Tony Vacca and the Joys of an Evening Concert

A few weeks ago, we won tickets to the Tony Vacca show. I am embarrassed to admit that we only went because we won tickets. Here are the reasons we should have gone and paid our own way.
1. It’s a benefit for our church which burned down in 2010, see here for more about that.
2. I actually did the radio ad for the show, encouraging folks to come.
3. It was down the street from us
4. We purport to be a musical family who claim to have open minds about all sorts of music
5. Tony Vacca is a friend of friends of mine.

Here is the reason we weren’t planning to go until we got the call saying we won tickets:
1. We are always exhausted. It was a Friday. Do you really need to know more?

But once we’d decided–and isn’t it so much more fun to go to a concert when it’s all spur-of-the-moment and not some big TO DO blotting out the first half of the weekend on your calendar?–we were all enthusiasm. Lila dressed up in a feather boa. She made me dress up, too. Johnny wore socks. We drove the one mile down to the Helen Hills Hills Church (that’s actually its name, non-local readers) and proceeded to drive about half a mile back towards home in order to park the car. The air was crisp. We were out at night! We are never out at night! Especially with the kids. We entered the church–and immediately out of remorse made a donation for the price of one ticket (kids were free). Lila and Johnny insisted on sitting way up in the balcony, which turned out to be a wise move, but I didn’t know that at the time and argued with them.

Tony Vacca is larger than life, and so is his stage set up. Along the back hung a set of gongs of different sizes. There were several African marimbas and some hand drums. On his ankles he wore something that sounded like garlands of seashells–they made a pleasantly scrunching sound. He began to play the marimba with his hands while working a kick drum with his feet–the effect of which was enhanced by the ankle garlands–and I felt as though Bacchus had entered the room. I had Johnny on my lap, and the moment those rhythms started going, he came to life. And so did I. I bounced him around, up and down, side to side, on my knees while he did a kind of 3 year old lap dance, throwing his arms and legs up and down like a manic (though rhythmic) rag doll. I had to hold tight to him as I feared in our passion he might go flying off the balcony, and I with him. Lila meanwhile held her ears and put her head in her father’s coat.(It was good that we were in the balcony because even there the noise was deafening–to Lila. Johnny was right there with it.)

We didn’t last more than forty minutes, but that was OK. It was after 8 o’clock and past bedtime. But as we walked the half-mile back to our car to drive the last half-mile home, we had some Bacchus in our step. The moon was a crescent, and I had the sense that this was just the beginning of many family concerts we’d attend.

About nields

musician, writer, mom
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