December 31, 2007

Libera Members: Spring 2007

From Korea Pamphlet

December 27, 2007

Liblog: Kennedy Awards

Our first visit to the USA was always going to be exciting – but little did we imagine just how exciting it would turn out to be.

We flew to Washington on Thursday 29th November for a short visit that was to include an appearance at the world famous Kennedy Awards, where we were to be the finale in the ceremony as a surprise tribute to Brian Wilson – founder and songwriter for the Beachboys. More about the event itself shortly, but first some local colour…..

Soon after we arrived in Washington we headed off to explore the local area, and we realised that we were staying in the equivalent of Kings Road/Chelsea of Washington. The area was mainly packed with fancy clothes and furnishing shops! However, we found ourselves a 'Barnes & Noble' - similar to Waterstones, but also with DVDs CDs and most importantly an inbuilt Starbucks! Here we were proud to find a host of Libera CDs, including the most recent live CD on it's own little presentation stand.

Some of us bought things here, but the find of the day was a book of towel folding! This is a kind of American origami, but with towels. Cool.

We moved back to the rehearsal venue ready for a run on stage but unfortunately there had been a problem with some scenery and the sprinkler system so rehearsals for the rest of the day were re-located elsewhere whilst the production team sorted out the problems! We rehearsed with the house band which had within it 3 members of the Blues Brothers band, one of whom (Lou Marini) came over and introduced himself. After the rehearsal we went out to a local restaurant for an authentic American meal. There is only one thing to say about meals in the USA.


On the day of the ceremony we were called a little earlier at the hall to have our run through on stage, and it turned out we were all to be on radio mikes, something we hadn't anticipated, since usually we bring our special pouches to hold the transmitter pack under our robes. However some quick thinking saved the day as we commandeered all the waistbands from the complementary dressing gowns in the rooms!

Back to the hotel for some food before the event whilst the secret service spent 2 hours sweeping the entire building with sniffer dogs because, amazingly, the President was going to attend the awards. Security was really tight, we even had to go through metal detectors to get on stage and we all had name badges with our names and the big word 'TALENT'!

Since we were the last group to perform we got to watch the Steve Martin and Diana Ross tributes on CCTV before the interval when we had to get ready for our item. Even though everywhere we looked there were really famous people, and celebrities and even the President, the atmosphere backstage was quite calm. We did feel a bit sorry for the announcer who announced the act before us 'Hootie and the Blowfish' as 'Hootie and the Goldfish'!!

Josh introduced our item with a few words and then we sung an arrangement of Love and Mercy. During our item we heard that Diana Ross was moved to tears, and during our last chorus, because we were singing in honour of the Beach Boys, hundreds of helium filled beach balls floating from the ceiling.

After the show we were congratulated by everyone we met. We moved onto the fancy dinner dance in the foyer, which was one of the most glamorous events we have ever seen. 165 tables each with 15 people on being served top notch food / wine etc.

Here the room was packed with celebrities of every shape and size. It was quite something. Wherever we went there was a wave of applause and lots of glamorous looking people had their pictures taken with us. We got lots of autographs including Steve Martin and Brian Wilson.

The day after the event we did some tourist things – including heading round book, music, electronics shops etc. to make sure everyone managed to get something if they wanted to – and we went to the biggest sweetshop we have ever seen. We had our photo taken in front of the Whitehouse and we finished off by visiting the Arlington cemetery.

We came home soon after that (we are starting to get used to long haul flights in cramped airplanes) to go back to school.

The Ceremony was recorded for TV and shown on Boxing Day across the USA.

December 26, 2007

Love and Mercy

Date: December 26, 2007
Note: From Kennedy Center Honors for Brian Wilson.

December 25, 2007