So, today was kind of a dream come true for me. There's a composer I like named Jason Robert Brown. I have known about his music for about 20 years now. He's written my favorite musical and everything I've ever read about him/heard from him (both music and his personal thoughts) has something I've enjoyed. In addition to this, about 15 years ago, I asked him to help my choir at school by donating something to raffle. He asked if he could personally donate instead. Then he was extremely generous. I was just happy that he had taken the minute and a half to answer me, never mind to help a stranger. Honestly, I could go on for pages about things I respect about him.
Well, last night he did a concert in Massachusetts and Matt insisted that I go. This was kind of a "bucket list" type dream of mine, so when Matt encouraged me, I didn't take much convincing. The concert was in a small theater and I splurged a little for tickets that were way closer than I would normally consider. Ironically, they were less expensive than what I would normally pay for some of the cheapest tickets for a musical in Boston. The concert was about 3 hours away so Matt suggested I stay there for the night. Since Tim is a musical theatre nerd too, and I didn't want to be alone, I invited him along.
I was looking forward to this day since the day I ordered the tickets. I dropped David at the parks program and then Tim and I headed out. It was about a three hour drive. The area we stayed was really beautiful, right down the street from The Appalachian Trail. We rented a room on AirBnB.
On the side that I took the pictures from there was a nice sliding door and a wraparound porch. We were also to use the backyard, which was gorgeous. It had a tree house, a little sitting area and a hanging swing. The owner had a beautiful garden where she grew peas, broccoli, garlic, flowers, etc. If Tim wasn't with me, I would've sat outside and read for hours. This place was perfect for us to have a quick stay in.
Because I was overly excited, we left super early to explore, eat dinner and get to the concert. I wasn't sure if I would actually meet JRB, but I had always wanted to thank him- in a personal way- for helping me as a young teacher. I asked Matt if he would be willing to make a candy basket for him as a gift. He put together a basket with 2 types of fudge, a caramel pop, pecan patties, etc. It was awesome. In true Jen fashion, I wrote a quick note explaining who I was (We've connected a few times online.) and saying thanks. I dropped it at the theater 3 hours before the show in hopes that he would actually get it.
Then Tim and I walked around picturesque Pittsfield- which was not picturesque at all. It was pretty run down and a little scary. Actually, to be fair- there were some beautiful churches along the main street. Many of the stores were closed at the times we were walking around. There were many people who seemed to be mentally ill or possibly addicted to something that were walking around. (People walking around yelling at nobody or talking to themselves, people pushing carts that look like they held all of their possessions, some people that look like they've been through a lot of tough times.) In addition to this, when we were eating dinner we saw "Breaking News" that someone had escaped from jail and was evading police in the same city. Eeek. Even JRB commented (in a not so subtle way) that the city was a bit sketchy.When I think of the Berskhires, this is not what I pictured. We did find a yummy Mexican restaurant, called Titos. It was delicious. Tim had 2 burritos, beans and rice. I had Pollo Feliz. It was chicken in some cheese sauce with spinach, Spanish mushrooms, onions and peppers. It was so good. I liked the decor there too.
After dinner, we walked around town and tried not to get mugged. Ha ha. Just kidding, sort of. I noticed that I got a missed call from the theater. Wondering that was about, I called them back only to learn that the tickets I bought were considered VIP tickets (AKA- expensive ones.. lol) and included a meet and greet reception with JRB. My heart skipped a couple of beats while I thought, "Well, at least now I don't have to awkwardly come up with a way to greet him if I run into him." I really feel bad for well-known/famous people who have to live with people wanting to talk to, photograph, or record them whenever they're recognized. I have never had a desire for that in my own life. Anyway, we got back to the theater and learned that Row A was removed because the theatre company there was performing Into the Woods and had a stage extension. This was our view. I'm not zoomed in. Ah!!! So close. He had his band with him. It was him, his drummer, a bass guitarist, guitar and fiddle.
This concert was the quickest, most musical 1.5 hours of my life. I LOVED every second of it. These guys are all legit musicians. It was nice to show Tim a group of musicians who perform sounding EXACTLY how they do in recordings, if not better. He was especially wowed by the fiddle player. I could not wipe the smile off my face the entire time. In addition to the music being awesome, JRB seems to be exactly what I thought he'd be like. He has a great sense of humor. He's super intelligent and is a real family guy. (His wife is also a composer by the way.) This was us after the concert and before feeling all panicky about being able to say hello. We actually talked to the guitar player behind us and then to the fiddler. They're also really nice guys.
The reception was a meeting with champagne and some appetizers. I don't drink and didn't really fit in this crowd either, who I guess might be used to being the "VIP- I get this because I have enough to buy it" type. So, I patiently waited for the vultures to step away from the food and then away from JRB. When Tim said hello, he asked if he had gotten the basket and JRB said that he and the band really enjoyed devouring it before the show. We chatted for a few minutes and I asked Tim to take a pic. Last week, I mentioned that Tim had seen a picture of his dog and fell in love. He mentioned that his dog was downstairs and offered to let Tim meet him if we were willing to stick around for a few.
Not wanting to hog his time, I thanked him again and stepped to the side. Then I looked at the picture. Dang. I was really hoping to have a nice picture with him. Oh well, right? I look nice in this one, even though I'm blurry. Can you feel my joy radiating from me? (I think you could fairly call me a fangirl here, even though it's a total respect thing.)
True to his word, he signaled to Tim and I and asked if we wanted to say hello to Miles. While I was there I asked if I could get another pic since the first one was blurry. I think I actually like this one better.
This was seriously one of the happiest days of my life.