After MONTHS of preparation, Oakbrook's music team put on a Beatles concert to collect food for an area food bank and to give people an excuse to go to church. And our 1,250 seat auditorium was SOLD OUT!
From the time the church doors opened at 6pm the building was electric. It seemed that nearly all of the 1,250 people were there early to get their general admission seat. The auditorium doors remained close til 6:30, before which, the walk-ways and huge children's hallway swelled with lines of expectant Beatles fans. No unruly Cincinnati Who fans here; everyone in line with good spirits.
And a splendid diversity; grandparents, parents, teenagers. People who saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show and those who didn't know who Ed Sullivan was. This concert on the heals of another election that seems to leave people divided or embittered, found those same diverse people standing next to each other in line. Smiling.
In a time of election, frightening economy, and a year of $4 a gallon gas, 1,200 people came together, smiled together, sang together. Had FUN together.
That sounds simple, but I don't think we know how much we need to have fun until we realise how long its been since we've tasted it. We all drank of it together last night. And it does the soul good to know that in a packed house, we're all together. Just for tonight. Just for 90 minutes. In our splintered world, we were all on the same page for the night.
This is the power of a concert. No discussion, no topic could align all those people. Talk and topic could only quickly divide us. But the power of a concert and the broad range of Beatles fans somehow sent us all home humming the same tunes.
60-somethings in Buicks. 40-somethings in mini vans. 30-somethings in foreign sedans. 20-somethings in Vibes and Grand-ams, teenagers in whatever mom and dad gave them. All humming Hey Jude, Strawberry Fields, or Good Day Sunshine. That is a phenomenon. And we all shared in it.
And it just could be that part of last night's magical spirit was that nearly everyone on stage, backstage, in the booth, greeting, working the Cafe and parking cars, is trying to stumble their way through what it is to follow Christ. And that before we did our pre-show run thru, we split up and prayed over the auditorium.
We knocked ourselves out for months and long Saturdays so perhaps someone who simply likes the Beatles might come and be curious about what happens in this big room on Sunday mornings at 10 am.
And I guess I have to admit for risk of sounding too noble...for all of us, it was pretty darned fun just to be a part of it.
Mike Wise's concert pictures on FaceBook.
Rehearsal pics 1. Pics 2. Pics 3.