4th of July

So, what did you do for the Fourth of July?

I sang in the choir for the Capitol Fourth celebration.  It was televised on PBS and hosted by Jimmy Smits, and performers included Huey Lewis and the News, Taylor Hicks, Hayley Westenra, Brian Stokes Mitchell, the National Symphony Orchestra, and more.  It was a very cool way to spend the 4th.  The crowds were insane, and the view was gorgeous.  I’m also a music dork, so I loved getting to sit right behind the orchestra as they played the Olympic Fanfare.  And I’m not sure I knew there were words to the 1812 Overture, but I’ve sung them now.  With cannons.

One hilarious moment occurred in the later half of the concert.  Taylor Hicks performed early (I’ve never been a huge American Idol fan and so had never really listened to any of Taylor Hicks’s music, but now I can’t get “Soul Thing” out of my head), and later in the concert, he snuck into the back of the orchestra to take pictures from the stage.  I can’t blame him – it was an incredible view with the Capitol in the background and the crazy number of people on the Capitol Lawn.  But it was just so funny to watch.  It made him seem so normal, like he wasn’t jaded by everything that’s happened to him.  Someone took a picture of him on his camera with the Capitol in the background as well, and he grinned like a little kid.  So funny.

The one thing I was dreading about the evening was the crowds getting home.  Clearly, I live in the right area, because I walked up to Union Station, got right onto a train, and there were maybe three other people standing.  Definitely not the smashed in experience I expected.

I hope that I get the chance to sing in the concert again next year.  It was great to meet so many new people and to get to perform in such a huge event.

23 thoughts on “4th of July

  1. Glad you had a great time! One question though. Did Taylor seem drunk or high to you? He missed half the words on two of the songs, and he seemed to be convulsing around more than usual. Just curious if you noticed it from close-up.

  2. He seemed exactly the same as he had the night before in dress rehearsals in terms of how he was moving. So I’d say no. As for missing words on the songs – I blame the people who kept getting in the way of the teleprompter.

  3. Hicks just seemed into the performance to me. Anytime I’ve seen him on TV he’s been very animated. He was animated on Idol. (I admit I watch it, but have never voted.) Glad to hear that he is still just a regular guy.

    Overall, I thought the program was quite enjoyable. Hope you enjoyed your stint in the choir.

  4. First, testing to see if you’re moderating comments. I hope so. If so, you don’t need to let this post. If not, you may want to start.

    I’m a big Taylor Hicks fan and thank you so much for that little vignette. Nice to know he’s still taking pictures.

    But a word of warning about the volume and content of posts that you may get…look out. Particularly since the first commenter dared say something questioning Taylor’s state of being.

    Soul Thing is pretty catchy, huh? Thank you again for your story and thank you for your response to that first comment. Considering that Soul Thing is the only song he’s got to sing on a regular basis…not too bad.

  5. Sorry, Megan. We have some old AI crazies that comb the internet night and day for Taylors name so they can say something horrible about him. Its diffucult to believe that anyone could be that way about such a nice, normal, and talented man who never has anything bad to say about anybody but it happens. We just have to live with it I guess. Glad you got to see the real Taylor.
    I used to sing in a few small choirs, that would have been a wonderful experience. Enjoyed your blog.

  6. Congrats. I imagine that was indeed a very cool way to spend your 4th.

    I enjoyed the very charming anecdote you shared about Taylor Hicks. And I totally agree that Soul Thing has quite a hook. Just wanted to point out (and maybe you already know) that Soul Thing is not the product of AI and really has nothing to do with that show. It’s a tune Taylor wrote and recorded independently on Under the Radar — one of his two pre-AI albums. Lots of good tunes on UTR and In Your Time. In fact, those early works are scheduled for a major re-release with distribution by Welk / EMI next month.

  7. Megan, loved your comments about Taylor. From all accounts, he really is just a regular guy who loves music and loves entertaining people. It’s nice to see and hear that fame hasn’t changed him from the regular guy he was before he found it. He’s just too cute.

  8. Warning! Sarah/Rick are trolls – just a heads-up for the readers.

    That out of the way, I’d like to echo what a great performer Taylor is. Megan – not sure where you live, but if you’re anywhere near NYC this summer, go se him in Grease on Broadway! He’s getting rave reviews and headlines! Thanks again for sharing your 4th of July experiences!

  9. Megan, thanks for the behind the scenes look at the Capitol 4th celebration. I enjoyed reading your account…you lucky girl!

  10. Yep, Sandy, that’s just the event I was talking about! I was too concerned about getting yelled at by the stage managers to pull out my camera, but it looks like one of my fellow choir members was much more brave.

  11. Thanks for this look behind the scenes, Megan. I thoroughly enjoyed the show and all the performers who were involved! I watch it every year…

  12. Megan –

    Congratulations on singing at the Capitol Fourth! I can’t even sing in the church choir Christmas concert without a severe case of nerves and cannot imagine even being on that stage with the NSO!

    Loved your mention of Taylor. Have followed him since his Idol audition, and he’s still the same genuinely sweet and humble person he was before anyone knew his name! I don’t think I’ve heard of anyone, who after meeting him, doesn’t become a fan.

    One of the Olympians (Tim Morehouse – fencing) spoke with Taylor on the 4th, and like you, mentioned him on his blog. I just heard he’s become a member at one of Taylor’s fan sites. How cool is that! Thanks again, Megan. Good luck with your singing.

  13. I have a question that does not revolve around Taylor Hicks. Can you estimate the size of the crowd? It did not look very large, but I couldn’t really tell from TV. Thank you.

  14. PS – the estimates I’ve heard place the crowd at over half a million people. It’s really hard to say since I couldn’t even see the entire crowd from my vantage point.

  15. Megan, what is thrill for you to sing in the choir at such a great event. Time would not allow me to travel to DC for the occasion but I sure did give it thought since DC is probably my favorite city in this great USA.

    I have a question: before the event started on tv, the announcer said that the fireworks were going to be laser…they looked real to me, do you know?

    Also, glad you had an encounter with Taylor, he is a wonderful, talented young man.

  16. Laser? We couldn’t really hear the announcements all that well from where we were, but are you sure it wasn’t just “later?” They were absolutely real fireworks.

  17. I love choirs especially with an orchestra.You guys did a great job. How much did you guys have to practice to get ready for this?
    I really enjoyed the whole program. I am a long time Huey Lewis fan and a recent Taylor Hicks fan. I love both their music. I especially like Taylor because of his wide range of musicical tastes which filter into his song writing and song picks. He doesn’t stay in one genre but it is always good and always sung from the heart.
    I really envy you your experience getting a close up look at Taylor and Huey and the georgous Jimmy Smits!! Definately a 4th to remember. LOL

  18. Yes, I am sure I heard the word laser and an explanation that last year several spectators were hurt and sent to the hospital when fireworks exploded into a crowd. Now, she could have been speaking of another celebration somewhere else, or speculating on future events. Like you , I thought they were real.

  19. That was a different celebration that used the laser show. I also heard that people said it was rather lame. I forget where it was right now but not the DC show.

  20. It’s so good to get some behind-the-scenes information about this fantastic show. I watch every year, but I think has to be my favorite–Huey Lewis/Taylor Hicks/Jerry Lee Lewis! Wow! The only way it could have been any better was if they had done a number together. The other performers were great too, as was Jimmy Smits. As usual, the choir and orchestra were excellent–congratulations!!! For those of us who make watching this a yearly tradition, thank you so much!

  21. Megan, how totally COOL for you to be able to participate in this awesome concert! Congrats to you and all who made this a wonderful experience. . .even for all of us who watched only on TV from other parts of the country!

    Huey and Taylor and Jerry. . amazing talent on that stage. . .we were delighted to see the crowd enjoying the music as much as we were!

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