Friday, September 7, 2007

a great and generous man...

I received an email from a colleague JC, the conductor of a local boys' choir, late last night. I thought that this story was the most touching tribute I had read all day.

Pavarotti was a great advocate of music education, and often invited a youth arts organization to open for him at his performances. In 1985, he was in Seattle, performing at Key Arena, and the boychoir was given this honor. JC had heard that Pavarotti's favorite song was Vittoria, mio core!, and though it wasn't part of the boys' performance set, he wrote a 3-part arrangement and had the boys learn it, in case they had an opportunity to sing it at the sound check for him. They didn't. Backstage after the concert, they met one of his assistants, who said that Mr. Pavarotti was sorry only to have heard their last song. On a whim, they gathered outside his dressing room and sang the arrangement of Vittoria. At some point, JC noticed that the boys had stopped watching him, and he knew that Mr. Pavarotti had come out of his dressing room. Pavarotti had everyone backstage be quiet for the rest of the song while he stood and listened, and at the end he praised them and thanked them several times before returning to his dressing room.

A moment later, his assistant came out and said that Mr. Pavarotti would like to meet the boys. Over the next hour, he had them come in to his dressing room in small groups, with their parents, spoke with each of them, and posed for pictures with them. JC said it right at the end of his email: "This was the act of a great and generous man!" Indeed.

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