He’ll say to me: “I see who you truly are…”

11_18_06

I went to see Wicked last night at the Canon Theatre in Toronto.

For years upon years I have been dying to go see a musical. It only seemed natural for me to do so because I’ve always either played an instrument, sung, or – in the case of elementary school – acted in or worked on plays. I also really like the few musical movies I have seen.

But in all of my 21 years, I have never been to a live show. I think it was because I was afraid of loving it so much that I would become addicted and would go on to spend a lot of my money on shows.

I finally gave in and got tickets to see Wicked a little over a month ago. I figured that the all the hype around the show would guarantee a great first live show.

Last night, I was completely blown away by the beautiful sounds of the orchestra and singers, the wonderful costumes, the amazing production and effects of the show, and most of all: the exciting atmosphere.

I am currently struggling to hold myself from purchasing tickets to see The Phantom of the Opera when it returns to Toronto in the New Year. However, I’ve already bought tickets to go see We Will Rock You in March.

This is definitely going to be a problem for the rest of my life! Oh boy…

Just Textbook Stuff

imogen heap massey hall nov 8 2006
On Wednesday night I saw Imogen Heap perform at Massey Hall in Toronto.

I was blown away.

Her two opening acts, Levi Weaver and Kid Beyond were outstanding. They then joined Imogen on stage for a few songs, along with two other musicians, and together they rocked the house.

If you haven’t heard about any of these three artists, let me explain something first. All three artists perform by sampling. They use a sampler and record beats, melodies, harmonies, and various sounds live, then replay those sounds on a loop while they record other sequences and start to layer each sound on top of the other. The end result is a musical composition that was recorded live and features various instruments and sounds that were all performed by that one person.

So, for example, Imogen will sing a line of lyrics and record it. Then while that sequence is played on a loop, she sings it once again but at a different pitch, and then once more again, and she becomes her own chorus singing in harmony.

In all honesty, the only way you can understand is if you see it for yourself. This video was recorded by someone at her performance on Tuesday in Montreal. It isn’t the best, but you can see Kid Beyond beatboxing, and Imogen layering a few sounds – look for when she layers her vocals near the end.

What I loved about Imogen, beyond her talent, was the personality that she conveyed. She handled all the technical difficulties with grace and bits of British humour. Her random mumbling actually came across as charming but that may have to do with myself being a mumbler at times.

Best of all, at certain points she danced and skipped across the stage barefoot, spinning around in her lovely dress, and having the time of her life while she sang. That was just wonderful to witness and brought a huge smile to my face.

Makes me want to go skipping around now myself!

One Community

Last night I went with a friend to a South Asian Networking Gala that was organized by a group at work. There was an interesting line-up of speakers and entertainment, there was good food, and getting the chance to meet and talk to some new people was great.

The highlight of the night was when Rahul Singh came on stage to give a speech. What started out as a light-hearted talk ended up being emotionally moving for an entire audience, and Rahul left the stage to a standing ovation.

Rahul is the founder of DMGF, a non-profit organization that goes around the world to help people who are in need of disaster relief. Immediately after news of a disaster reachers their network, DMGF sends out an emergency response team made of firefighters, EMS personnel, and police officers who travel on their own dime (and using their own vacation time) to the country in need. Once in a disaster location, the team rushes to provide clean water, medical care, and save victims from buildings and homes that have been destroyed. They also try to provide that local community with the skills and supplies needed to continue on after the team leaves.

On top of all of that, the organization tries to send out medical packages and training to third world countries, and teams have gone overseas to help train people to locate and handle mines. DMGF has worked with war relief, hurricane relief, flood relief, earthquake relief, tsunami relief, and more. The team has traveled to Sudan, Indonesia, Philippines, Pakistan, Guatemala, Grenada, Iran, Sri Lanka, Guyana, Cambodia, Nepal, Mexico, Thailand, and most recently: Lebanon.

DMGF tries its hardest to minimize costs and ensure that the majority of the money that is donated goes to aid. This is why no one in that organization gets paid. That money is better spent on helping someone survive.

What really got to me was that these people spend every day of their lives trying to save people in their local community. They work hard to get through cultural and language difficulties to help people. And then, when something disastrous happens around the world, they immediately start to put together a plan of action to help even more people. They take time off from work and using their own money, fly there to help save lives. They must work through some of the most intense conditions but they do it because they know that humans, other humans just like you and me, need that help.

Without their help, so many more people would die. I know there are many organizations out there that do many things to help people around the world, but this story in particular really struck me. When something disastrous happens – whether it be a tsunami or war – knowing that people from around the world actually care and would want to help me, would make me fight even more to get through it. It would give me renewed hope about the world and the people in it.

People like Rahul Singh and his team inspire me so much that I can’t really express it in words.