Soul Food

I’m listening to Donny Osmond (yes, really) and Susan Boyle sing, All I Ask of You. Tunes from Phantom of the Opera have been with me since Friday night. It sometimes seems as though I live under a rock. I’ve never seen Phantom, not the movie, the musical, haven’t listened to the soundtrack, nothing. Not sure why, but I haven’t. So, when we took nearly twenty of our McNair scholars to see the performance at the Wharton Center, I was right there along with most who had not seen it either.

Turn my head with talk of summertime.

–from All I Ask of You.

As the “familiar” songs came up throughout the performance (like the one I lead with above), I was *doubly* taken with the music. Seeing a live performance is a gift. Which is why we share it with our scholars. Experiencing artistry and creation like that fills one soul in a way that many of our day-to-day activities just don’t. This is especially the case with this performance of Phantom of the Opera and its dramatic/astonishing theater set, stage props, costumes, 52-piece orchestra and amazing singing.

I didn’t know the chandelier would POP(!) and nearly fall on the crowd (oops: spoiler alert, after the fact). Steps seemed to appear out of nowhere as Christine and the Phantom descend to the boat. Then the boat literally FLOATS across the mist. The lighting effects were spectacular throughout. My personal favorites include acts with the entire cast filling the stage and belting out songs like, Masquerade, in bejeweled costumes and lots of dancing. In short, the evening stayed with me long after the performance ended. And I hope it did my scholars too.


Lots of scholars attending the Phantom performance in Lansing!

One of the things I enjoy most about McNair is that we “tackle the whole person” when working with our students. Attending a live musical performance, like Phantom of the Opera, exposes our students to the arts and culture. It fills them with the beauty of creative expression, and hopefully, “feeds their souls” in ways that will further inspire their own creative efforts in life. It’s not like our students are going to become leads in the next broadway musical (although they could!), but becoming more culturally aware and appreciative is only building a stronger foundation in life for each and every one of them (myself included!).

One of my favorite scenes from the story!