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An Experience of a Lifetime

Well y’all, I’ve had quite the weekend! I took my son Austin (17 years old and spoiled) to Austin, TX for the Formula One race. He loves all things car-related and is a veritable encyclopedia of information. I wanted to do something special for him that he would remember fondly the rest of his life. We headed down to Texas on Thursday. F1 festivities started on Friday and concluded Sunday with the race at 2 p.m. Circuit of the Americas or COTA is quite the expansive space and track. We had great bonding time and I definitely learned a lot more about the sport. If you are interested in going, contact me and I’ll give you some travel tips.

Meanwhile, earlier in the week, I won an auction bid to sing “Closer to Fine” on stage with the Indigo Girls in Austin, TX at Stubbs BBQ (restaurant with a 2,500 person amphitheater) Sunday night. I’ve been struggling to put this experience into words. I have been taking guitar lessons from Helen Avakian for a year and a half and have been contemplating an open mic night, but I just haven’t built up my confidence level enough and I keep making excuses why not to do it. I am a Patreon of Emily Saliers and it's been great to support artists, particularly during the pandemic. Amy Ray is the other exceptional half of Indigo Girls.

At one point this year, I had a secret dream of singing on stage with them, but I never told anyone and I certainly didn’t think it would ever come true. When this auction surfaced, I knew it was for a great cause, but I thought maybe it was kismet because I would be in Austin, TX that night. We played a lot of rounds of card games in my family and if there are two things I know: you have to play to win and go big or stay home. I was so happy to win the bid and thought that I would just be singing during the choruses. This song is an anthem and everyone sings along so I thought it was doable and I would have been okay if they didn’t even give me a mic or turn it on. Just being on stage with these women who are legends, icons, amazing artists and human beings, would have been enough for me. Later in the week, the tour manager informed me that I could sing the choruses and I could also do a solo on the final verse. Um, what???!!!! My son, bless his heart, heard me sing this song about 100 times in the days leading up to Sunday.

My son was incredibly gracious and we left the COTA track just before it ended so we wouldn't be stuck for hours in backed-up traffic. We met up with the tour manager and discussed particulars and a meeting time to go on stage. Emily introduced me and I went up on stage to my mic (which was turned on!). The crowd was one that every performer dreams of – present, happy, excited and most of all, supportive. They were all so welcoming and encouraging. I was able to sing the whole song with Amy and Emily and I made it through the final verse! My son recorded it so I’m able to relive it daily and I’m incredibly grateful.

You might be wondering what this means to me? A lot. I have always loved to sing and while I was in choirs and drama club, I never felt my voice was one worth hearing (i.e. I was in charge of lighting in the school musical). On this day, I decided it is worth hearing. Just as I didn’t think I had anything to write that someone would want to read, I now feel my voice can be heard. It’s interesting to note the song choice for this healing as it’s about that. It’s about seeking understanding, being yourself, going for it, as “it’s only life after all."

People talk about heaven and what it might be like – a place where you feel such intense love, light and compassion that you’ll never want to leave. Sunday, I found heaven on earth.

I would encourage you to look up and follow Indigo Girls. Their legacy will live on for generations to come. They make this world a better place.

Make sure to VOTE!

Let’s chat soon.

With affection,

Carrie VS

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