Monday, March 8, 2010

Measure in love

Tonight's benefit concert was incredible.

More than a dozen cast members of the touring company for Phantom of the Opera spent their one night off this week to perform for PFAMily Arts and the Steve Damm Fund (Cooper and Katie's scholarship fund). The evening was organized by the arts center's founder, Bill Park, and our friend and Broadway star David Gaschen.

Cooper, Katie, Jim, Betty and I sat just a couple of feet in front of the stage -- the best seats in the packed house for some seriously powerful performances.

Songs included "The I Love You Song," "Ol' Man River," "Jury Duty Girlfriend," "Beauty and the Beast," "What a Feeling," and "I Don't Know How to Love Him."

Baritone Gregory Emanuel Rahming directed the audience to sing a harmonizing chorus of overlapping amens.

We all clapped with gusto to cheerful Irish tunes.

David told the crowd a little about Steve and what a wonderful man and father he was. Then he sang an emotional "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables -- because Steve is home.

Before the final number, Bill led the audience in a lovely prayer, thanking God for love among families.

And then all the performers lined the stage to sing "Seasons of Love," one of my all-time favorite songs. (Steve and I saw Rent many years ago at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth. In the silence, I can close my eyes and remember just about every detail of that special night out.)

By this time, Katie and Cooper were drooping a bit -- they were up way past bedtime. But that final number roused them. Cooper couldn't stop smiling, and Katie couldn't stop dancing.

I am so thankful that as Cooper and Katie continue to grow, I can remind them of how much their daddy was loved and admired. We have the precious memories of Steve's life, plus we have the memories we continue to create as that love continues, even after Steve's death.

Thank you, Bill, PFAMily Arts, David and the rest of the Phantom cast for the special night. And thank you, friends, for filling the seats and surrounding us with love.

Katie, Cooper and David

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