun letting him dance that I had kind of forgotten that I was in a theatre filled with people whom could probably see me from their seats. It totally reminded me of the Seinfeld episode "The Pez Dispenser" when I helped Scotcher applaud at the end. I've lost my ever-loving mind. A week or so later, Rockapella posted a video of themselves backstage during the show. Well, lo and behold, they dance during that little trilly part, too! Seriously, how are they not the perfect group for me to love?
Keith Lockhart said that Rockapella has been making its own orchestra for almost 25 years now, and their CD is "available by miraculous holiday coincidence in this very venue." Then they appeared in their same suits, but with silver shirts for this show, instead of the white. Steve is the only one who wears a vest with his suit. He looks dapper!
I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day
Scott's bowtineer is really, really tiny. Karla says that they're "Scott size". I love how we talk about how small he is, and Wendy's probably the same size. Geo smiled at Wendy and me. :)
They did their roll-up to Zip, and Scott said, "We said we will never sing with instruments..."
The Little Drummer Boy (Carol of the Drums)
Ooh, there's a little vocal percussion line at the end of that. Got smiles from Steve and Geo. I'm really digging the orchestral arrangement of this piece, with the Pellaness. I can't gush enough about it. It's frickin' amazing.
O Little Town of Bethlehem
Geo smiled at Wendy. He also smiled at me, but mostly at Wendy. I like the breaths that they take during the all a cappella verse (How silently...). I also like watching Scott watch the orchestra play his music. I just love seeing that proud smile on his face.
Angels We Have Heard On High
Wendy is very happy. :)
So the person that had the seat next to mine never showed up. I said to the gals that it better mean that at least one Pella member would come over and sit there during the sing-along. While Wendy was chatting with us, she sat in the seat and some dude came up to her, talking about having the actual souvenir from sitting in the seat. We told him that her seat was right in the front, and she was only there for intermission. I don't know if he was being sarcastic or not, but still, nobody sat there. The guy that had the seat next to Wendy kindly took pictures of us. The one on my camera didn't turn out well enough to post here.
I thought of my friend Jen. She says that it's not Christmas until she hears this song. Lockhart said, "It's ours, but we enjoy sharing it with the rest of the world." Indeed, this is their signature song. I'm missed seeing the annual Tuba Christmas with Jen, but she was still excited for me when I told her that I'd be seeing Pella with the Pops instead. Thanks for understanding, Jen!
Scott informed us that the special Christmas lyrics for this song were written by Johnny Mercer, heard by Mel Torme, and written and recorded by Mr. Torme in 1992 with an orchestra conducted by Mr. Keith Lockhart himself. :)
Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
Scott finally saw Wendy and pointed at her. Geo smiled at us. KP and I did the choreography from our seats.
The Christmas Song
A Visit from St. Nicholas
I don't think that Lockhart meant to say "Horsetop" instead of "Housetop", but he did. When he mentioned Santa's "bowl full of jelly", the conductor shook his belly.
Scott smiled at me! Hi, Scott! :)
I kept totally laughing at Geo. Scott slapped John's butt at the start of the break down. During "Yahtzee!", Jeff pointed his microphone at us. When Santa made his appearance, Jeff goofily waved at him. Karla loves that. Me, too.
Must Be Santa
Wait. I thought they sang "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town", but I didn't write that down. Did they not sing it for this show? Or was I laughing too hard at the Rudolph thing that I forgot? Anyway, Lockhart said to Santa, "In a day of random security checks and retinal scans..." and went into his spiel about needing to verify the guy.
A Merry Little Sing-Along
During "Rudolph", Geo sat down next to me. YAY! My wish came true! He had us sing a little bit, mostly me, since the others wouldn't sing. Then, during "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", Jeff came down the aisle and pointed his microphone at KP just in time for the lyric "gay". I don't know what that was about, but it was damn funny. She didn't sing it, by the way. Then he sang "Sherry" and pointed the mic at me for "From now on our troubles will be miles away", and after I sang, he said, "Nice!" Aw, thanks, JT! He never pointed the mic at the guy sitting next to Wendy, which is a shame, because he had a nice voice and was singing a lot.
The Pops did another medley while the guys made their way back to the stage. Nice trumpet solo! Spin that bass!
That was a great show! The guy next to Wendy said that he was glad that they didn't mess up Drummer Boy because he hated the way it was done at the Rockefeller Center show this year, and it made him cry because it was his mom's favorite Christmas song. He said she really would have liked this version. Aw, that's really sweet how much he misses his mom.
Meet and Greet
They had sold out of the Christmas CDs. Grrrrrrrr. Well, I still had something for them to sign, but I really wanted my CD *now*. So I had to resort to ordering it online. One of the ushers that was handling the M&G line kept saying that the guys looked different in the lobby than they did on stage, especially George. She was funny. They even had a little sign for the line, making it all official. I had made a photo collage Christmas card for all of the guys, and had a copy for myself for them to sign.
When Steve saw us, he said, "Hi, California!" I asked him how his birthday was, and he talked about riding his motorcycle and just chilling out with his brother, whom had cooked dinner for him. It must have been nice for him to be home. Karla thanked him for making it worth the trip, and he was grateful. Wendy gave him a birthday card from us and he said thank you. He said he'd see us in Napa. How nice of him to remember that we are dedicated Napa-Pella-holics. He laughed at the picture of him wearing his cape, and pointed at our picture together. :)
Jeff asked if all of the pictures in the collage were from the cruise, so I pointed out the ones that weren't. He mainly concentrated on the one of us together. He called Wendy "Darling" and thanked her for his birthday card. Wendy told us later that she thinks he still doesn't know her name because he called her "Darling". Later, on the plane ride home, I realized that maybe he *does* know her name! Wendy Darling is Peter Pan's friend! Maybe that's his nickname for her! KP and I talked to him about the car service that he had recommended to us, and he said that it was lame of our driver not to know that there were two theaters with the same name if he lived in the area. He asked who the guy was that was sitting next to Wendy, because he was so animated. I'm telling you, he should have let him sing a little with the microphone! KP said Happy Birthday to him, and he said that he doesn't count birthdays anymore, as he is still 29. He asked if we were going to Napa. Perhaps he should have asked Steve.
George had just recently announced that he had been selected to be the Grinch for a new Boston Pops live Christmas recording. We congratulated him and he talked about making the deal and that he can die afterward because he'll have sung with the Boston Pops. I told him that there was at least one person that would be unhappy about that, since there still needed to be a wedding. He agreed, and said he could die after that. I was hoping that he'd bring his lovely fiance to Napa, but he said that it might not happen because they were still going to Wyoming first. I told him that we had been watching "Drumline" while we were getting ready today, and Wendy had told me that one of the featured bands was from George's alma mater, Morris Brown college. He talked about being in Atlanta for a show and they were having a reunion, so he attended with Steve as his +1. Steve was met with hugs by people that he had never met. I'd hug him, too! George talked about his daughter, and her education, jokingly saying that she didn't need algebra, knowing that KP was standing right there.
I saw Fred briefly to give him his card. He said that he had to run and get George's clothes or he wouldn't have any. I replied, "He doesn't need to wear clothes."
John and I talked about the picture of him and his wife Christina on his card. He said that I sent it to him. I don't think I did, but I did tag him on Facebook, so maybe that's what he was thinking about. She'll be coming to Napa, and I look forward to seeing her again.
Scott saw the different envelopes on the table. He said, "This one says CSL4, so this is mine." He signed all of Karla's stuff "To Karla", "for posterity". So cute. After he signed my card, I kneeled beside him to talk to him a little bit more. He thought that I was trying to hug him, so he hugged me. Okay, I'm not going to correct him! :) I told him that I absolutely loved his arrangement of Drummer Boy. He said that the Middle Eastern influence in the orchestra was mostly done by the other arranger (Pat Hollenbeck). Scott mostly did the drums. He's just incredible. I asked him about his shirt, which had a big drawing of a shrimp on it. He said that he got it from Japan, and tried to find the tag for us to read it. He said that they had been asked to sing with the Pasadena Pops. My eyes widened. He said that the schedule didn't work out this time, but they're still working on it. Yay! Party at Sherry's!
We waited to take pictures with the guys, and when it seemed to be my turn, JT yelled, "SHERRY!" so I went on up there. JT was loving on my sweater, remarking on its softness. John or someone asked if it was cashmere as they all oohed and aahed. I replied, "I don't know, just keep touching me." So he did, and my happiness is quite obvious in this picture, yes?
|Merry Christmas to Me!|
Karla told Scott that there was one special thing she would miss about not seeing a regular Rockapella Holiday Show, and asked him to say, "Merry Christmas, Everybody," as he does at the end of each show. He did. We expressed our happiness. He laughed.
We said our final goodbyes for the year, and took pictures of the gingerbread men outside. Our fellow Pella fans saw us and remarked on the cuteness. I mean, how can you not think this is cute, even if it's a little crazy?
We were going to try to get something to eat with Jill and Elisa, but Maize had closed for the evening. We were told about a place down the street, but it was a club, and we didn't feel like going clubbing, even for food. So we bid goodbye and ate our snacks in the room, and the gals finished off their french fries from dinner. I looked at the signatures on my card, and saw that Scott had signed his name over Steve's face in the picture of Steve and me. How dare you! Wendy said it was because Scott was jealous of Steve, because that picture of us is too cute. OK, I understand now. ;)
In the morning, we saw the gals at breakfast. The people working there were baking cookies, so we waited for those to be done, and the lady nicely brought some freshly baked ones to our table. I mean, they were still too hot to eat, they were so fresh. They were also yummy. We took the hotel shuttle back to the airport, and were surprised that we were boarding the plane earlier than usual. The flight home was a little turbulent due to the wind, so we held Wendy's hands and Karla advised her to imagine that it was George's voice making all of the rumbling in the sky. I distracted myself on the flight by doing a draft of the blog and writing down this recipe which is more conveniently found on their site: http://www.spiritmag.com/click_this/article/chocolate_almond_bacon_bars/
Thank you for a great time, my Pella Posse! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
I find it quite fitting that the first and last posts of 2011 were about Rockapella, especially in this Rockapella-filled year. :)