On being … 's wonderful

By Ingrid Sapona

Do you remember the band America? They were one of my favourite groups back in junior high. Though it seems strange to me now, though I liked them a lot, I never knew who made up the group. Of course, that wasn’t so unusual back then – just think of Chicago, Three Dog Night, even the Eagles – it wasn’t until Don Henley and Glenn Frey did solo albums that I found out they were part of the Eagles.

Anyway, last week America was playing at the band shell at the Canadian National Exhibition, which is basically a two-week long fair. I was quite surprised to see them on the schedule, as I didn’t realize they were still together and touring. Though it’s terrible to admit, I wondered whether it might just be a cover band that plays America songs. But, since band shell concerts are included with the price of admission to the fair, the price was right. So, a girlfriend and I decided to check it out.

After walking the midway and grabbing a bite, we strolled over to the band shell area. As expected, demographically we fit right in – the crowd looked like it was transplanted from my junior high, give or take 40 years. After the opening act and a brief intermission, the MC introduced the band. A moment later we heard an unmistakeable downbeat and before you could say Name That Tune, the crowd was singing along to Tin Man – one of their hits. Very quickly it was clear they were the real thing, not a cover band.

Throughout the show the crowd swayed to the music, (more-or-less) silently singing along. It wasn’t until the encore that the band did what bands often do at concerts: they continued playing the music but turned over the singing duties to the crowd. And, as is also always the case, the crowd didn’t disappoint. In unison, we joyously belted out the song.

I love when that happens. Besides just being fun to be singing alongside hundreds of others who know and love the song as much as you do, I always think about the songwriter. What a rush it must be to think that something you’ve written has moved so many people. I’m not talking about fame – after all, in the case of America, I still couldn’t tell you who wrote the songs – or residuals, which must be nice too. I’m talking about just knowing you created something that lives on in peoples’ hearts and memories for their lifetime, if not longer. That must be ‘s wonderful, don’t you think?
© 2015 Ingrid Sapona


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