Sometimes, when a friend asks you to come to a concert or show they are performing in, you grit your teeth. We’ve all sat through boring choir concerts, attempted to dance at battle-of-the-bands in sketchy bars, forced laughs at comedy open-mics, and grimaced through plays that make even the most passionate actor hate theatre. We go to support our friends, we’re happy to do it (even if we hate it).
Then there are times when a friend asks you to come to a show she’s performing in, and you end up part of the audience for a nationally televised show.
Arianne and I have been friends since age 10. Ever since she confided in me that one of her legs was fake and I responded, “No it’s not.” Sometimes, this is how great friendships start. She is one of the most luminescent, bubbly, joyous people I know. As if that weren’t enough, words can’t describe how freaking talented this girl is. Don’t take my word for it, you can watch her conduct her own orchestral arrangement of “Call Me Maybe” which has received over 2.5 million hits on Youtube.
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Arianne has a masters in conducting from Yale and lives in New Haven. Occasionally she has concerts in NYC, which I go to whenever possible.
Most recently I received a vague, but intriguing invitation: “I can’t really give you details, but we’re performing at the Hammerstein Ballroom, in the middle of the day. Uh…we might be on TV. It’s a little crazy, but I know it will be fun!” It was a weekday and thanks to my nonconventional schedule, I had the day off. I thought to myself, “Let’s see what this is all about! And support my friend!”
I show up at 34th Street and it’s a mad scene.
Quickly it becomes obvious that this is a much bigger deal than Arianne let on. I start seeing branding everywhere: AMERICA’S GOT TALENT! This is crazy! The connection is easy to make: I am at the AGT auditions and one of my best friends is competing!
I am alone, all our mutual friends have to work. My name is supposed to be on some list but the lady can’t find it. I don’t even know the name of Arianne’s act! Some how I’m allowed in, thank god because the= line of people trying to get in is huge. I am instructed up to the last row of the upper balcony. Ugh. The view is horrible.
“Oh well,” I think to myself, “At least it’ll be easy if I want to leave after they perform.” I sit in my seat and survey the surroundings. Everyone is buzzing, snapping photos. Heidi Klum comes through the door on my immediate right, escorted by a huge body guard. The buzz and snapping increase exponentially. My camera fails. “Damn,” I think to myself, “No picture, but still, that was cool.”
Taping is soon to commence. An emcee is prepping the crowd. A man and a women dressed in black with headsets come through the door Heidi just walked through, scanning the upper balcony. I ascertain that they are seat fillers, looking for people to fill the crucial seats below. Their eyes fall on me, “Is it just you?” they ask. The next thing I know, I’ve been escorted to the second row of the auditorium; the view could not be more different.
The four America’s Got Talent judges are right in front of me. Way cooler than a Heidi just walking by. Plus I feel pretty: this is a seat where there is a high chance I’ll be caught on camera, and they wouldn’t have placed me here if I didn’t fit the demographic. Arianne’s group is the first one to perform, turns out they are called 3 Penny Chorus and Orchestra.
Arianne leads the group out on the stage. They look so poised and professional, dressed in black. There is a brief introduction and I am grinning. Arianne is stunning and truly shines under the spotlight. I feel like a proud momma and am so glad to be in the audience. Then they play, the same arrangement of “Call Me Maybe” from their Youtube video. They kill it, the audience around me is loving it. When the song concludes, there is rigorous applause during which I scream out, “I LOVE YOU ARIANNE!” I don’t think they caught that on film, alas. The judges love them too!
Indeed, Howie, Mel B, Heidi, and Howard Stern loved 3 Penny Chorus and Orchestra so much, that they put them through to the finals at Radio City Music Hall! They will be performing there LIVE tomorrow (August 13th) night! I get to repeat this experience all over again, except this time it will be even more exciting! I’ve never actually watched the show on TV but I hope you will and look for me in the audience! Most importantly, consider voting for 3 Penny Chorus and Orchestra conducted by my amazing, dear friend.