Sunday, September 25, 2011

Saluting My Sex at the Copacabana

With summer fading fast, I am grabbing on to its last vestiges whenever possible.

I'm enjoying the last of the heirloom tomatoes, still wearing sundresses when the weather allows and tonight going to an outdoor concert (in a sundress).

The Richmond Concert band was giving their Fall performance on the lawn of Agecroft and, amazingly, the forecast was for no rain.

Unlike the other concerts I've been to there, this one was out front under a giant magnolia tree rather than behind the house facing the James.

I set up my chair facing a huge fork in the tree's branches which framed a particularly dramatic patch of sky.

Naturally I had to do a little crowd-watching and in doing so, I noticed that not everyone was there solely for the music.

As the music played, people were reading (newspapers and books), a woman was knitting, one guy had headphones on (a game, perhaps?) and one man made no bones about stretching out on a blanket, taking off his glasses and putting his baseball cap over his face to nap.

The program for the evening was "May I Have the Envelope, Please?" so we were treated to a selection of award-winning music once we got the patriotic stuff out of the way.

I thought it was surprising to see so many older people tapping their feet to "California Dreamin'/Monday, Monday" until we were reminded that those songs are 45 years old.

It was an eclectic program with music from the Tijuana Brass, Henry Mancini, "Titanic," and "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

I'd be curious to know how often the theme from "Dirty Dancing" shows up on the same program as "The Stars and Stripes Forever."

A "Summer of '69 Woodstock" medley of CSNY, Ike and Tina Turner, the Who and  the like got one of the biggest ovations of the night.

No doubt about it, though, the most audience toe-tapping came with Barry Manilow's "Copacabana."

The most moving part of the evening came during "Home of the Brave," a medley of all the armed forces' songs.

Vets of each branch were asked to stand when their song played and only the Coast Guard was not represented in tonight's crowd.

Ages ranged from what looked like a 30ish guy with a baby and a toddler to a much older looking gentleman who lifted himself out of his scooter with great effort.

Vets who were band members participated, too, continuing to play their instruments as they stood for their branch of the service.

But I was most struck by how many women stood up, many of them white-haired and clearly older.

As stirring as it had been to hear music from "West Side Story" and "Romeo and Juliet" outside under a dramatic gray, blue and pink sky, seeing those women stand and represent was every bit as beautiful.

It wasn't what I expected to take away from a little night music.

To quote my college boyfriend Curt whenever I said something enthusiastically pro-female, "Right on Sister Boogie Woman."

Or, in this case, Women.

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