Sunday, May 31, 2009

How I spent my Saturday night

It has been several days now since my mother first let slip that my godfather, Gilbert, who acts as my "agent" of sorts regarding my music and other works and who is an administrator at a renown dance school, was organizing a sort of "very special surprise" for me, over a restaurant breakfast during one of our oh-so-rare mornings spent together. Of course this got me a little excited, as well as a little nervous – especially when she let slip a clue as to it having "something to do with my music". What the heck could Gilbert be planning for me?

Well, safe to say that tonight, I found out. It was definitely one of those events you don't hastily forget, and below is a summarized account in which I will try to keep as brief as I can while still leaving in the juicy details of one of the more unique experiences I've ever lived.

Well anyway, I grew in nervous anticipation until this afternoon at roughly 6:30 when my mother came by to pick me up. It turns out that whatever was to be happening, was to take place at a nearby gigantic college, Lionel-Groulx, which is mostly known for its auditorium/theater hall which is often used to house some of the larger shows around, from amateur dance recitals to professional stand-up comedy shows and everything in between. (Just two years ago I was there attending a comedy show from local insane legend Réal Béland.) You'd think that the clues of the "surprise" being "about my music" and taking place in a school known particularly well across the region for its Performing Arts division, particularly in dancing, would cue me on or something, but apparently, in my nervous-wreck state, it didn't.

And so, we finally met up with Gilbert, who obviously couldn't wait to finally unleash his big "surprise" on me and my mother (all she knew was that it was a surprise revolving my music, and some dancing; she didn't know any more than that, so I suppose my continually pestering her with questions about the nature of the "surprise" during the ride there – and afterwards – truly was rather pointless). It's only then I realized that the dance school Gilbert worked at was this colossus of an institution. Oh, my.

My godfather, who taught dancing at Lionel-Groulx, had prepared a surprise for me that was to be viewed in the auditorium, where dance recitals are routinely held, and which had something to do with my music. And no, ladies and gents, even this plethora of anvil-sized clues didn't hit me over the head hard enough to clue me in as to what was going on.

Upon entering the crowded auditorium (a jam-packed, thousand-strong audience, waiting for a show that had something to do with me and my music? My head started spinning at this point), I snatched one of those timetable pamphlets and rifled through the description of the evening's planned entertainment – and my involvement in it.

It turned out to be a long dance recital with 31 different parts (minus the overture and finale) with different crews dancing to different songs and such. I finally found where I came in all this: act #27, near the end of the show, was to be a duet of professional dancers dancing to one of my best songs, the 'Main Theme' from my The Path to War Soundtrack[1].

A professional duet of dancers, dancing to my song? ... I can't deny I was about as flabbergasted as I was touched.

More specifically: they were to dance as James and Liliane[2], using the "incredible emotion" in the song to incarnate the characters and symbolize their love through dancing to the song.

I'll let you guess my reactions to all this.

And so, the show began. Most of it was okay; some parts (namely the hip-hop routines) I enjoyed less than others (such as some beautiful and sensual romantic or lyrical dancing, and even one particularly hilarious act concerning a rather unruly crew of dancing nuns), and the talents seen ranged from the decidedly amateur (making you wonder if they were even trying) to the refreshingly skilled and talented.

Anyway; more than two hours and four-fifths of the show later, we finally arrived at act #27 – entitled "Pour Joé McKen, jeune compositeur" (ie. "For Joé McKen, young composer). The flute overture softly rang out through the speakers, and what happened next is simultaneously one of most entrancing, and annoying (especially in retrospect), moments I've ever experienced, lasting through the entire song from the flute intro, to the sweeping climax, to the soft and melancholic piano outro.

The applause the song and its accompanying dancing performance raised was nothing short of tumultuous. Much more enthusiastic than even the best of the previous acts; I say this without the slightest bias in my favor, as was also confirmed by my uncle (whose hand I held in a daze during the performance, and who was standing, applauding and yelling in cheering at "his" dancers) and my mother (who once again had been moved to tears by my works, with the help of the two incredibly talented dancers and their reportedly uncommonly soulful dancing).

Unfortunately, getting to what I previously called "unfair-in-retrospect" about the performance, I'll have to wait until sometime in mid-August for the dance recital DVD to be released for me to actually know just how good the dancers are, because to be honest, I saw absolutely none of it. This is one of those cases where the phrase "looking without seeing" can truly be applied with perfection. I was looking towards the stage and had a clear view, but I never saw the dancers or their undoubtedly stellar and resounding performance; I was so lost in the moment, finally hearing my crappy computer-generated music blared out through high-quality speakers in such a huge room with surround sound, loud enough for the floor to resonate somewhat yet clear enough to hear each and every note and tone, that I'd quite simply gotten lost in thought and couldn't see what was going on around me. I was listening to my song ...

I am, of course, seriously kicking myself right now though, especially considering all the praise the dancers got for their brilliant dance routine that had been crafted specifically for me and my song, on my night – and I didn't see a moment of it.

I find it hard to express my frustration. Though that may be because it's getting seriously late and I'm finding it hard to express just about anything with any sort of a varied vocabulary.

Anyway. Mom was getting dehydrated from all the crying, Gilbert was glowing, and I was lost in a reverie until the end of the show. When the dancers finally disappeared off-stage and the crowds finally departed until we were the last ones left on the auditorium floor, Gilbert took us backstage to meet with some of the show's organizers, and the two marvelous dancers who decided that my song was so beautiful, it just had to be danced to. I naturally couldn't admit that I hadn't even seen their performance (which was killing me even then), so I simply smiled, shook their hands and took a group picture with them and Gilbert. Not that my overwhelming shyness allowed me to do much else, anyway.

We also briefly spoke to the Performing Arts division director – you know, the one who greenlit the whole affair after hearing my song and seemingly "falling in love" with it – and while she didn't prove to be the talkative type, she did let slip something about it being "nowhere near over", which I assume she meant regarding my song, the show and the performance, and me. Which did leave us all wondering what she was referring to. So I may have even bigger developments awaiting me down the road?


Anyway, that's pretty much it for the show. We left and snatched a quick bite at Scores (excellent chicken strips), where we talked about the show the whole time; about how Mom was moved by the dancers for their idea to create an entire choreography to my song; about Gilbert being so proud of it all, and giving me a few tips and tricks regarding my music-writing – and about keeping my author's rights; and about how I really didn't know what to say, think or do for a while, so lost in surprise and so touched I was by it all. My godfather had spent over a year secretly working his ass off to pull together a dance routine to my song ... which really is alot more complicated and laborious than that simple sentence makes it sound like, I swear to you.

And then ... I returned home and started blogging again. While planning to write a bit more music before long, of course.

And that is the story of the most exciting night I've had in ... well, probably over two years, easily.

I don't get out much.

[1] The Path to War is a trilogy of novels I've been planning for almost 5 years now. So far I've only got about two-thirds of the first novel planned out – nothing's actually "written" yet. I actually had written a full draft of it a few years back, but started over when I realized it really did show that it had been written by a 14-year-old with no authoring experience.

The "Soundtrack" aspect is simply a "soundtrack" of sorts I'm composing to try and "frame" the novel musically, if that makes any sense to anyone other than me. Ie. if the story were made into a movie, then the score in the Soundtrack would be the score that played during the film. It's really just a hobby project of mine.

* * * * *
[2] James Hania is the main character and protagonist in my novels, a rebel-turned-warrior who devotes his life to fighting the evil Empire, simplistically put. Liliane Duruisseau is, at her simplest definition, his romantic interest.


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