Tonight I was blissfully happy.
My teenage son, Sunshine, his friend, and I were given free tickets to the Arturo Sandoval Save the Music concert at our beautiful local theater. I could not keep the grin off my face. I sat on the edge of my seat with tears in my eyes watching teenagers, classmates of my son, play in the first ever Arturo Sandoval Institute Allstar Student Jazz Band opening for Arturo Sandoval himself. I was filled with pride and joy as I watched kids I ‘know’ step up and play with skill and heart. One of them even got to sub in with Arturo Sandoval’s band at one point.
As a bonus, the actor Andy Garcia introduced Sandoval and then played bongos in his band. (Yes, he actually plays the bongos, as well as the conga and piano.)
Sunshine had his own fan boy experience watching sax player and band leader Gordon Goodwin play as part of Sandoval’s band.
Arturo Sandoval was wonderful. He’s not only musically talented, but he’s very funny and a great teacher. His banter between songs was priceless. Paying tribute to his mentor, Dizzy Gillespie, in words and music, he explained how Gillespie helped invent Be-Bop when Swing was all the rage. He confessed that growing up in Cuba, music saved his life. It was in 1990,when Sandoval was on tour with Dizzy Gillespie, that he was able to defect to the United States from Cuba.
Not one to take without giving, he has created the Arturo Sandoval Institute to preserve instrumental music education in public schools and universities worldwide. Part of the proceeds from the night go to our city’s arts organization as well as our local school district’s educational foundation.
I find it hard to put in to words just what watching good live music does to me. It’s as if my soul wants to leap out and dance. When I watch kids or teenagers pour their hearts into their music, I can barely contain myself. It is one of the most transcendent things I’ve experienced.
Tonight, I am grateful to my son for asking his band teacher for an extra ticket for his mom. And, once again, I’m grateful for music.