Monday, June 16, 2008

Fathers Day

As yesterday was Fathers Day, I thought I ought to post some of my thoughts and feelings regarding the wonderous day that is all about DAD.

I actually had a very nice day yesterday, except for the fact that I had to get up at 6am to get ready for 8am church. Now that I think about it, though, I believe Melanie allowed me to sleep in until about 6:30 - ostensibly b/c it was Fathers day - but I'm sure it just took me that long to face the eventuality of having to get up and out of bed in time to avoid her ire. However, one cool Dad's Day gift I received was that the twins decided to stay in Nursery at church for the whole time! Yep, they did not cry their way out even once, and that is a moment I will cherish forever. Me thinks they are finally catching on to the fact that a class full of fun songs, tasty snacks, crayons, toys, and generally being loud and crazy is preferable to constantly being shushed by Dad and having to sit "still" through Sunday School and Priesthood classes. They're young yet, but they're catching on.
Mel and the kids splurged and gave me a new iPod for Fathers Day. It's the 80 GB iPod Classic, and it's silver. Very cool toy. I have had a 20 GB iPod Classic for the past 3 years, but it finally zonked out on me a few weeks ago. Some folks can't understand why any one individual would possibly need 80 gigabytes of storage on an iPod, and I agree to an extent (that's why I did not request the 160 GB model), but to tell the truth, I have about 45 GB of music files in my iTunes library, and having to choose which 20 GB I was going to put on my old iPod was very frustrating. The iPod Nano's are so very small and cute, but only 8 GB of space would have driven me mad in very short order. This way I can just put it all on there and not have to worry about it. How so very convenient for me. Collin already asked me if he can have my old one.

So, after church and a nice Fathers Day lunch (brunch was it?), I lay down for a short nap. 4 hours later, I came to and immediately declared that it had been the best Fathers Day ever! Wow, I'm not sure if I even got 4 contiguous hours of sleep during any night last week, so this was a real treat. At one point during my nap, Seth, one of my 20-month-old twins, came into the room, climbed up on the bed, and lay down next to me, softly speaking to me in his cute gibberish and patting my head. Then he abruptly left and I continued in my peaceful slumber. Then, around 2pm, I awoke and thought that maybe I ought to get up and go to choir practice at 2:30, so I lay back down "for just a couple of minutes", and then did not wake up until 4:30. Life is rough sometimes, but you just have to roll with it.

We went to Mel's Aunt Mareen's house for a big family dinner last night. The whole Arizona crew was there, which amounts to about 30 people, counting kids, and there was even a cake, which I initially mistook for a Happy Fathers Day cake, but was really a birthday cake for Melanie's brother, Daniel. Since we already had a Smith family b-day party (with cake) for him last Tuesday, I went ahead and pretended that this was a Fathers Day cake and had 2 pieces.

Needless to say, Mel and the kiddos treated me to a nice, relaxing day, and it certainly did make me feel special, so thank you, guys.

Got to speak with my Dad last night. He turned 70 this year, but doesn't look a day over 60. He and my step-mom, Nan, came out here to celebrate in February, and we had a grand old time.

My brother, Scott, surprised him by showing up unannounced (only I knew he was coming) - that was fun. The last thing Dad wanted was for anyone to make a big deal out of his turning 70, and that's why he came all the way out to Arizona - to escape the certain dread of some sort of big party with black balloons, unexpected attendees, and likely a roast. We spared him the roast and the black balloons, but we still got the surprise visitor in. Mel made a cake...

Come to think of it, maybe she didn't actually make the cake, but she did cut it.

Here's Dad blowing out the candles...

Anyway, I freely admit that I'm a bit biased, but Fathers Day is cool, and Melanie and the kiddos helped to make it really great this year. Sure wish I could have spent it with my Dad, too. Well, here's to next year!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Recap: Music & Arts Festival

Went to the 1st annual Mesa Family Music & Arts Festival this past weekend. Had a lot of fun, even though the crowd was quite small. Mel and I decided to take our two biggest kids along, but we left the twins at home, for what I believe to be obvious reasons. We went to the afternoon concert which featured Jordan Bluth, Eclipse, and Peter Breinholt.

I had never before heard of Jordan Bluth, but he has a very nice voice, although his choice of material doesn't really suit my fancy. It was mostly show tunes, although he did impress me with a beautiful Italian operatic piece from...well, I don't remember. Overall, his voice was quite good, but he didn't really impress me until he hit that one piece, and then he proceeded to lose me again when he returned to the show tunes.

Eclipse was awesome! I have listened to their stuff a lot over the past 3-4 years as my group, MC6, has worked to emulate their sound somewhat, but this was my first time seeing them live, and they blew me away. Very energetic sound and stage presence. MC6 could really take some lessons from those guys, although I can think of for sure 2 if not 3 of our guys, right off the top of my head, that I would not want to see try some of the dancing that Eclipse was doing on stage! They have a very tight sound and really keep the audience on its toes throughout their performance. I was impressed before with their recordings, but now they've really got me.

Peter Breinholt was great as usual. He did not travel with his band, The Big Parade, this time, but instead enlisted a few members of Ryan Shupe and The Rubberband to play with him. He's such a down-to-earth guy and a fantastic performer. Melanie got to speak with him after the show, and told him all about how his 1995 De Jong show was our first date, and he was so excited b/c apparently those early Utah campus shows are what propelled his career to what it is today. He even gave us a free copy of his new CD just for being loyal fans over the years. Cool guy, that Peter Breinholt.

Unfortunately for all involved, the turnout for the festival was anemic at best. For the Eclipse/Peter Breinholt show Melanie counted about 100 people in attendance. I heard the morning and evening shows were about the same. Pretty sad, really, b/c these were good shows. The organizers simply did not promote it very well. I hope they work to bring it back next year, though. It's a great idea and realistically could be very well-attended and self-sustaining in the future, but people need to hear about it for it to be successful. I only knew about it b/c I was performing at it.

So, my group, MC6, performed as well. Mel's cousin, Kelly, has given a ringing endorsement of our show, albeit a bit slanted toward my own part in the show. (Thank you, Kelly. Really, it's very flattering!) We had about as many in attendance as the paid show we went to earlier in the day (ours was free, yes free, as we do not yet rate with the sing-for-hire crowd.) We had a lot of fun, and the audience was great. A number of people I invited actually came as well, so that was cool. We sang a couple of new songs. Peanut Butter & Jelly (thank you Inside Out) and The Lion Sleeps (thanks, N'Sync). Both came off pretty well, so we'll likely keep them in the repertoir.

All-in-all, it was a fun day. I'm sad that more people didn't come out to enjoy the sights and sounds and to rub elbows with their favorite LDS recording artists (they were all very accessible after their shows for meet and greet sessions - very cool gesture), and to support such a great family entertainment opportunity. As I said before, I hope they work to bring it back next year, not only for my own selfish reasons, as I'd like to perform there again, but also for the other performers and for the quality entertainment that it brings to the area.