One More Song
I remember every detail of that night. It was uncharacteristically warm for New Year’s Eve, but after you’re outside for 8 hours sitting through stage prep, mic checks, and dry runs (not to mention all the bands that came before us once the gig started), you can’t help but be chilled to the core. Once the band got up on that stage though, everything changed.
I remember sitting behind the stage waiting to hear my cue to go on, and everything just kind of went quiet. My body started to warm up, the butterflies that were using my stomach as their own personal dance floor were subsiding, and I couldn’t even hear the crowd buzzing with anticipation for midnight. No, I was in “the zone.” As I stared off into nothing, this surreal sense of calm washed over me. They say your life flashes before your eyes during a traumatic experience - the same can be said before a huge gig. It was almost like everything that had come before had been culminating to this moment. All the good, and the bad, this was the payoff. Even before we started I knew, this felt different than other gigs. This was going to be a special night…
As we speak, there is a revolution going on in the Summit City. This revolution has been happening right under our noses, whether you realize it or not. It’s a movement that’s been happening longer than downtown revitalization, before anyone ever thought of riverfront development. In fact, it’s what brought people back to the heart of the city and what is leading it into an exciting future. I am speaking, of course, about the resurgence of art and music culture. Fort Wayne is becoming not just a regional destination for the arts, but we’re becoming nationally renowned. With places like Sweetwater and the arts campus downtown, it’s easy to see why we are thriving in culture. Yet somehow, there are many people out there who still say there’s “nothing to do” in this city. To that I say, “You have been looking with your eyes closed, my friend.”
Speaking just on music alone, there’s something to be heard every weekend of the year. You can check out the most soulful jazz music at Club Soda, get tickets to experience the world-class musicians of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, or see the latest and greatest at the Middle Waves music festival. With the soon-to-be-opened, remodeled Clyde Theater, along with the Embassy and Foellinger Theaters, some of the biggest acts are being brought in for exciting new concerts. Yet, if you’re looking for something smaller and quaint, check out the Friendly Fox for the latest acoustic set from your favorite local artist as you relax at a café table and unwind with their latest confectionery delight.
Do yourself a favor and go see any and every play or musical possible put on by the Civic Theater. The talent level of these fine actors will bring you to tears. Take in one show by the Fort Wayne Youth Theater, and you’ll see why we are poised to be a powerhouse in the arts for years to come. One of my favorites to experience personally is Buskerfest, the night where downtown Fort Wayne comes alive with all different types of street performers. From human statues and tightrope walkers, to acrobats and fire breathers, and everything in between. This event is eclectic, fascinating, and sometimes even bordering on the macabre. All these things to do, and I haven’t even mentioned the Art Museum, Fort Wayne Dance Collective, or the Fort Wayne Ballet.
With the Sweetwater Academy, School of Rock (where a certain blogger/singer/advocate/all around swell fella works), along with all the other institutions and organizations that I’m failing to mention by name, we are assuring that the arts will continue to thrive and flourish here. We owe it to this city and to the future generations to make this place as beautiful as possible. It is my opinion that beauty comes not just from infrastructure improvements, gorgeous new parks, or revitalization of blighted areas, but also from hearing and seeing art that evokes pure bliss from the heart. We have had that pure bliss in this city for the past 15 years - all you have to do is open your eyes and ears to find it.
The time has come. I hear my name and I step out in front of all those people. The air is electric, and I feed off it. This, THIS is what I live for. This feeling, this rush, it’s all that matters right now. No anxiety, no nervousness, just me, the music, and over 5,000 of my closest friends. The music starts, and something takes over. It’s like I’m witnessing this all out-of-body, and it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. The intricate weave of music and word, the give-and-take of instrument and voice, 0ne playing off the other in something so melodic, you would’ve thought you could see the music dance right in front of your very eyes.
A flawless performance from the band, I’m pretty good too, and the crowd erupts. Never in my life have I experienced a crowd so big, a venue so grand, a feeling so exhilarating. This is what I live for, what I wish everyone could experience. The feeling of the best kind of revolution, and one I feel so proud and honored to be right in the middle of.