The City of Dana Point holds their annual summer concert series in a nice park close to a marina. The stage is set up at the bottom of a grassy hill, and the park itself is a natural amphitheater, allowing people to sit on the grass in chairs and blankets and have an unobstructed view of the stage below and the ocean and marina in the distance.
It was August and the weather was so hot while we were unloading our cars and setting up for the show; we started to doubt that we would have enough energy to do a good job when the time came to sing. We had to be careful to keep our instruments in the shade as they quickly became too hot to touch if they spent any time in the blistering sun. By the time we finished our sound check though, a cool breeze thankfully began to blow and the people began arrive.
Before too long, we were surrounded on 3 sides by color! Bright colored beach towels, lawn chairs, big straw hats with colorful hatbands, Hawaiian prints on shirts and summer dresses! It was a feast for the eyes and the soul as the audience prepared for an evening of song and community togetherness. They quickly filled the hill, but left a large area open directly in front of the stage. Gradually, the open area was filled with chaos! Children, of all ages were eager to show off their cartwheels, somersaults, karate moves and dance moves!
The excitement in the air was contagious, so by the time we started the show, we had forgotten about how hot and tired we had been. The very first notes of “Rocky Mountain High” were drowned out by the cheering of the crowd, they were expecting to have a good time and we were not going to let them down! The adults started dancing as soon as they recognized the first few notes leading into “Annie’s Song” and they stayed up and danced throughout the whole show: a group line dance for “Back Home Again” couples arm and arm for “Fly Away” and a total free-for-all for “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.”
All too soon the show was over! The entire audience was standing for an ovation, so we asked if they would like one more song. Of course they would! That’s when a curious thing happened: we usually close the show with a quiet and contemplative song. But the Dana Point crowd would have nothing of the sort! They quickly formed a conga line and for the first time in our musical history (perhaps the first time in any musical history) we watched the audience do the conga during “Poems, Prayers and Promises.” Thank you, City of Dana Point, for these memories!