Last year Jason Mraz released a documentary and in it he showed a bit of his time with SPARC and their Live Art show which features kids of all abilities. I thought this was absolutely amazing and said that I wanted to go and check it out one year. Well, this year they asked Hanson to be a part of it so that settled things – I would have to figure out how to get there!
In addition to Hanson and Jason Mraz there were many other talented musicians and hundreds of talented kids in the SPARC program. I ended up taking the train – 8 hours each way – instead of driving – 8 hours each way – because then I would have some WiFi and not have to focus on the road and could just relax. On the way there – the toilets were out of order from just before Washington, DC until we made it to Richmond. (2-3 hours?) On the way home – the WiFi went out pretty early and they weren’t able to reboot it. Fortunately I had loaded up a lot of the reading for my grad school classes when I first got on the train so I had those available to read and also started the back log of some of my old blog posts.
Saturday night we decided to check out the Galaxy Diner and had an amazing chocolate malt and a sandwich. We walked a bit around the area, found a soda & candy shop, checked out an ice cream shop and headed back to the hotel. At 3:30am we got a wake up call from the “gas detection” on the wall – turns out it had a mute button, we pushed it, and went back to sleep not knowing if we’d be killed by gas or what was going on.
The next morning we headed off to a street fair called “Broad Apetit” that took place on Broad street. We ended up getting Philly Cheese steak, Funnel Cake Fries and Fried Oreos. Then it was time to head to the theater for the show.
The program of the show had the setlist for the evening – we were pleasantly surprised that Hanson would be doing 4 songs – and none were MMMBop! And that Jason would also be doing 4 songs. Based on some of the rehearsal footage we saw, it seemed like Hanson would be featured in a few other songs, as well.
It’s hard to really describe the event, but it was absolutely amazing and I am so glad that I made the 16 hours round trip to be able to be there. I Was Born had puppets included with the kids making them dance around and I am not sure I will ever be able to sit through a performance of that song again without puppets. I hope a video of it surfaces (they were recording the whole show professionally and asked that we not record) because it was everything I never knew I needed.
After the show we waited for a bit for Hanson to come out, were told they had no plans to come out and went to get dinner. As we walked back up from dinner a car pulled out “Do you think that’s them?” only to see all the fans walking out of the alley telling us we “just missed them” Figures!!